LA Rams Van Jefferson could be key to Julio Jones trade

Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams Rumors Julio Jones
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Salary cap space

The LA Rams may have struggled to get under the annual NFL salary cap, but they’ve managed to do exactly that. And that should give a clear indication that the Rams are absolutely in the running for Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones. To be honest, the Falcons have been the hold-up so far, because their contract with Jones would create a crippling dead cap money impact on their team’s salary situation if he is cut or traded before June 1st.

Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Rams /

Los Angeles Rams

After June 1st (per, the Falcons can trade Julio Jones and realize significant salary cap savings of over $15 million for 2021.  In fact, his entire $15.3 million salary would pass on to the LA Rams.  That would give the Falcons plenty of space to sign a free agent or two in 2021 or preserve those savings to help their 2022 salary cap situation.

But what of the LA Rams? We know that they only have a little more than $7 million of free cap space now. That’s simply not enough. Well, the Rams could grow that amount with any player salary savings traded to the Falcons. In our scenario, the Rams would realize a salary-cap savings of nearly $1 million by trading Van Jefferson in the transaction.

So where can the Rams get more savings?  Well, the same folks at estimate that the LA Rams can generate $16 million of salary cap savings by extending Matthew Stafford. That frees up cap space of $24 million and gives the team not only enough room to bring Julio Jones aboard, but enough wiggle room to rework some contracts to extend some key players, as well as even out some salary cap spike slated for 2022.

The exchange could rest on Van Jefferson’s inclusion. Why?