Les Snead has Los Angeles Rams in great position with cap space for 2019

(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

Les Snead has helped put the Los Angeles Rams in great position for 2019 with plenty of cap space to work with.

Los Angeles Rams general manager Les Snead has become very famous in the NFL with a number of blockbuster trades on draft day over the years.

From acquiring numerous draft picks from the Washington Redskins so they could select Robert Griffin III in 2012 to trading up in 2016 to land Jared Goff, Snead has pulled off plenty of major deals since coming on board seven years ago.

According to the folks over at OverTheCap.com, Los Angeles has almost $30 million in cap space in 2019, with one of the biggest questions for Snead’s Rams is whether or not Andrew Whitworth will retire this year, after a decorated 13-year career.

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Whitworth carries a $16.7M cap number this year, and no matter what happens, Sean McVay has made it clear he will be extremely supportive of whatever the veteran decides on doing.

If Whitworth does decide to call it a career, the next man up for Los Angeles would be Joseph Noteboom, who carries a low $831,349 cap number.

Noteboom came in for Whitworth on Week 17, in a game were the Rams defeated the San Francisco 49ers with ease.

During that game, I remember watching Noteboom and thinking how the kid was holding his own, and could be a key part of the offensive line for Los Angeles in the future.

It is interesting to note that during the 2018 season, Noteboom usually practiced with the fist-team offense on Wednesdays and sometimes on Thursdays, when Whitworth took a very well deserved rest on either or both of those days.

I’m not saying that Noteboom is of the same caliber of Whitworth today, but certainly he could evolve into a top-notch offensive tackle. So far, Noteboom has done everything the Rams have asked him to do, and he has done it well.

Having Noteboom step in for Whitworth in 2019 would save the Rams a staggering $15.8 million, meaning they would have about $45 million in cap space.

Deduct $6 million for the Rams 2019 rookie class and about $5 million for tendering restricted free agent linebacker Cory Littleton, and Los Angeles will have some $34 million in cap space to keep their most important free agents.

Exactly which free agents are we talking about? Well, the most important free agents regarding the Rams seem to be Dante Fowler, Rodger Saffold, Lamarcus Joyner, and Ndamukong Suh, so it will be interesting to see who ends up sticking around, if any at all.

Also, Los Angeles could use that potential $34 million in new-found cap space the following way:

  • Use the franchise tag on Fowler for $17 million (estimate from ProFootballRumors).
  • Re-sign Saffold for $10 million per year (hometown discount) and sign Suh for a contract full of easy incentives to pay at least $7 million

Since Snead has a history of having safeties and cornerbacks test the waters outside the team, I would expect the Rams to move on from Joyner instead of re-signing him to another deal

Of course, these decisions do not include potential cap casualties such as Michael Brockers ($11 million cap number) and Mark Barron ($9 million cap number), which would increase the Rams cap by an extra $20 million.

For now, Snead, McVay and the rest of the Rams will await Whitworth’s retirement decision since this will have a deep financial impact for the team going forward.

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Either way, no matter what Whitworth ends up deciding to do, the good news for Los Angeles is thanks to Snead making all of these key moves over the years, it seems to finally be paying off for the Rams, as they’re finally built to contend for years to come.