Rams' stadium lease now year-to-year

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- In a move that should come as no surprise to anyone paying attention, the St. Louis Rams officially notified the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission that they are converting their lease on the Edward Jones Dome to a year-to-year proposition on Monday.

The St. Louis CVC provided a statement from president Kitty Ratcliffe on Monday afternoon:

“We have received notification from the St. Louis Rams of their intent to convert their lease agreement to an annual tenancy effective in March 2015. While the lease will now run year-to-year, all other lease terms remain the same. We look forward to working with Rams’ management in preparation for the 2015 football season in the Edward Jones Dome.”

The move comes at the discretion of the Rams based on a clause in the original lease the team signed upon moving to St. Louis in 1995. Specifically, the lease stated that the Rams could opt out of it after 20 years if it was not considered among the top 25 percent of stadiums in the league.

The CVC and Rams went through an arbitration process two years ago in which it was determined the CVC was responsible for bringing the Edward Jones Dome up to date. They passed, which led to this point where the Rams' future in St. Louis is up in the air.

As for what this means to that end, well, the Rams now officially become a sort of perennial free agent until they find a permanent stadium solution whether in St. Louis, Los Angeles or elsewhere. The NFL already made it clear that neither the Rams, the Oakland Raiders or the San Diego Chargers would be allowed to move in 2015.

But now that the Rams are in a year-to-year lease, they are free to begin looking beyond the scope of this year and St. Louis. Rams owner Stan Kroenke and his business partners announced earlier this month that they have begun preparations for a stadium development in Los Angeles expected to be completed by 2018.

Monday's news amounts to little more than a formality in all of this but it's a necessary one for the Rams to reach their ultimate end game.