How LA Rams can create over $65 million more cap space entering free agency

Les Snead, Los Angeles Rams
Les Snead, Los Angeles Rams / John McCoy/GettyImages
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IV: Savings of $11.03 million ($38.59 million total)

The next trick of the trade cannot be a contract restructure. Why? Well, All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald is playing in the last year of his contract. While he has additional 'void years' through 2026 in his current contract, and any restructure performed in 2024 will merely push all of the cap saving into 2025, the first day of 2025, which is his void year.

Another option in the Rams bag of tricks is to enter into an arduous process of extending Aaron Donald in 2024. By doing so, the team can effective include his current year's payments of $10 million salary and $5 million roster bonus, convert them into a signing bonus (same money, different category) and spread them over the life of his new extension.

Is Donald willing to re-up with the Rams? In the past, he insisted upon doing, and was willing to hold out from training camp until a new contract, with a brand new guaranteed salary, was ratified. By extending Donald in 2024, the team can create savings of $11.03 million that is pushed into future years. Still with me? Let's keep going.

III: Savings of $12.53 million ($51.12 million total)

While some may argue that the LA Rams did not get their money's worth out of veteran WR Cooper Kupp in 2022 or 2023, I do not believe the team sees it that way. If anything, the team likely views Kupp as an underpaid player in 2021 and simply catching up to his franchise-record-smashing season in 2021.

Let's park any interest in renegotiating Kupp's salary for another time and focus on what is the more likely scenario. Cooper Kupp's current contract runs through 2026. Kupp is due $15 million in standard salary and another $5 million in a roster bonus in 2024. If the team restructures WR Cooper Kupp's contract, the team can create an additional $12.5 million in savings.

Magic? Not at all.

Again, this is not pulling money out of the player's pocket or cookin the books. It's simply the very common practice of pushing today's salary cap hits into future years.