LA Rams are just hours from NFL tampering period
Are you ready for a very exciting week of NFL news, LA Rams fans? Events in the NFL are about to heat up like a tea kettle left too long on the hotplate. That is due to the fact that the 2023 NFL season begins at 1:00 pm PT on Wednesday, March 15, 2023. At that time, trades and the NFL Free Agency market officially opens for business, and contracts can be executed and filed with the NFL office.
But there is a lot of work that goes on before those contracts can be executed and filed. And so, the NFL has allowed players and their representatives to meet with NFL front office personnel to hammer out the details of any potential contract hours before the new NFL season begins. Informally named the "NFL Tampering period,' players and their representatives have the opportunity to meet with and even negotiate terms of the contract.
Likewise, NFL teams will be able to speak with free agents two days before free agency begins during the legal tampering period. Beginning on Monday, March 13, 2023, at 9:00 am PT, clubs can contact and negotiate with players who were set to become unrestricted free agents.
But there are some caveats.
Rams money matters
The LA Rams need to have the available cap space before filing any contract with the NFL. Right now, Spotrac.com projects the LA Rams to have 43 players under contract and to be over the 2023 NFL salary cap by nearly (-$6 million). With the pending Post-June 1 release of ILB Bobby Wagner, the LA Rams will likely clear the 2023 NFL Salary cap threshold by less than $3 million to spare.
Right now, without any information about restructured contracts, the LA Rams are likely looking at a Post-1 designation release of WR Allen Robinson as well. While that will not give the Rams additional salary cap space to work with, the election will save the Rams millions against the 2023 cap by avoiding an unnecessary dead cap hit, which will allow the team to press ahead this season.
The LA Rams have seven Exclusive Rights Free Agents, many of whom are expected to return to the team for the 2023 NFL season on a minimal salary. The Rams also face a decision about RFA backup quarterback John Wolford, a player who has not had the greatest luck on the football field, but who has earned the trust of HC Sean McVay.
Finally, the LA Rams have 20 players who are projected to become unrestricted free agents this year. Will the Rams sign any of them? Right now, any extensions by the Rams will be on very team-friendly terms. That means that the Rams will likely fold if another team shows interest and drives up the price for that player.
This is not a 'sky is falling,' type of article. I believe that the Rams will add value in the NFL Free Agency market. The problem is that value is not found right out of the gates. We'll need to be a bit patient with the LA Rams this offseason. It's not a race to 90 players, and as such I believe that the LA Rams will be content to let the big money fly around early, then wade in and pick their spots. It won't be flashy, but it could be a very effective strategy.