The Rams said late Friday that they have reached an agreement on a five-year contract with Wayne Gandy, their first-round draft choice who is projected to start at left tackle.
"I think we have a deal," said Jay Zygmunt, Ram senior vice president. "We are going to meet with them (today) to finalize the deal."
Gandy, a 6-4, 290-pound selection from Auburn, arrived in Orange County on Friday as a gesture of good faith and will be ready to join two-a-day practices at UC Irvine as soon as paper work is completed.
The club offered Gandy $5.13 million earlier in the day, an increase from previous proposals. The Rams were so eager to sign Gandy that they offered to pay him more than tackle Bernard Williams, who had been selected just ahead of Gandy by Philadelphia.
Gandy's agent, Neil Schwartz, initially rejected the Rams' proposal because under the present collective bargaining agreement a five-year contract would allow the Rams to maintain Gandy's rights for a sixth season.
Chris Miller, the quarterback hired during the off-season to replace Jim Everett, ran through two practices at UC Irvine without even wearing a brace on the left knee that has required surgery twice in the last two seasons.
"It feels so good right now . . . it feels normal," Miller said. "We don't even need to talk about it. I don't know too many guys who aren't getting hurt in the NFL. It's not like I'm the only extreme out there.
"I'll probably put the brace on when we go in full gear only for the fact that if someone were to roll into me. Sure, I'm hoping to stay healthy, and if I can great things are going to happen."