5 steps to free up $80 Million in LA Rams 2021 NFL salary cap

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams salary cap
Mandatory Credit: Sad Detroit Lions /

Step one – Extend QB Matthew Stafford

The LA Rams have committed to QB Matthew Stafford. After trading QB Jared Goff, two first-round picks, and a third-round pick, nobody is fooling anyone with a position of ‘we want to see how he’ll do here’ on his salary cap impact.  So let’s be realistic here. Stafford is the LA Rams quarterback for the next four years.

So why not modify his contract to reflect that?  His current contract is fairly straight-forward. He is slated to earn $20 million in 2021, plus another $23 million in 2022. That’s actually not bad for a veteran quarterback at the cusp of turning 33-years old. So how can the Rams work this out to make everyone happy?

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Well, Stafford is looking for $43 million over the next four years.  The Rams could extend his contract through 2024 and stretch out the number of years Stafford gets paid. That would carry Stafford to age 37, where he would likely have to make a decision to remain in the NFL or retire. But what good will that do the Rams? Well, if the LA Rams go with a four-year deal valued at $90 million, here’s how they save money:

Year          Salary              Signing Bonus         Total Cap hit            Cap Savings
2021        $    500K          $20 million               $ 5.5 million            ($14.5 million) savings
2022        $22 million                                          $22.5 million          ($     500K) savings
2023        $28 million                                          $33 million              $33 million additional cap expense
2024        $19.5 million                                       $24.5 million          $24.5 million additional cap expense.

So the LA Rams place another $500,000 in Stafford’s pocket today, and save $14.5 million in the salary cap for doing so? That’s how the salary cap works We’ll talk more at length about why the NFL accounting rules allow this. For now, suffice it to say that the math is correct and the savings are there.

Aggregate 2021 Salary Cap Savings: ($14.5  million)