Some may be asking themselves "So What? After all, it's not my money being spent to pay a kicker." Ah, but that is where we lose sight of the big picture. Because an NFL team has limited funds to spend to staff the team's entire roster, money spent on a kicker cannot be spent on other positions. Let's illustrate with an example:
Gay's current contract with the Colts resulted in over $9 million cash payout this season, and a $3.08 million hit to the Colts salary cap. The difference between Gay's salary and that of Lucas Havisik's $458K for this season is $2.5 million. So what other positions can the Rams roster pay at that amount?
For that much money, the LA Rams are paying right guard Kevin Dotson ($2.25 million). Or the Rams could be paying rookie left guard Steve Avila ($1.68 million). Inside linebacker Ernest Jones ($1.3 million) fits in under that amount. Starting defensive back Ahkello Witherspoon ($940,000) does too.
Of the active 53-man LA Rams roster, only eight players have a larger salary cap impact than kicker Matt Gay does on the Colts' salary cap. From where I sit, Matt Gay does not appear to be delivering for the Colts at that level of compensation.
In the end, I'm not trying to toss shade at Matt Gay, or any NFL player who signs to a lucrative contract. Both sides negotiated that deal in good faith, and the fact that the player and the team sign the contract is concrete evidence that both sides feel it delivers the best value possible to both sides.
Where I think some may overlook the difficult task imposed on the Rams front office of getting optimal value at as many positions as possible for each and every new NFL season. At the time that the LA Rams signed Havrisik, the team was taking a chance on an untested kicker. But that is the same scenario that applied when the Colts signed Matt Gay to such a lucrative contract.
The LA Rams may not have the best kicker in the NFL. But don't ignore the fact that the Rams have an incredibly team-friendly deal in place with Lucas Havrisik through 2024. Yes, sometimes you get what you pay for. But when signing contracts with NFL players, sometimes you don't get the value you are paying for. The LA Rams may have dodged a bullet by not entering a bidding war for kicker Matt Gay's services this year.
And that does not even factor in any awarded compensatory draft picks.