The St. Louis Rams just learned a few days ago that they’d have to endure the next 8-10 weeks without star defensive end Chris Long due to an ankle injury that requires surgery.¬†They made sure to protect themselves at the position going forward by locking up stud pass rusher Robert Quinn to a long-term contract extension.

Quinn, just 24 years old, is one of the elite defensive ends in the league and was a player the Rams couldn’t afford to let get away. Long’s recent injury put even greater emphasis on locking the stud pass rusher up, however, and the two sides came to an agreement on a four-year, $66.5 million deal. The extension keeps Quinn with the Rams through the 2019 season, when he will still be just 29 years old. Provided his play doesn’t slip, there would be little reason for the Rams to not sign him to another big deal before his new contract dries up.

A solid pass rusher in 2012 already, Quinn really upped his game a year ago, when he accumulated an impressive 19 sacks. Quinn also began rounding out a versatile skill-set, as his 57 tackles in just his third season displayed his ability to both get after the quarterback and also help stop the run. Easily St. Louis’ most impactful defensive player, Quinn was a lock to have his extension at some point before next year’s free agency period arose.

In a season where the Rams have lost key players on both sides of the ball and probably don’t have much to look forward to, nailing down this deal to keep Quinn in town long-term is arguably the lone bright spot. Quinn will look to continue his dominance in week two, as the Rams take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in search of their first win of the 2014 NFL season.

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