The LA Rams have placed a significant portion of the team’s 2020 salary cap among a handful of players. To remain competitive, the team needs to restructure those contracts to free up cap space
The LA Rams like to reward key players for the team. If you check the Over the Cap.com website, the LA Rams are projected at $21,092,023 cap space on January 22, 2020. in recent years, the team has agreed to high-dollar multi-year contracts for the team’s star players. While that is no different than many other NFL teams, the Rams consent to guaranteed money. That forces teams to pay the player even when their production no longer warrants it.
Ultimately, the team loses competitiveness by overpaying players, and that hurts the team overall. The LA Rams top five salary cap hits for the 2020 season include (all numbers per Over the Cap.com):
Quarterback Jared Goff – 2020 cap hit $36,042,682
Defensive Tackle Aaron Donald – 2020 cap hit $25,000,000
Running Back Todd Gurley – 2020 cap hit $17,250,000
Wide Receiver Brandin Cooks – 20202 cap hit $16,800,000
Cornerback Jalen Ramsey – 2020 cap hit $13,703,000.
Total cap charge? $108,795,682. Current NFL salary cap projections are between $196.8 million to $201.2 million for next season. That means with under 10 percent of the roster has already gobbled up well over 50 percent of the teams 2020 allocation for salaries. That will create quite the turmoil among the team, and the fans.
If the team becomes proactive now, there is plenty of time to free up ample salary cap space. Those same salary heavy contracts can be restructured – converting today’s salary cap hits into future years – which will save the team quite a bundle. Per the same Over the Cap website, the estimate savings via restructure are as follows:
Quarterback Jared Goff – 2020 cap savings ($24,176,146)
Defensive Tackle Aaron Donald – 2020 savings ($12,944,000)
Running Back Todd Gurley – 2020 cap savings ($9,172,900)
Wide Receiver Brandin Cooks – 20202 cap savings ($8,385,000)
Cornerback Jalen Ramsey – 2020 cap savings – $0
If the team turns their collective attention to reshaping the contracts of their top five players, the team could land somewhere among the $75 million in avalable cap dollars. That conceivably should be enough to sign ILB Cory Littleton, LT Andrew Whitworth, DL Michael Brockers, and OLB Dante Fowler Jr, plus add a marquis offensive lineman to boot.
The Rams will have plenty of options in the 2020 NFL Free Agency market, if they wish to do so. We had a lengthy discussion about a frugal fix for the LA Rams 2020 offensive line, because the team has painted themselves into that sort of corner. However, with a little salary cap magic, the team can compete to sign virtually any free agent in the NFL. Hopefully, as the LA Rams weigh those decisions, the team will find some true bargains, and not simply be known as the team who paid the most for top players.