Rams roster will need Brink's truck to afford extensions for future stars

Kyren Williams, Kaylee Hartung, Puka Nacua,  Los Angeles Rams
Kyren Williams, Kaylee Hartung, Puka Nacua, Los Angeles Rams / Cooper Neill/GettyImages
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Rams really have a fun math problem in the future

Per Over the Cap.com, the Rams have 50 players under contract in 2026, and just $34 million in available cap space. Of course, the front office has been in much tighter situations than that. But by the time 2026 rolls in, the team will need to have a plan for a starting quarterback to take over for Matthew Stafford. And, of course, 16 of those players projected to be on the roster in 2026 are in fact 2024 undrafted rookie signings.

So this could become a rather tight squeeze for the team. Or, could it be an optical illusion?

It's probably a little bit of both. As we have learned about this team's front office, there is a willingness to churn the roster to ensure a healthy distribution of highly-compensated players who mentor and lead the team, and a small army of young and relatively inexpensive players who keep the team under the annual salary cap. Both Kyren Williams and Puka Nacua are members of the latter group, for now.

But the current success in the NFL Draft does have a hidden cost to pay in the future. If the Rams 2023 and 2024 rookie draft classes perform as or in excess of expectations, then the team will run out of freed up funds long before extending all worthy veterans. That's when it becomes a curse of riches.

How will the team resolve limited funds to pay too numerous stars? As they always have done. It has been the fact that the annual NFL salary cap is finite that has forced this team to withhold market value extensions for players who fans truly appreciated, like DB John Johnson, NT Greg Gaines, DE Morgan Fox, NT Sebastian Joseph-Day, ILB Cory Littleton, and more.

It was the team's ability to draft, coach up, and distribute NFL starters via the free agency market that boosted the number of draft picks to sustain that process. But has something changed?