Middle linebackers don't usually earn big money contracts in spite of their often high-profile roles with their teams. That's why St. Louis Rams middle linebacker James Laurinaitis should be proud to have inked a five-year, $41.5 million contract extension which includes $23.5 million in guarantees. Laurinaitis is entering the final year of his rookie contract and will make $620,000 this year. The Rams are going the extra mile to secure their front seven defenders.
Laurinaitis had 142 total tackles last season, good enough to make him a very reliable IDP in tackle-heavy scoring formats. He's entering his fourth season out of Ohio State. The Rams' defense could improve dramatically this season with the additions of rookie DT Michael Brockers and last year's first round pick, DE Robert Quinn , continuing to grow as a pass rusher. Not to menion DE Chris Long who is the team's defensive leader along with Laurinaitis. The Rams also added CB Cortland Finnegan and CB Janoris Jenkins through the draft. There will be growing pains for the younger guys, but the Rams are on the right track defensively.