- Nick Wagoner, ESPN Staff Writer
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For anyone who didn't see Quinn single-handedly wreck offensive game plans and get starting offensive tackles benched in 2013, just know that a simple glance at his stat sheet and list of postseason honors would be enough to make this decision. He posted 19 sacks to go with seven forced fumbles and was vastly improved against the run on his way to first-team All Pro honors and a trip to the Pro Bowl.
Exercising the option not only guarantees that Quinn will be under the team's control for two more years, it also ensures that the team's best player will double as one of the league's best bargains.
The fifth-year option is guaranteed for injury only and will pay Quinn $6.969 million in 2015. For perspective, that number is actually about two-thirds of what Quinn's total rookie deal was worth when the team chose him No. 14 overall in 2011. Even taking that into account, having your best player making south of $7 million a season is nothing short of an absolute steal.
Over the next two seasons, Quinn's total salary-cap charge will come in at $9,971,381 when you pair this year's charge of $3,002,381 with the pending 2015 option total. His cash payout is even less, combining his $1,661,734 in 2014 with the $6.969 million figure for 2015 for a total of $8,630,734.
Assuming Quinn continues on his current career trajectory, it's a safe bet that his next contract will pay him far more than that two-year total on a yearly basis immediately after it's signed.
In the meantime, the Rams can continue to reap the benefits of a bargain price for one of the league's best players while allocating resources to other players who can help the cause. It's a luxury a team like Seattle has used as a core principle in building a championship winner.
Of course, the key to that is not only building through the draft but drafting well when you come on the clock. It remains to be seen if the Rams will get elite production for cheap prices from any of their other recent draft picks. But here's a statement as obvious as the Rams' decision to pick up Quinn's option: the more that do, the better off they'll be.
32mEric D. Williams