The mouse’s cap footprint of LA Rams’ contract of OLB Leonard Floyd
By Bret Stuter
The LA Rams have re-signed OLB Leonard Floyd to a very salary cap-friendly contract for 2021. Of course, they had to do so, because they are truly trying to cram an awfully large camel of roster talent through the eye of the 2021 salary cap ceiling needle right now. (Pardon the biblical reference, but this salary cap work seems rather miraculous).
While there are those who feel the Rams may have overpaid for a veteran who simply had only one year of great work, the market price for edge players has inflated substantially this year. And the fact is that the Rams defense with Floyd rose to the top of the NFL. That was from an almost non-existent training camp, a chaotic season, and all of the challenges of deploying the new defensive schemes of defensive coordinator Brandon Staley.
While the Rams have another new defensive coordinator in Raheem Morris, the Rams’ have already made it clear that they intend to retain as much of last year’s defense as possible. Without John Johnson III returning, OLB Leonard Floyd is the one player who understands that scheme the most.
The teeny tiny cap hit of a big contract
So the value of Leonard Floyd to the Rams was much higher than the fair market value of the commodity edge rusher. Look at the team’s current edger rushers? The team currently lists Justin Lawler, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Terrell Lewis, and hybrid ILB/OLB Justin Hollins. There just is not enough experience to draft into that position without the addition of a veteran leader. And veterans, as stated above, enjoy a very inflated price in the NFL Free Agency market this year. So what’s the damage done by Floyd’s contract?
The three keys to this deal are the guaranteed money, the 2021 cap hit, and the overall value of the deal. So the piece that hits 2021 is $2 million of salary, plus 25 percent of the signing bonus, or another $3.5 million. Floyd gets $16 million cash this year, but the cap hit is a paltry $5.5 million, or less than $1 million more than Darious Williams’s one-year deal. So where did it go?
Future years. That’s the piece to player contracts that eventually become the ‘dead cap’ money that is so painful in the future. Spotrac.com has a great year-by-year analysis of the deal. Since the Rams resigned him before the start of the new year, Floyd never truly became a free agent. Technicality and all that.
Floyd is a true contributor to the defense. He was a star for the team in 2020. But he could be even more dominant with the Rams with a year under his belt. Yes, the Rams will need to fill Samson Ebukam’s vacancy and can do so in the 2021 NFL Draft. But the signing of Floyd fills a huge roster hole. In the end, that is all you can expect in free agency.