Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami.com) – Since left tackle Jake Long arrived in Miami; he’s fortified the left tackle position and become a Pro Bowl left tackle. But, Long will want a long-term contract in the next year and what happened in Cleveland Monday night set the bar for a left tackle contract.
The Cleveland Browns signed left tackle Joe Thomas to a seven-year contract extension worth a total of $84 million with $44 million of that money guaranteed. Thomas has been selected to the Pro Bowl every season he’s played since being picked third overall in 2007.
Long has also been a perennial Pro Bowl selection and was picked number one overall in the 2008 NFL Draft. He’s coming back from injury this season after playing through pain through the end of the season in 2010, but Fins coach Tony Sparano expects Long to be ready to play in the season opener.
With Thomas’ eye-popping numbers, the Dolphins now have a baseline to work from when they go to resign Long. The former Michigan Wolverine signed a five-year, $57 million contract when he entered the league in 2008.
So, Long will be looking for a contract by next year when he enters the final year of his rookie contract.
Long was selected number one overall because of his immense talent, but also because he was much cheaper than franchise quarterback Matt Ryan. Long’s career looks to be shaping up to be spectacular, but his legacy with the Fins is tied to how successful Ryan ends up being with the Atlanta Falcons.