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Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Dolphins, Long persevere


Getting Jake Long signed to a five-year, $57.75 million contract five days before the draft wasn't easy for the Dolphins or Long's representatives. In fact, it almost didn't happen.

Both sides were stalled Monday on ways to complete a complicated deal that included $30 million on guarantees. At one point, according to a source, the negotiations were falling apart. With a possible uncapped year in 2010, there were problems reaching agreements on what happens if there is a lockout or a strike in 2011.

Over the past couple of days, both sides were able to agree on the numbers by making compromises. The Dolphins did not want to give Long less in potential earnings than the Raiders gave to QB JaMarcus Russell, who signed a six-year, $61 million contract that included $32 million in guarantees. The solution was a five-year deal, which could be a windfall for Long once his rookie contract elapses.

The Dolphins and Long's agent, Tom Condon, worked until 1:30 a.m. Tuesday morning. They made enough progress that Condon flew to Miami and finished the deal. Long is expected to have a $3 million cap number on the contract. He's also the first offensive lineman in NFL history to get a $10 million-a-year contract.

Chiefs, Vikings can move on: Now that the Jared Allen deal has been agreed upon in principle, the Chiefs can handle many of their needs with the three picks acquired from the Minnesota Vikings, believed to be a first-rounder and two third-rounders.

Don't believe for a second that the Chiefs will use their picks to move up to draft quarterback Matt Ryan. The Chiefs still plan to go with Brodie Croyle as their starter, and they aren't ready to hand over the starting job or the franchise to a rookie quarterback in 2008. With the fifth pick in the draft, the Chiefs can get great value by taking a defensive end -- Chris Long of Virginia or Vernon Gholston of Ohio State.

Their biggest need is along the offensive line, and with the Vikings trade, the Chiefs can get one of the best offensive linemen in the draft. It would probably take two third-round draft choices to trade up to No. 10 or into the high teens, but the Chiefs can position themselves to draft Boise State tackle Ryan Clady or Virginia guard-tackle Brandon Albert.

The Chiefs now have six of the top 82 picks in the draft.

With the NFL sack leader in Allen on their team, the Vikings are ready to make a push to challenge the Packers for the NFC North title. Kevin Williams and Pat Williams form one of the league's best interior defensive lines. Teams can't run on the Vikings. With Allen rushing from the outside, the Vikings will create nightmares for blocking schemes. Some of the Viking players were hearing the plan is to use Allen at left defensive end and have him go against the right tackles in the division. Because the Vikings had nine draft choices, they still have six draft choices remaining to take care of other needs.

Rams on the clock: Now that Long is locked in as the No. 1 pick, the Rams have to start getting serious about their plans at No. 2. LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey is their top-rated player and would be a perfect fit for their defense. The Rams have a solid trade offer from New Orleans, which has the No. 10 pick. According to a source, the Rams have exchanged some trade ideas with the New York Jets, who have the No. 6 pick. If the second scenario came to fruition, the Rams could move backward and take defensive end Chris Long. The simple concept, though, would be to start working on a deal with Dorsey and try to get him signed.

Ravens hoping Ryan slips: Jake Long's signing makes the Ravens interested spectators regarding the Rams and the No. 2 pick. If the Rams take Dorsey, the Ravens are probably not going to get QB Matt Ryan at No. 8. With Steve McNair retiring, the Ravens are looking to select a quarterback in the first two rounds. If Jake Long and Dorsey are selected in the top two, the Falcons will probably take the Ryan, putting the Ravens in position to take one of the other quarterbacks in the draft.

McFadden update: Darren McFadden is a consideration for the Rams at No. 2 pick, even though the team has Steven Jackson, but it would be a long shot for the Arkansas running back to end up in St. Louis. It appears the Jets like McFadden. Other people in the Raiders' organization besides Al Davis appear to be in McFadden's corner. If that's the case, don't expect any kind of major drop for McFadden.