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Fins still have long way to go

People rushed to judgment on Monday thinking the Dolphins are close to a deal with Michigan tackle Jake Long. Tuesday and Wednesday will be critical in the negotiations because Miami has to determine if it can get a deal done. The Dolphins are naturally trying to get Long signed to a contract for less than the six-year, $61 million deal signed by JaMarcus Russell last season. Sources close to Long say it's premature to say a deal is in place or close. Miami has not started talking to anyone else in the top group of players. The reason the next two days are important is that the complicated language of a contract like this sometimes takes a couple of days to complete.

Rams in a jam: The Rams are in an interesting spot. They know the Saints want to trade up to get defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey at the No. 2 spot, but that would force the Rams to drop back to the 10th pick. Even if a first-round pick from 2009 was thrown in, going all the way to No. 10 might be too far of a drop. That's why if the Rams are going to make a trade, they would have to look to deal with someone in the top five. Most scouts consider this a six- or seven-player draft at the top. Most teams also have the same six or seven players at the top, which is why dropping to No. 10 may save money. But it also could result in drafting a player who may not have the same impact. Regardless of the debate, the Rams haven't decided which direction they are going.

The great debate: Add Vernon Gholston to the Raiders' internal debate. While Al Davis may be deciding between Darren McFadden and defensive end Chris Long, sources talking to the Raiders say Davis is in love with Gholston's speed and athletic ability. It's not out of the question for Gholston to move ahead of Long as the week goes on because of Davis' fondness for speed. At the moment, it's a three-way debate in Oakland.

What's the holdup? Any holdup in a Jared Allen trade could be caused by the Chiefs not wanting to give him up for anything less than a No. 1 or a No. 2 pick. The Vikings might not offer more than a first- or third-round pick, although they might consider giving up a No. 2 next year, but the Chiefs probably won't go for that. As a franchise player, Allen has a perceived value of two No. 1s. If the Vikings don't upgrade to a No. 2 pick, this trade could be stalled.

Sheppard sweepstakes: Three teams are showing interest in Eagles cornerback Lito Sheppard. The price could come down to a No. 2 pick. The Rams are one of the interested teams, but the Eagles won't deal Sheppard unless they get satisfactory value. Talks were expected to pick up this week and they have.