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
4 of 4

II: Savings of $11 million ($62.12 million total)

So far we have covered the strategy or restructuring or extending a player's contract. But neither strategy apply to LA Rams swing tackle Joe Noteboom. Much like recently released veteran center Brian Allen, the team extended Noteboom in 2022 with the intention that he would earn and retain a starting role at left tackle on the offensive line. That contract was for three years and $40 million. Unfortunately, the Rams found it necessary to create cap space in 2023 just to connect the dots, and so the Rams pushed some of Noteboom's 2023 salary into 2024 and into two void years of 2025 and 2026.

Much like Donald, Noteboom is in the last year of his contract, and is due to be paid $10 million in base salary, $5 million in roster bonus, and carryover of $5 million from his 2022 signing bonus. If the Rams cut Noteboom outright with a post-June 1 designation, then the only money that would impact 2024 is the $5 million previous signing bonus. $10 million of residual signing bonus would hit in 2025. Without the designation, the Rams would save just $5 million, but swallow all $15 million of the deferred signing bonus in 2024.

What the Rams want to do is renegotiate the final year of Noteboom's contract, pulling down his $15 million of salary and bonus due in 2024 to a more reasonable amount of $6-8 million. By doing so, the team can keep the void year's in place, and spread the impact of the new but lower salary over 2024 and the void years.

This savings is probably the squishiest (less certain) of the bunch, but projects a saving of $11 million. So we will go with that.

I: Savings of $5.6 million ($65.72 million total)

Last but not least, we come to the contract of starting TE Tyler Higbee, who is projected to start the 2024 NFL season on the bench due to a late ACL injury in the Wild Card Round of the 2024 NFL Playoffs. Like Kupp, I recognize that some may not view the current contract with Tyler Higbee in the same regard of the team getting fair market value for their money. But until the team's rhetoric suggest that they are seeking savings by paying Higbee less, I will simply focus on savings by restructuring his current contract.

Tyler Higbee is under contract with the team through 2025 (plus one void year in 2026). He is due to earn a salary of $3 million, plus a roster bonus of $1 million per game up to $5.5 million. He is also due an additional bonus worth just over $1.1 million. Finally, he has a previously paid signing bonus worth $2.1 million against the 2024 salary cap. Saving from Higbee's contract is a simple restructure, converting the salary, roster bonus, and other bonuses into a signing bonus of just over $9.6 million, and spreading that amount over the remaining life of the contract. The savings from that will create an additional 2024 salary cap space of $5.6 million

Summing it all up

Okay, so where does that leave us? Let's recap:


How changed?

This savings

Total 2024 cap space

As is

$43 million

Rob Havenstein


$7.7 million

$50.7 million

Matthew Stafford


$19.86 million

$70.56 million

Aaron Donald


$11.03 million

$81.59 million

Cooper Kupp


$12.53 million

$94.12 million

Joe Noteboom


$11 million

$105.12 million

Tyler Higbee


$5.6 million

$110.72 million

The LA Rams have the wherewithal to create over $110 million of salary cap space for the 2024 NFL Free Agency market, which is clearly enough to extend IOL Kevin Dotson, LT Alaric Jackson, DB Jordan Fuller, DB Ahkello Witherspoon, plus go big name hunting in the free agency market.

But at what cost? Well, if the Rams pull the trigger on all six options, over $65 million of 2024 salary cap space shifts from 2024 into 2025 and beyond, with no new players. That is why the Rams front office is so reluctant to do so.

We all know how painful 2023 was as the team cut or traded players for next to nothing. The money is there if the team needs to find it. But, and I cannot stress this enough, they need to be certain that they will get the best bang for the buck.

Top NFL stars, unfortunately, seldom fall into that category. And as always, thanks for reading.