How did that huge 2024 LA Rams salary cap projected surplus dwindle so quickly?

A year ago, the LA Rams bit the bullet in dead salary cap expense to free up over $60 million of surplus cap space in 2024. But nlow that we are in 2024, much of that surplus has vanished. What happened?

Kevin Demoff, Los Angeles Rams
Kevin Demoff, Los Angeles Rams / Ric Tapia/GettyImages
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2023 NFL Draft and salary impacts

The next impact item is the fact that the LA Rams drafted 14 rookies in the 2023 NFL Draft. Of course, to avoid dramatic shifts in projections, the Rams 2023 NFL salary cap did set aside a projected draft pool of dollars to ensure sufficient funds are in place to allow teams to sign their rookies.

But what is not factored in is the contract impacts of rookies in subsequent seasons. For the LA Rams, the impact on the 2024 salary cap is approximately $15 million. So if you do the math, the impact of the two factors so far is just under $30 million spent. But wait, there's more.

2023 in-season trades and FA signings

While not significant, the LA Rams did trade for and sign additional veterans to help the team in 2023. While you may not factor those events has having 2024 salary cap implications, you may have overlooked the obvious.

Salary dollars spent in 2023 do not roll over into the 2024 salary cap. And so, even 2023 expenditures, such as the $2.25 million spent on IOL Kevin Dotson and the $620K spent on QB Carson Wentz did have an indirect impact on the LA Rams 2024 available salary cap dollars.

2023 practice squad elevations and other cap hits

Finally, each time a player from the LA Rams practice squad was elevated, their salary jumped to 1/17th of the league minimum salary. In the offseason, only the Top-51 salaries could against an NFL team's salary cap. But during the regular season, all salaries (except those paid to the practice squad) count.

To complicate matters even further, the Rams' 2023 available salary cap was diminished even further by players who were assigned to the Injured Reserve roster. Again, the salary expense directly impacted the Rams' 2023 salary cap. But in doing so, it also carries an impact on the amount that rolls over for the 2024 amount available.