Gotta cover the cover guys’ contracts too
It wasn’t long before the guys who cover those receivers wanted a slice of that pie too. After all, the ask of the NFL’s top cornerbacks is to neutralize the NFL’s top receivers. In short, defenses must stake their guys to the same amount as the offense spends. So, the reset of the NFL wide receiver market would eventually reset the market for defensive backs as well.
Well, that just happened. The Cleveland Browns have just signed a new deal with Denzel Ward, making him, for the time being, the highest-paid NFL defensive back, averaging $100,000 more per year than LA Rams All-Pro DB Jalen Ramsey makes.
Ward is now paid more than Ramsey? Yes, that’s right.
News travels fast
And you can bet that players’ contracts and salary cap impacts travel fast in the NFL. Moments after the deal was announced, Jalen Ramsey was already on social media, acknowledging his contemporary’s good fortune and offering congratulations.
Such is the life of building the roster by finding the few elite game changers in the NFL, signing them to the roster, and then building around them. At some point in time, the league catches up to them. It may be in production. It most certainly will occur in salary. And as it does, the LA Rams must set other tasks aside and sit down to renegotiate fair compensation that allows the team to pay for a competitive roster, but one that keeps the team’s elite players among the highest-paid tier in the NFL.
For now, the LA Rams have gotten in front of this. Long before the market zaniness, the team had already publicly committed to getting new deals for both Aaron Donald and Cooper Kupp. That not only helps sustain high morale on the team but sets the standard that many other teams are unable to keep pace with.
But this is not a set-it-and-forget-it issue. As the Rams work to spend cap money fairly and pay all of the key players, revisiting existing deals will certainly become more and more of the team’s annual workload. Unfortunately, the cadence for the Rams can be upset relatively easily. After all, it’s not what the top teams are willing to pay their players that throws everything out of balance.
It’s the Jacksonville Jaguars and a deal with WR Christian Kirk that makes everything spin out of control.