Terry Metcalf's asking price is $250,000 as a veteran who played out the option year on his contract with the St. Louis Cardinals last season.
That would seem to be relatively reasonable, comparing it with the $300,000 paid to John Riggins of the Redskins and $200,000-plus to middle linebacker Jack Lambert of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
After all, Metcalf has been called the hearbeat of the Cardinal offense with his many talents. The Los Angeles Rams might be interested if such a deal did not involve compensating the Cardinals with two No. 1 draft choices.
The Rams are opposed to giving up high draft choices. In fact, there is said to be rampant reluctance around the league to giving up draft choices since the new labor contract has made it difficult to trade for highsalaried veterans.
It is expected that Metcalf will come down below $200,000 for other considerations. That would mean the Cardinals would be entitled to a No. 1 and a No. 2 draft choice, if they chose not to match the salary offer.
If the Rams do not negotiate intensely with Metcalf it will be interpreted as a sign that they may be going for O. J. Simpson, who, it is understood, has been offered for consideration to some clubs by the Buffalo Bills.
Simpson has not played out his option and any club interested in him could work out a deal with the Bills not bound by the sliding scale of draft choices required in ratio to salary offered.
In retrospect, maybe the Bills already have received part of a deal for Simpson, coach Chuck Knox from the Rams.
The Baltimore Colts have shown a tentative interest in Metcalf, who is being handled by Rick Bennett of Washington. Bennett handled the deal that brought cornerback Norm Thompson to the Colts from St. Louis as an option playout and Thompson is said to be contented.
The expectation of spectacular running, pass-catching and kick-returning by Metcalf would sell season tickets before he set foot on a new home field.