LA Rams News: Salary cap relief is finally on its way. Unfortunately, it’s already been spent on 2020 drafted rookies
The LA Rams have been walking a tightrope of NFL finances so far this year. While the team took steps to secure four key playmakers to long term contracts, those ironclad contracts became a bit of an anchor when three of the four underperformed. While those things happen, the contracts were written with language that failed to address that possibility.
Ultimately, the Rams chose to take a financial hit in 2020, rather than overpay on contracts for players who had a bad season which may become a downturn in their career. With that decision came financial penalties. And thus began the Rams 2020 austerity.
Quick to terms, slow to sign
Austerity in that the Rams have been slow movers when it has come to signing players. Agreeing to Terms has come at a normal pace, but the ink to contract, which triggers the salary cap impact, has been a slow mover indeed. So how has Over The Cap.com recorded contracts and drafted players?
Initially, they simply added names with no dollars. But when the Rams drafted nine players in the 2020 NFL Draft, the team presumed a league minimum of $610,000 per player. While inaccurate, it did provide a salary placeholder to revise when the Rams had sufficient funds to assume their rookie contracts.
Gurley relief is on the way
That relief is on the way as of today, June 2, 2020, thanks to a $5.5 million pro-rata bonus sliding from 2020 into 2021. While that muddies the waters for next year, it’s a critical bit of cap relief in 2020. Cap relief that has been desperately needed by the team to pay for this year’s class of drafted rookies has finally arrived. The team now has $5,394,169 of available funds to use to sign the young players to contracts for this year. And while the team takes a hit with 2021 salary cap dollars, the team lowers its dead-cap hit from $36 million in 2020 to a far more manageable $8.4 million in 2021.
Is there light at the end of this tunnel? Actually, yes. It’s there. And it’s getting brighter. The LA Rams may not have “learned their lesson” about NFL contracts and guaranteed money, but they are improving. Sometimes winning is finding the right guy to fill a niche role. But sometimes its simply a matter of playing through adversity together. The Rams appear to be committed to the team building path this year. After a season of social distancing, team building around bonds forged by adversity seems like the right way to go.