LA Rams Aaron Donald, Matthew Stafford closing in on new deals

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Like bowling pins, the LA Rams salary cap progress towards complying with the 2022 NFL salary cap is a progression of the order in which events must occur. And like that same bowling pin analogy, when the first pin happens to fall, the rest of them will go down pretty quickly. So it’s a bit of a wait-and-see period for the fans hoping to learn about the team’s chances of extending or perhaps even signing players in just over a week’s time.

The good news is that there is good news. The Rams and Aaron Donald, the kingpin of the team’s off-season salary work, are reportedly making good progress. Donald is, by many accounts, the toughest contract to renegotiate as it involves restoring Donald to the highest-paid defensive lineman in the NFL. Of course, the other goal is to free up cap space.

To accomplish both goals, the LA Rams will certainly seek to execute a contract with plenty of years duration. The longer the contract, even if the extension includes voidable years, the more the team can ‘spread’ the salary expense over the life of the contract.   So it becomes a bit like working with fractions. One-fourth of a pie is much larger than one-eighth of the same pie.

Rams roster

Of course, that is just one of the two significant contracts that the front office is negotiating. The other is that of quarterback Matthew Stafford, who is in line to get his own share of the pie.

The progress is good. In fact, it’s ideal, because the LA Rams are pretty much dead in the water until they complete those two new contracts.

Once those two keystone deals are done, the team can focus upon the quick work restructuring to free up enough funds to allow the front office to re-sign players. For Odell Beckham Jr., I suspect that contract has been hammered out and the team simply needs to have the cap space to sign and make the contract official.

Some incredibly intriguing players have already been cut in advance of the 2022 NFL Free Agency market. They include Seattle Seahawks ILB Bobby Wagner, New England Patriots OLB Kyle Van Noy, and Atlanta Falcons OLB Dante Fowler Jr. Under the right circumstances, I could envision a scenario in which the Rams would have interest in each player. But to sign anyone, the Rams need the money to do so.

So it’s back to work for the team’s front office. Time is running out.

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