NFL salary cap skyrockets, but will it help LA Rams this offseason?
By Bret Stuter
The LA Rams are one of the NFL teams that seem to exhaust whatever available salary cap space is at their disposal. That is, the Rams do not carry a buffer of unused cap space from one year to the next. And the Rams typically have their own estimates of where the future NFL salary caps will fall in each respective year.
So the latest news regarding the NFL salary cap for 2023 is both good news and a bit anti-climactic. In short, it’s fantastic news that the NFL has raised the annual salary cap from the 2022 mark of $208.2 million to a new high of $224.8 million for the 2023 NFL season.
Now here’s the situation:
Per Spotrac.com, the LA Rams are projected, currently, to face a 2023 payroll of over $240 million. That means that, despite the cap increase, the LA Rams are projected to come up short. Right now, the deficit for the LA Rams is projected to come in at just over (-$15 million).
Of course, the LA Rams are generally over the cap at this time each year, and to be honest, a $15 million shortfall seems like a drop in the bucket compared to recent years at this time. So how will the Rams get money freed up?
The top eight paid players on the Rams roster make up 75 percent of the team’s 2023 salary cap. Among those players are WR Allen Robinson and OT Joseph Noteboom, two players who are prime targets to renegotiate their contracts as neither player delivered up to expectations.
But if the Rams still believe in those players, they have the option to restructure contracts in such a way as to spread today’s dollars further into the future, freeing up cap space today. How much cap space will the Rams need? If the team is ultra-conservative, then freeing up $30 million is a bare minimum. But if the LA Rams want to extend some of their own expiring contracts, then the Rams will need to look at freeing up no less than $50-60 million. Even with that much shed, the Rams will still be tethered to about $30-40 million of spendable cap space.
Some will need to be placed into a reserve for signing draft picks, and some will need to be placed into a reserve in case the Rams need to sign any free agents over the course of the 2023 NFL season. The Rams may even consider parting ways with some players as a last resort.
Stay tuned . . .