Houston, we have a problem. Did the LA Rams paint themselves into a currency corner?

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No tenders? No money

The LA Rams are nearly broke for the time being. I'm a bit confused about that. The Rams, without sufficient capital to sign players, are playing a dangerous game of NFL Free Agency chicken. Is there a plan in place? Of course, and the Rams have never failed to impress on that front in the past. But the team made it a point to up the compensation for players in 2022, decisions that have come at a huge price.

The Rams managed to extend tender offers to Michael Hoecht, Shaun Jolly, and Christian Rozeboom. But the deadline for extending tenders has come and gone. The Rams did not tender backup QB Bryce Perkins:

In fact, the LA Rams did not offer extentions to:

  • QB John Wolford
  • OL Chandler Brewer
  • DL Marquise Copeland
  • OL David Edwards
  • QB Bryce Perkins
  • S/LB Jake Gervase (ERFA)
  • TE/WR Jacob Harris (ERFA)
  • CB Grant Haley (ERFA)

Let's be clear. If the Rams had the available funds, they most certainly would have brought back Copeland, Perkins, Gervase, Harris, Brewer, and Haley. They may yet. But the Rams have to find the funds to do so.

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Rams late wave of releases makes sense now

And the Rams released the following minimally compensated players after signing them to Reserve/Futures contracts:

  • TE Rodger Carter
  • TE Jarred Pinkney
  • DB T.J. Carter
  • OLB Braydon Thomas
  • WR J.J. Koski
  • WR Jaquarii Roberson
  • WR Jarreth Sterns
  • OL Max Pircher 

These were players just signed to Reserve/Future contracts less than two months ago. Their release was not about potential or performance. The LA Rams simply needed the cap space.

And with all of these moves, the Rams have just $8 million in available salary cap payroll dollars to spend. The reason for the Rams' sudden financial stress is that the team, by parting ways with a number of significantly compensated players, has ballooned their 2023 dead cap from just under $5 million to over $43 million.

That dead cap number will get worse.