What must LA Rams do to land DE Jadaveon Clowney?

The LA Rams have a huge hole to fill on the team’s roster at edge rusher. What must the LA Rams do to be in a position to land DE Jadaveon Clowney?

The LA Rams have never shied away from making big splash moves if the team felt that move would improve the overall team. So if the team determines signing defensive end Jadaveon Clowney would benefit the team, could the cash-strapped LA Rams make moves to free up enough salary cap space to land him?

First of all, is it even worth the effort? I mean, besides adding fans to the new stadium seats at SoFi, is there a true football reason for doing so?  The answer is yes.  The Rams lost out on the bidding for OLB Dante Fowler Jr., and are now in the market for a premier pass-rush specialist. While the team has added OLB Leonard Floyd to the roster, he aligns more closely with Clay Matthew’s replacement, due to his versatility and pass-coverage ability. And the Rams witnessed first-hand how one solid passer rusher can make a huge difference for defense when the 49ers drafted DE Nick Bosa.

So the Rams are still in the hunt for a pass rusher. But if the Rams are too cash-strapped to extend tender offers to their restricted free agents, how can the team suddenly come up with enough money to compete with the high-dollar bids Clowney is receiving?

We had already stumbled into that solution. In our 5 steps to free up $80 million article, we had pointed out the necessary steps to do so. The Rams have implemented one step.  The most important step would involve restructuring quarterback Jared Goff‘s contract.  Merely recategorizing his current salary and roster bonuses as a  signing bonus would allow the team to recognize as much $24 million of 2020 salary cap dollars in future years. Then, extending Jalen Ramsey with a five-year deal at $85 million over the duration of the deal, but giving him a $20 million signing bonus with a $5 million salary in 2020 would save the team another $4 million in 2020.  The team could finally trade out WR Brandin Cooks ($12 million), RT Rob Havenstein ($7 million), TE Gerald Everett ($1.3 million) or RB Malcolm Brown ($1.1 million).

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These moves would give the Rams an additional $48 million in 2020 dollars.  Plus trading away Cooks and Havenstein would offset the 2021 dollars caused by restructuring Goff’s contract plus extending Ramsey.

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Rams GM Les Snead may not be warm and fuzzy about reworking some contracts. But to keep cornerback Jalen Ramsey, and to land pass rusher Jadaveon Clowney in 2020, it would definitely be worth the effort.  Imagine a defensive line boasting Aaron Donald, A’Shawn Robinson, Jadaveon Clowney, Sebastian Joseph-Day, and Greg Gaines?  That would fill the seats at SoFi Stadium, for certain.

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