Can LA Rams GM Les Snead give up team franchise tag for Lent?

(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) *** Local Capture *** Les Snead
(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) *** Local Capture *** Les Snead /

LA Rams general manager Les Snead doesn’t feel the team will use either the franchise or transition tags this year

The LA Rams face losing 18 veteran players to the 2020 NFL free agency market, many of whom were significant contributors to the team. In spite of limited available salary cap in 2020, and publicly indicating that the team intends to re-sign left tackle Andrew Whitworth, outside linebacker Dante Fowler Jr., and inside linebacker Cory Littleton.  Of course, you can add kicker Greg Zuerlein, defensive end Michael Brockers, and offensive center Austin Blythe to the discussion.

If you start adding the market value of these players alone, the team is looking at approximately $57 million / year (plus or minus).  Right now, the LA Rams have $23.3 million to spend on all additional players in 2020.   That’s just a small difference of $34 million at the moment.

So there is a lot of interest in how the LA Rams intend to pay for players in 2020.  While we have laid out a plan to free up $80 million in salary-cap space, the Rams have executed just one of the five steps when veteran safety Eric Weddles retired, saving the team nearly $5 million in 2020 salary cap.

Snead giving up the franchise tag for 2020 Lent

When asked if the team intends to use the franchise tag in 2020 on the team podcast, Les Snead answered:

"“As of today, I do not expect to tag, but there is a window of time and ultimately because there is a window of time, that means you may get some later data points that would say it might be best to use that tool in the toolbox. Sometimes that can be a positive sometimes for players and a negative sometimes for players, but the best thing to do, if you decide to use a tag is to explain to the player the why that it’s a tool to use.” – Les Snead on LA Rams podcast"

Of course, that may mean the LA Rams won’t retain some players.  It’s a one-year fix for the Rams, and it can erode the relationship with that player. Snead indicates confidence in allowing players to hear offers from other teams, to ensure that they are comfortable with a Rams’ offer.

Read. LA Rams Day 8 NFL Scouting Combine Summary – Rams’ safety dance. light

Les Snead admitted that part of the 2020 NFL Free agency strategy is to plan for 2021 compensatory picks. Right now, if the LA Rams stand pat in the NFL Free Agency, the team could take on as many as four comp picks.

For fans intent on who may be resigned, the podcast (link here and above) seemed to lean upon the LA Rams chances of re-signing left tackle Andrew Whitworth as fairly likely and re-signing Austin Blythe as better than 50 percent, depending on offers Blythe may get in free agency. For the rest of the roster, the Rams seem to be counting on backup players stepping up, frugal free agency options to round out the roster, free agents no team is talking about, and even NFL free agents looking for a comeback.

dark. Next. LA Rams 2020 dates for offseason activities announced

Snead seemed to feel somewhat confident that the offensive line is making progress on developing the young players’ potentials. That being said, Snead did not seem committed to numerous picks in the upcoming draft aimed at the offensive line. Snead took care not to reveal his hand. But his tone suggested that there are no fairy godmothers heading into the 2020 free agency market. In the contrast between a 2020 miracle and biting the bullet, I heard a general manager resigned to the fact that the 2020 season will be biting the bullet after all.