Houston trip may have spurred Rams to act

A trip to the Houston Texans might be the catalyst in swaying left tackle Orlando Pace to remain with the St. Louis Rams.

Talks between the Rams and Pace heated up Tuesday to the point at which Pace may be willing to accept the long-term deal he's desired for three years. With Wednesday's deadline approaching, after which the Rams would lose the ability to place the franchise tag on future players if they reach a long-term deal with Pace, he could reach a seven-year contract agreement sometime Tuesday night.

The Rams and Pace's agent, Kennard McGuire, exchanged proposals and counterproposals Tuesday afternoon and into the evening and narrowed the gap enough that Pace said during a radio interview that he was optimistic a deal could be struck with the Rams.

That didn't sit too well with the Texans, who were willing to give Pace a contract equal to the second-richest for a left tackle if they could work out a trade with the Rams. Unfortunately for the Texans, the Rams were reluctant to consider accepting less than two first-rounders for Pace, the team's franchise player the past three years.

The numbers being discussed were both slightly above and slightly below the seven-year, $52.5 million deal recently signed by Seahawks left tackle Walter Jones.

Negotiations will continue through Tuesday and possibly into Wednesday with the hopes of getting a seven-year deal done before Wednesday's 4 p.m. ET deadline.

John Clayton is a senior writer for ESPN.com.