By Rams Nation's Howard Balzer
The Rams today acquired tackle Kyle Turley from the New Orleans Saints for a second-round pick in the 2004 draft.
The 2003 season is the last under Turley's current contract, and his salary is $3.4 million. He also has a $100,000 workout bonus that counts against the cap. However, his cap figure can be reduced should the Rams sign him to a long-term deal where the base salary would be lowered.
Late last season, Turley turned down an offer from the Saints that included an $8.5 million signing bonus. He is reportedly seeking a deal similar to what the Cowboys paid to retain tackle Flozell Adams ($10 million bonus) and the Giants paid to re-sign tackle Luke Petitgout ($9.75 million).
The Rams are confident they will be able to sign Turley, just as they did in 1999 after acquiring running back Marshall Faulk. Turley's agent, Tom Condon, is one the Rams have dealt with in the past without any problems.
Turley had played right tackle for the Saints until being switched to left tackle last season after the trade of Willie Roaf.
An emotional player, the Rams talked to a lot of people about Turley. He will add a fire to the line that has been missing in recent seasons.
The biggest question is how the arrival of Turley affects tackle Orlando Pace.
The Rams have the cap space to have both, even with Pace playing at the franchise tender of $5.734 million. However, with an estimated $4 million needed to sign their rookies, it would make things tight.
"We're not going to do anything we don't want to do," Rams president of football operations Jay Zygmunt said, referring to the possibility of dealing Pace.
However, Pace, Turley and guard Adam Timmerman currently count a combined $14.59 million against the cap, a figure that is 19.5 percent of their entire cap of $75.007 million.
Coach Mike Martz said the plan is to play Turley at right tackle, but that could change, depending on Pace.
Miami is one team rumored to be interested in Pace, but the Dolphins' vice president of football operations, Rick Spielman, said, "They're asking price is $24 million to sign. Why waste everybody's time (pursuing a trade)?"