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Rams re-sign cornerback Bartell to four-year deal
ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Rams re-signed cornerback Ron Bartell to a four-year contract Wednesday, addressing one of their free agent priorities.
Terms were not disclosed, but the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Bartell gets $13.6 million in guaranteed money, with the overall deal reaching $28 million if incentives are met.
Bartell started 14 games last season. He tied a career high with three interceptions last season and broke up 20 passes, the most by a Rams defender since Jerametrius Butler had 22 in 2004.
"Ron was a primary focus right from the beginning," new Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said at a news conference. "We just think that he fits the mold that we're looking for in both the person and the player, and I'm individually looking forward to having him around here."
Bartell said he was pleased to return to an organization that was "heading in the right direction" after a 2-14 season.
"We've struggled a lot in the past," he said. "But I have a really good feeling that things are about to turn around with the staff that we have and with the management that they've brought in and some of the guys that we're bringing in."
Bartell spent his entire four-year career with the Rams since being selected in the second round (50th overall) in the 2005 draft. Bartell has started 36 games and played in 58, with 185 tackles, eight interceptions, 41 passes broken up and six forced turnovers in his career.
He was approached by other teams and visited New Orleans before deciding to re-sign with St. Louis.
The Rams, 5-27 over the past two seasons, targeted Bartell, Baltimore center Jason Brown and Giants safety James Butler for free agent acquisitions.
They struck a deal with Brown last week, when they also had Butler in for a visit. Talks with him are ongoing. Butler played under Spagnuolo in New York, where Spagnuolo was defensive coordinator.
St. Louis figures to make other changes before the April draft, when it has the No. 2 overall selection. The Rams still are deciding whether to keep, trade or release tackle Orlando Pace and wide receiver Torry Holt.
The Rams also are shopping for help on the defensive and offensive lines, at fullback, running back and wide receiver.