Jake Long (04/23/13)

By John Ewing

Leading up to the NFL Draft we will take a look back at some of the big moves during NFL Free Agency. We will grade each signing, analyze fantasy impact, and look at prop bets for each player acquired where appropriate. This is all done through 50,000 simulations of last season with the signed players joining their new teams. Previously covered: Mike WallaceWes WelkerReggie BushCarson Palmer, Matt FlynnEd Reed.

The Contract:

Jake Long signed a four-year $34 million deal with $16 million guaranteed. Long’s contract represents a shift in the NFL. His first rookie contract as the first overall pick in 2008 was for five-years $57.8 million with $30 million guaranteed. After he has proven himself his second deal is well below the first.

Rams’ Motivation:

St. Louis has used 16 different starters in the past two seasons on the offensive line. After attempting and failing to acquire a franchise left tackle through the draft the addition of Long gives the Rams their third left tackle of the future in five years.

Twitter Reactions:

The Numbers:

Below is a look at Long’s numbers over his five-year career. These stats are courtesy of Pro Football Focus. Note: Pressures include sacks, hurries, and hits.

Season Rank Plays Pressures
2008 10th 1,001 26
2009 2nd 1,147 16
2010 2nd 1,077 21
2011 21st 801 26
2012 46th 745 21

Our Projections:

Here are our projections through 50,000 simulations of last season. Point of clarification, we are simulating Long on the field for the Rams as the starting left tackle. It is important to remember that these projections are rough estimates since we are using last year's schedule, assuming all players are healthy, and not accounting for all the changes throughout the NFL.

Free Agent Signing Grade: C

As a baseline, we simulated the entire season without the addition of Jake Long. On average we projected the Rams to win 7.1 games while losing 8.9. St. Louis finishes third in the NFC West and misses the playoffs.

After accounting for the addition of Long as the starting left tackle St. Louis wins on average 7.1 games and loses 8.9 games. The Rams finish third in the NFC West and still miss the playoffs. The addition of Long does not change much for the Rams. St. Louis had a higher yards-per-carry and yard-per-pass average in addition to a lower sack rate than Miami did in 2012.

If the Rams get the Jake Long that dominated from 2008 to 2010 (Pro Bowl each season) in Miami then they have a franchise left tackle. However, if the Rams get the Long from 2011 and 2012 that has been plagued by injuries then it will be difficult to justify the contract. Further complicating the addition of Long is the simple fact that there is not a lot of offensive talent on the Rams’ roster. Steven Jackson is gone, replaced by Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead. St. Louis’s best offensive weapon, Danny Amendola, signed with the Patriots to be the next Wes Welker and Sam Bradford has been a league average quarterback at best.

Fantasy Impact:

Team totals with Long:

Rush Yards Yards/Att Pass Yards Sacks/Pass
1,735.7 4.2 3,549.80 0.062

Team totals without Long:

Rush Yards Yards/Att Pass Yards Sacks/Pass
1,793.80 4.2 3,471.00 0.064

Sam Bradford: Bradford had his best season in 2012 completing 59.5% of his passes for 3,702 yards and 21 touchdowns. He finished as the 16th best quarterback in fantasy football but was wildly inconsistent. Bradford threw for over 250 yards six times but threw for less than 200 yards five times and in eight games he had as many interceptions as touchdowns if not more. Bradford is currently projected as the 22nd quarterback taken in drafts.

Chris Givens: Brandon Gibson and Danny Amendola are gone. Those two receivers combined for 183 targets last season and Givens should receive a large chunk of those looks. Givens’ 16.6-yard average was good for 6th in the league. He is currently projected as the 50th wide receiver taken in drafts but could become a solid third starter in standard leagues.

Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead: Pead was suppose to be the backup to Steven Jackson after the Rams spent a 2nd round pick on him in last year’s draft. However Richardson received the bulk of the work as Jackson’s under study. Jackson had 257 attempts last year and it is anyone’s guess how those will be split between the two backs. Richardson is currently projected as the 38th back drafted while Pead is the 45th.