Rams 2024 salary cap space shocks with a better than the brochure outlook

Les Snead, Los Angeles Rams
Les Snead, Los Angeles Rams / Leon Bennett/GettyImages

The LA Rams may be shopping in the 2024 NFL Free Agency market after all this year. You see, the NFL has been a bit generous to teams as the most recently ratified Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) has prescribed. The off-season checklist for the team is already well underway, with the team refilling vacated coaching roles, and the initial tweaks to the roster already taking place.

For football purists, these are the doldrums, the period of the NFL season where the gridiron has been replaced by the draft board, and the snap of the football signaling action has been pushed aside by the most recent breaking news from NFL Insiders on social media.

But for may football enthusiasts, this is the dessert of a long and filling feast of NFL action. This is the time of learning about players on the team's roster, hugging out the farewells to players who have given their best to help the team to find success, and rolling out the virtual welcome mat for new veterans and rookies alike.

But for the few, this is the time where another NFL Rubik's Cube must be solved. The 90-man offseason Rams roster must be assembled once more. It's the time of finding the financial leverage to re-sign former players, sign new veterans, and then select the future stars of the team during and after the next NFL Draft.

How much can the Rams spend?

We had covered the fact that the original projections from Over the Cap.com and Spotrac.com were rather conservative for the 2024 NFL salary cap. But even revised estimates fell short of the new numbers. Let's break it down in a data table and display revised numbers as of February 24, 2024:



2024 salary cap

Dead cap

Top 51 contracts

Projected 2024 cap space

OTC original

$7.7 million

$242 million

($0.77 million)

($217.5 million)

$27.7 million

Spotrac original

$7.7 million

$242.5 million

($0.77 million)

($214.9 million)

$35.4 million

PFN ($243 million)

$7.7 million

$243 million

($0.77 million)

($217 million)

$33 million

PFN ($250 million

$7.7 million

$250 million

($0.77 million)

($217 million)

$40 million

OTC revised

$7.7 million

$255.4 million

($3.9 million)

($212.4 million)

$43.1 million

Spotract revised

$7.7 million

$255.4 million

($3.9 million)

($210.7 million)

$52.3 million

The revised 2024 salary cap number of $255.4 million is significantly higher than expected, so the Rams can spend at will, right? Well, not exactly. Like many numbers tossed around this early, even these refined projections are squishy. The Rams roster is not set, which means that both the dead cap and Top-51 contrats numbers will change dramatically between now and the opening kickoff.

The other aspect of projected cap space that we must address is the relative value of cap space. If the Rams football team was the only one with the new cap space, then the team would hold a distinct advantage. But the tide rising applies to all boats at the dock. That means that all teams have more money to spend, which means that there will be significant upward pressure to sign players.

Relative salary cap space

Perhaps the best way to illustrate this point is to refer you to the NFL team salary cap table from the overthecap.com website. The value of their presentation is that the Rams are shown to be ranked 11th out of 32 teams in terms of effective cap space. But also note that the team has just 51 players under contract for next season. That means that the front office will be seeking no less than 39 more players to sign to the roster.

It's not just how much cap space a team has to spend, but how many players the team must sign as well. NFL teams with 60+ players under contract for 2024 may be in a bitter situation, due to the fact that those teams are shopping for 10 fewer players than the Rams right now.

Think of it this way. Can you feed a family of 10 better on a $100 budget than a family of 3 on a $60 budget? If you look exclusively at the money available, you may conclude that the 10-member family will eat better. But if you break it down, the family of three can spend $20 per person, while the family of ten can only manage $10 per person.

The LA Rams are in a solid position to reform the roster this year without facing restrictive financial pressure. But this is by no means a blank check. The team must use an effective strategy this offseason to ensure the most bang for the buck.

Realistically speaking, the most expensive players are the first to be signed in free agency, but seldom are the best value. Stay tuned . .