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Rams Reward Linebacker James Laurinaitis With Contract Extension

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In an effort to retain key members of their young, up-and-coming roster, the St. Louis Rams have agreed to a contract extension with linebacker James Laurinaitis.

According to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, the deal is for five years and is worth $41.5 million. The deal will run through the 2017 season, ensuring the Rams that Laurinaitis will spend his prime years as a member of the Rams. Schefter also reports that Laurinaitis' deal has $23.5 million in guaranteed money, and the deal could be worth as a high as $44 million.

The 25-year old Laurinaitis has been a staple of the team's defense since the Rams drafted him in the second round of the 2009 draft. Laurinaitis has started all 16 games for the Rams in each of his first three seasons in the NFL.

This past season, Laurinaitis registered 142 total tackles, three sacks, and two interceptions.

Despite the Rams' futility in recent years, under new coach Jeff Fisher, the team is determined to build themselves from the ground up. Over the offseason, the team also gave a large extension to defensive end Chris Long.

The Rams are planning on Laurinaitis and Long being core members of the Rams' defense going forward.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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