Are LA Rams desperate enough to field offers for WR Robert Woods?
By Bret Stuter
The 2021 NFL season is unlike any other, and the LA Rams are learning all of that first hand as you read this. After all the fears about the 2020 NFL season not taking place, the Rams made the playoffs and competed there all the way to round two. Now, with no cap space and few picks in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft, the Rams must find a way to return to the playoffs, and perhaps even win the Super Bowl.
That’s a tall task.
One of the problems in any change is the fear of ending up worse off than before. That’s a valid concern, particularly when talking about a successful team like the LA Rams. But the team cannot remain the same. As of today, the Rams are between ($35 million) to ($39 million) over their 2021 NFL salary cap ceiling. How did the Rams get into a hole once more?
Well, the 2021 salary cap has dropped nearly $20 million from just one year ago. And that will halt a string of nearly double-digit annual growth. The Rams, in anticipation of a much higher salary cap for 2021, had committed to spending that salary growth via contracts with several key players. With that growth actually become a significant decline, the Rams must now work very quickly to clear space. That process may include cutting or trading away players who many may feel are vital to the team’s success in 2021.
LA Rams rumors give an unthinkable option to salary cap relief
How does the team clear enough space? Well, we have laid out how to clear $80 million in cap space in 5 steps, but it is a painful path. The reality is that no option to clear cap space is immune to pain and agony. In his latest Monday Morning Quarterback edition for Sports Illustrated, Albert Breer talks about the LA Rams’ need to clear cap space. To that objective, he claims that the LA Rams are taking offers for defensive end Michael Brockers.
In that article, Breer also tosses this hand grenade into the mix:
"‘Teams have also called on Robert Woods, though L.A.’s been hesitant to move him in the past when interest from contending teams has surfaced.’"
Could the LA Rams trade WR Robert Woods? Wow. That’s one trade that comes completely out of left field, doesn’t it? Or does it?
I mean, thanks to signing an extension in 2020, Woods is currently among the Top-five highest-paid players on the LA Rams roster today. In a pre-June 1 trade scenario, he could save the Rams nearly $12 million alone, generating more savings than all but one player. And when it comes to the salary cap, teams often ask the question: Can the team get close to that production at a fraction of the cost?
Desperate times? Yes. But are the Rams that desperate?
Yes, the LA Rams are deep in the salary cap hole right now and need to take some pretty drastic steps to clear space. One option would be to restructure existing contracts to push cap impacts into future years. Yes, that’s just kicking the can down the road. But down the road will not face a salary cap drop of this magnitude. So that has to be given strong consideration for this occasion.
Keep in mind that just getting to the salary cap does nothing for the team. The Rams will need a buffer for drafted rookies, any tender offers, and free agency signings, or even any large signing bonuses used to entice undrafted free agents to join the team. How much? A buffer of about $10 million would be the absolute minimum.
Or the Rams can pick up the phones that are now ringing over trading Robert Woods. Right now, the Rams have a lot of salary cap work to do. And pulling out $12 million will certainly be discussed among the front office, if just for the briefest of exchanges.
The entire Rams rumor about the likelihood of trading Robert Woods has a legitimate foundation. Whether or not the Rams elect to do so. But as time passes, and that salary cap debt seems to grow larger, the LA Rams may become very desperate.
How desperate? That is up to the reader to decide.