LA Rams must stop the dead cap death toll on their roster

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Rams have not been very prudent in their salary cap management. In fact, the team’s decision-making process when focused upon an individual player seems to run the gamut of ‘must have at any cost’ to ‘must get rid of at any cost’.   That oscillation between extremes is very concerning. Why?  Well, look at many of the LA Rams’ major contract extensions so far.

Of course, Aaron Donald’s extension is already a huge bargain. But other contracts? Those of WR Brandin Cooks, RB Todd Gurley, and even QB Jared Goff, proudly signed as recently as just 18 months prior, were all convincingly overpayments less than two years after the fact. Not only has that placed the Rams at a financial disadvantage, but it also calls into serious question their valuation of the team’s talent.

He’s the history of the team from their Super Bowl season forward, thanks to

2018 dead cap space – $16.8 million ( 9.4 percent)
2019 dead cap space – $13.6 million ( 5.9 percent)
2020 dead cap space – $38.5 million (19.4 percent
2021 dead cap space – $30.8 million (17.1 percent)
Cumulative total? =       $99.7 million

Over four seasons, the LA Rams have overpaid by nearly $100 million. That’s a huge amount. In more concrete terms? It’s the equivalent of paying for a second player of Aaron Donald’s elite production and getting nothing to show for it.

LA Rams News update: Rams face another huge dead cap total

No, this is not a ‘sky is falling’ article.  Have the Rams gotten by so far? Yes. Have the Rams been very successful? An even more emphatic YES.  But these contracts force the Rams front office to shop for incredible bargains in the dents and dinged section of the grocery store, while other teams walk into the same store with fistfuls of cash. Over time, who eats better?

The Rams can still pay for their players at the same level, but reword contracts to contain far more incentive clauses, and far fewer guaranteed salaries. Right now the LA Rams are among 11 NFL teams with a salary cap figure that exceeds this year’s estimated ceiling. With a league average dead cap figure of $7 million, the Rams are carrying $24 million in excess. If the Rams were at the league average, they would need to find just $4 million in cap savings.

How can the Rams fix this? Invest in hiring some contract specialists, persons who know their way around the ins and outs of saving the team millions in dead cap each year.

Rams have not enjoyed ultimate success

Yes, I know that the Rams have been very successful. But the ultimate success is winning a Super Bowl. To do so, the LA Rams must overcome a burdensome $31 million dead cap mountain in 2021, a year with limited cap dollars.

Worthwhile contract specialists avoid those types of situations by conditions that help the organization avoid being on the hook if the player fails to live up to expectations. Simply by paying several experts to join Tony Pastoors staff, with the goal of avoiding the dead cap purgatory the team finds itself in every year, the Rams will come out far ahead in the long run.

It’s time to draw the line on situations where it’s cheaper for the Rams to pay a player to play for the team rather than for the team to waive him. That needs to stop going forward.

Trending. Are LA Rams tempted by high-risk/reward Titans OT Isaiah Wilson?. light

Of course, the real cause of this nightmare is how quickly the Rams fall in love with a player so deeply that they are willing to meet any contract demands. Then, in record time, fall out of love with that same player just as quickly and seemingly permanently. Nothing is certain in this world but death and taxes. It’s time for the Rams to factor in that uncertainty when adding players to the roster going forward.