Rams, Texans never got deal done

Updated: March 17, 2005, 8:39 AM ET
By John Clayton | ESPN.com

The St. Louis Rams reached a seven-year, $52.8 million deal with franchise left tackle Orlando Pace Wednesday that ended three years of efforts to get him to agree to the long-term contract.

Included in the deal is a $15 million signing bonus. By agreeing to the contract Wednesday, the Rams will be able to use the franchise tag on future players instead of losing it for the next seven years, the length of Pace's contract.

The Rams and Pace's agent, Kennard McGuire, exchanged proposals and counter proposals Tuesday afternoon and evening and narrowed the gap enough that Pace went on a radio station and said he was optimistic a deal could be struck with the Rams.

That did not sit too well with the Houston Texans, who were willing to give Pace the second-best left tackle contract in the NFL if they could work out a trade with the Rams. Pace visited the Texans on Monday with hopes of convincing them to trade for him.

Unfortunately for the Texans, the Rams were reluctant to consider taking less than two first-rounders for Pace, the team's franchise player for the past three years. Trade discussion never did heat up enough for the Texans to get a deal with the Rams.

The seven-year, $52.8 million contract is slightly more than Seattle Seahawks left tackle Walter Jones earns. The payout is $22 million in the first two years and $26 million in the first three years. Only Baltimore Ravens left tackle Jonathan Ogden makes more than Pace and Jones at that position.

John Clayton is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.

John Clayton

NFL senior writer