Matthew Stafford and LA Rams take 1st step to hammer out extension

Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams Free Agency Matthew Stafford
(Photo by Heritage Art/Heritage Images via Getty Images) /

Slide rule calculations

Long before calculators, tedious calculations were performed on an analog device known as the slide rule. Why introduce that here and now? Because the business of renegotiating NFL contracts is a tedious and slow process. Unlike the fast and furious tempo of most modern-day transactions, negotiations can take several weeks.

Complicating the matter for the Rams front office is the simple fact that they are about five weeks behind the off-season work as most other NFL teams. Well, perhaps that is the case, as we truly do not know how much prep-work was handled by the front office during the post-season play. Knowing that the team is facing another wave of outbound players, we can safely assert that the team already has a Plan A, B, C, and remote contingency to restock the roster.

light. Must Read. Very doable: LA Rams roster and retaining 2022 free agents

A pot o’ gold again?

Of course, I.O.U.s don’t cut it in the NFL. The Rams have to show surplus funds before signing and registering new contracts with the league. They will only free up cash in one of four ways: Cut/waive players, trade players, renegotiate existing player contracts, and finally restructure existing player contracts. So which will it be for Matthew Stafford?

Well, this will be a renegotiation, as it will involve changing the material length and compensation of his current deal. Previously, we had completely spitballed a scenario where we replaced his current one-year $23 million deal with a four-year $120 million deal, saving the Rams some $8 million in salary cap for 2022. Whatever the final terms of the new deal, the process will follow a similar pattern

If the Rams need to free up cash for 2022, look for the team to target a four or five-year contract with Stafford. That will give Stafford and his family financial security for a significant period of time, while also giving plenty of years to the contract to spread the cost of the initial years. A five-year $200 million contract will give Stafford the FMV price of $40 million, the current market value of NFL quarterbacks right now.

But wisely structured the Rams could create a five-year contract and park $50 million of Stafford’s compensation in a signing bonus category. With a gradually increasing salary. That could reduce Stafford’s 2022 salary cap from $23 million all the way down to $10 million, shaving $13 million off the team’s salary cap, while stuffing $50 million into Stafford’s swiss bank account instantly.