Maneuvering math for LA Rams Ramsey extension

(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

LA Rams News: Contract extension of Jalen Ramsey doable as soon as NFL 2020 season decided

The LA Rams may have up to $240 million to spend on player contracts in 2021. Or the LA Rams may have less than $180 million to spend on player contracts in 2021. At this point in time, the math is simply so up-in-the-air that nobody has a real solid grasp of where the salary cap number will come to rest. And that’s a huge factor in why the Rams have not extended Jalen Ramsey to date. Nobody, not even the experts, know what the NFL salary cap is next year.

That certainly does complicate matters right now, doesn’t it?  Well, it does to an extent. But thankfully, the Rams pruning of highly compensated contracts in 2020 has placed the team in a much better financial situation for 2021.  The LA Rams have an estimated $40 million of salary-cap space for 2021.  While that is a better starting point for the Rams than 2020, it does harbor some downside. In short, the LA Rams have another crop of expiring contracts. Furthermore, in 2021 expiring contracts will impact the Rams on both the offense and defense

Good relations are key

With so much uncertainty, the Rams certainly are handicapped in terms of finding enough funds to make a deal work at the moment. But that fog will burn off as soon as the Rams have a better handle on how the NFL will manage the 2020 season.  The key is transparency right now, and it’s obvious that Jalen Ramsey’s agent and Les Snead have built trust and a solid repoire over the Ramsy contract.

That all means that the Rams can lean heavily into Jalen Ramsey this season as the pieces fall into place. What exactly are those pieces?  The outlook of the 2020 NFL season, both in terms of whether and when games will be played, but also the stadium factor – will fans be in the stands? Beyond that, the Rams will need to know the status of the SoFi stadium for the 2020 NFL season. And finally, the team should have an idea of the status of their roster.

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Cook up a contract

What type of contract will Jalen Ramsey be seeking? Well, we know the status of a player’s reputation is measured by the size of their contract terms. As such, we know that the benchmark of Jalen Ramsey is to outdo the 2020 contract of cornerback Byron Jones, whose new deal with the Miami Dolphins averages out to $16.5 million/year over five years, and has $11.4 million guaranteed.

Rams Ramsey contract terms

That will dictate Jalen Ramsey is looking for a contract with an average of somewhere between $18-20 million per year for five years.  At $18 million per year, look for guaranteed money to land at $14 million. If the contract jumps to $20 million, the guaranteed money may drop to $13 million. With so much money in the discussion, can the Rams really afford to do anything?

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We’re glad you asked.  While the dollars can add up pretty quickly, the when for those dollars makes a huge impact for the Rams.  Right now, any extension for Ramsey will need to limit the salary cap impact in 2020 and 2021. So how do the Rams do that?  Well, if the Rams park $60 million of the deal as a signing bonus for 2020, set a base salary of $4 million per year starting in 2021 and craft a six-year contract (one team option year).  That would give the Rams a $10 million salary-cap hit in 2020, a $14 million salary-cap hit in 2021, and higher cap hits in year three and beyond. The actual terms are not as important as the fact that the Rams can accomplish paying Ramsey what he wants while crafting a contract to fit their cap limitations.