The two things that popped up in social media as follow up questions to the LA Rams trade that landed Detroit Lions’ quarterback Matthew Stafford conveniently fell into two categories. The first was concern over the LA Rams’ future draft picks. That is answered pretty quickly. The second was about how this all has affected the LA Rams salary cap situation for 2021. And that is where we need to gear down.
This is all dirt road from here on. The LA Rams 2021 NFL salary cap is still hidden in the fog. Per Over the Cap.com, the estimated 2021 NFL Salary Cap is estimated at $181,674,171. Per Spotrac.com, their estimated 2021 NFL Salary Cap is estimated at $180,674,141. While both sites have minor differences in the salary cap, they both agree that the LA Rams are currently projected to be over the cap for 2021 by over $30 million. If the numbers you find after clicking on the links are different, don’t worry. Estimates change almost daily.
If you were hopeful that trading away QB Jared Goff would save the LA Rams some salary cap dollars? Well, you are only partially correct. What it did was send approximately $29 million of Jared Goff’s 2021 Salary to the Detroit Lions. In return, the Rams must now recognize Stafford’s $20 million of compensation due to him this year. And in the meantime, the Rams must now also recognize $22 million of Goff’s signing bonus in 2021. $29 million outbound. $42 million on the books instead.
Give and take. The NFL salary cap is just one huge game of TIP-IT. Instead of trying to remove weights from one of three counterweights, the NFL allows NFL teams to move the weight of salaries from today and place them into tomorrow. But if a player is waived or traded, those dollars must be returned to the ‘now’ stack.