LA Rams Wednesday Walkabout NFC West 2.1
By Jay Blucher
Well, folks, it’s time again for the LA Rams contributors Bret Stuter and Jay Blucher to do another walkabout of the NFC West. This week it’s the salary cap challenges of each NFC West team. And it’s that time where the talk about last year ends and the focus to next season begins. There is so much to cover, and the start of the 2021 NFL Free Agency market is just a month away.
Now is the time when the fans and analysts collaborate. Now, we all gather at social media ‘town halls’ and express our concerns and hopes for what the NFL team of choice should, shouldn’t, will, and won’t do to improve the team. Financial and positional constraints are easily overlooked, as we structure the future into the way we want it to be. Restocking rosters is then more about shopping with an endless supply of money, and no other shoppers in the store.
But money is tough to come by, after all. While all the talk is about restocking rosters, the LA Rams are the poor kids on the block. After all, they are in deep-deficit mode already:
Seattle Seahawks cap space: $14.4 million
San Francisco 49ers cap space: $20.8 million
LA Rams cap space: ($25.2 million)
Arizona Cardinals cap space: $19.5 million
But looks can be quite deceiving. As it turns out, the LA Rams have only half as many veterans scheduled to hit free agency. So, the surplus cap space will evaporate quickly for NFC West teams. What do we mean? Well, the LA Rams are slated to lose just half of the free agents that other teams are expected to lose. Let’s look at the projected free agents for NFC West teams.
Seattle Seahawks free agents: 31 free agents. Tops CB Shaquille Griffin, CB Quinton Dunbar, G Mike Iupati
San Francisco 49ers free agents: 34 free agents. Tops LT Trent Williams, CB Richard Sherman, DE Solomon Thomas
LA Rams’ free agents: 16 free agents. Tops S John Johson III, CB Troy Hill, OLB Leonard Floyd.
Arizona Cardinals free agents: 29 free agents. Tops CB Patrick Peterson, RB Kenyan Drake, WR Larry Fitzgerald
That means that the Rams will not need to reload quite as dramatically as other teams. Assuming that teams will only commit $2 million per year to free-agent signings, the Rams are theoretically in need of $32 million. But the Cardinals would need $58 million, the Seahawks would need $62 million, and finally, the 49ers would need $68 million. The result sinks all NFC West teams into the hole for 2021. So, let’s dive into the Free Agency market for each team: