As was pretty much expected, the St. Louis Rams yesterday formally rejected the city of St. Louis’ $124 million renovation plan for the Edward Jones Dome, which would have had the team paying for slightly more than half the cost of upgrades. The Rams now have until May 1 to submit a counterproposal, at which point the two sides can haggle until June 15, at which point the whole thing would go to arbitration.
It’s an interesting faceoff: The Rams have the hammer of their sweetheart lease in their pocket, while the city has the threat that if the Rams ask for too much, voters could reject it at the ballot box. (While renovations don’t fall under the 2004 law that requires a referendum for public funding of new sports projects, local politicians have promised to put any Rams deal to a public vote.)
All of which means that it’s time for, you guessed it, speculation about the team moving to Los Angeles. That seems unlikely in the extreme — even St. Louis’s initial offer would be a better deal for the Rams than what’s on the table in L.A. — but it’s pretty much par for the course for any team with stadium issues right now. And you know that Rams owner Stan Kroenke isn’t going to discourage this kind of talk, since, well, you know.