Talks not in substantive stage

Perhaps frustrated by the continued inability to strike a long-term contract agreement with Orlando Pace, the St. Louis Rams have discussed with New York Giants officials a trade involving the perennial Pro Bowl left offensive tackle.

Updated: February 26, 2005, 10:56 AM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

INDIANAPOLIS -- Perhaps frustrated by the continued inability to strike a long-term contract agreement with Orlando Pace, the St. Louis Rams have discussed with New York Giants officials a trade involving the perennial Pro Bowl left offensive tackle.

 Orlando Pace
Pace

The talks have not yet moved to the substantive stage and it remains a long shot that the Rams would deal Pace, who they selected with the first overall pick in the '97 draft. But trades are back in vogue suddenly in the NFL, even deals including high-profile players such as Pace, so the Rams-Giants dialogue could eventually produce results.

New York is attempting to upgrade an offensive line unit that has been a problem area in each of the last two years. Dealing a player the stature of Pace would be a hard swallow for the Rams, who are also in the rebuilding stage on the offensive line, but could mean an end to some of the offseason headaches the premier tackle has provided in the past.

This marks the third consecutive year in which the Rams designated Pace a "franchise" player, and he failed to participate in organized offseason activities the first two years, and missed virtually all of training camp. Pace ended up signing the one-year qualifying offer for a "franchise" tackle each of those years.

The "franchise" marker this year carries a price tag of $8.4 million and St. Louis, as was the case in 2003 and 2004, would prefer Pace sign a long-term contract. But Pace does not have an agent, appears to be in no hurry to retain new representation, and could well boycott offseason workouts again this spring.

Representatives from both teams, here for the annual predraft combine sessions, declined to address the trade talks.

It is uncertain what kind of package the Giants could offer that might interest St. Louis management. Some league people have suggested that current New York left offensive tackle Luke Petitgout might be included. Others contend that the Giants would like to retain Petitgout and move him to right tackle if Pace was acquired.

Even coming off an uneven 2004 performance, Pace, 29, is universally regarded as one of the premier left tackles in the league.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here Insider.

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