Very doable: LA Rams roster and retaining 2022 free agents

Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams News Rams Roster Andrew Whitworth
Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports /

Finding spending cash- savings ($38.2 million)

Yes, the LA Rams have some potential moves to make in order to adjust the roster and free up salary-cap space. But exactly how involved of a process are we looking at? It’s not nearly as creatively imaginative as you may think.  After all, the Rams are about to climb out from under suffocating dead cap space, so that is a huge plus.

The Rams can get to the magic $30 million with a few simple moves. In fact, the team could clear up to $45 million lickity-split. Say what? Yes, that’s how easy it becomes in the realm of the NFL salary cap and the methods of creative accounting. Let’s dive into how that could take place.

Extend Stafford – ($8 million) savings

This is the most complicated of the moves, and so we’ll tackle it first. In 2022, Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford will be on the last year of his contract, worth $23 million. But the Rams could lower that salary cap footprint by extending Stafford through the 2025 season. How? Well, if the team offers a four-year deal worth $120 million, the team could treat $40 million of the contract like a signing bonus. Then, the team could commit to a salary of $5 million, $15 million, $20 million, and $20 million.

The net effect of that contract would lower Stafford’s 2022 salary cap impact to $15 million ($5 million + $40 million / 4 years), or a net savings of $8 million.

Whitworth retirement – ($13 million) savings

The LA Rams certainly are getting their money’s worth out of veteran offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth. But the relationship may end in 2022, as Big Whit may seek retirement at the ripe old agge of 40. Likewise, although Whitworth is delivering huge value for the Rams, the team may make an obvious business decision to go with the younger, and far less expensive option of Joseph Noteboom in 2022.

Whether or not Whitworth decides this is the time to hang up the cleats, the Rams could get out from under $13 million in 2022. That much money can enable the Rams to re-sign eight players back to the roster next season. It seemed very clear that Andrew Whitworth would retire at 40 years old. I say he does, and saves the team a whopping ($13 million) by doing so.

Restructure Ramsey contract – $11.2 million savings

The way some team’s save money is simple. It’s an accounting trick of recategorizing one type of compensation into another form of compensation. Unless you are studying for your CPA exam, here is all you need to know.

Per, the Rams can restructure Jalen Ramsey’s contract and generate an ($11.2 million) salary cap savings in 2022. No, that does NOT mean that the Rams will pay him any less. What that does is take that 2022 charge of $11.2, and spread it out over 2023-2026. Ramsey still gets paid the same amount each year. It’s simply a change in how the Rams reflect those payments.

Restructure Donald’s contract – $6.1 million savings

In a very similar move, the LA Rams have an option of restructuring the contract with Aaron Donald, generating a salary cap saving of ($6.1 million). Again this method takes a salary sum of $6.1 million out of 2022, and spreads it out over 2023-24.

Why is this amount nearly half of the savings from Ramsey’s restructure? Donald’s contract ends two years sooner, so there is less time to spread the savings from 2022 across. That has an impact on the savings realized next year.

With four actions, the LA Rams can amass enough salary cap space to retain 10 key players, and theoretically still have money to spend. We’ve shown a path to free up to $45 million of avalable salary cap funds. Will the Rams act to clear that much cap space? Perhaps. But the more important point is that the Rams will indeed have the option to create plenty of cap space next year, enough to retain nearly any pending free agent the team wishes to extend.

But there is one very important caveat. For every player that the Rams seek to re-sign, that money cannot be used to retain another player. So there is a cost of who the teams chooses to retain.  So if you have been fretting over the Rams roster, fear not. They have the power to extend Von Miller, Odell Beckham Jr., and a whole lot more if they choose to do so.

Trending. 3X the LA Rams failed to improve the team in the 2021 NFL Draft. light