Rams usually in no rush to sign draft picks


EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Since the new collective bargaining agreement in 2011 offered a defined rookie wage scale, teams have begun signing their draft classes earlier and earlier.

Over the past week, many teams have begun inking this year's draft picks. The Chicago Bears have already struck deals with their entire eight-man class.

Considering the fact that contracts now are essentially mandated by the CBA, there's little doubt the St. Louis Rams will soon fall in line with the rest of the league in signing their drafted rookies. But the Rams are usually apt to wait a little longer than the rest of the league.

In 2012, the team signed first-round pick Michael Brockers on June 7 but didn't complete the class until signing cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson until late July. Those deals were held up over reported disagreements on how the payment of Jenkins' guaranteed money would come.

Last year, the Rams moved a little quicker to get deals done with their draft class, announcing the signings of all seven rookies on June 13.

Of course, there's a method behind the Rams' slower approach to signing the rookies. Since there's no real negotiating to be done, the Rams know they can take their time without having to worry about an extended holdout.

So the Rams generally do all they can to make the most of the time before signing their picks. Under the guidance of director of player programs La'Roi Glover, the team prefers to put its rookies through a sort of orientation before doing the deals. That includes short seminars on money management, buying or renting a home and other important life skills before a contract is offered and signed.

If form holds, the Rams will follow a similar pattern this year, choosing to educate their 11 drafted rookies before handing them a big check. But there's no cause for concern; the deals will get done.