Will the LA Rams re-sign any of their own free agents?

Les Snead
Les Snead / Michael Tullberg/GettyImages

If you have not been keeping score, the LA Rams are parting ways with their veterans. While this is all happening in the days leading up to the new 2023 NFL season, disguised as an effort to clear salary cap space, the numbers do not add up. Right now, the Rams have already outright released ILB Bobby Wagner as a Post June 1-designation. But the team did not stop there, as there are more and more NFL rumors about the Rams willingness to trade DB Jalen Ramsey, WR Allen Robinson, and OLB Leonard Floyd. More than that, if no trade partner is found, the Rams will outright release Robinson and Floyd.

Okay, that will surely save the LA Rams a lot of money, right? Well, not exactly. Per Over the Cap.com, the LA Rams appear to be over ($17 million) the 2023 NFL salary cap. Releasing Bobby Wagner (savings of $8 million), Leonard Floyd (savings of $3 million), and trading Jalen Ramsey (savings of $5.6 million). If you do the math, the Rams still come up short. But what about Allen Robinson? Well, if no trade partner is found, the Rams swallow a huge hit to their salary cap, to the tune of hitting the 2023 salary cap with an additional $8.6 million hit. The only way to avoid that is to structure the release of Robinson as a Post June 1-designated release. But even doing that makes it a net-neutral move.

The team can only use the Post June 1 designation twice in one season.

Rams may be on a tight budget

In the past, the LA Rams have restructured contracts to free up salary cap space. It has been the highly compensated players who have been sought out to agree to that, which is nothing more than changing the category of the money paid to the player in that year. Right now, of the LA Rams Top-10 paid players, four are likely to be traded or released, so don't look for savings from them in a restructure.

That means that restructuring contracts is likely reserved for WR Cooper Kupp, DL Aaron Donald, and QB Matthew Stafford. That is not to say that the LA Rams cannot get under the salary cap by 1:00 pm PT on March 15, 2023. They most certainly can. But it means that the LA Rams will not have a great deal of available funds to use to sign players when the NFL Free Agency market opens for business.

Will there be a silver lining to the LA Rams paring down veterans from the team's roster? Perhaps. But I caution anyone who is looking for the Rams to suddenly find enough money to sign some of the NFL's top free agents this year. And the numbers are looking less and less likely that this team can even re-sign any by the most inexpensive team-friendly players to new contracts.

Rams may be aiming for 2024, folks

To rationalize the extent of the Rams roster purge, I have seen some argue that the Rams will make it all better by crushing it in free agency. I'm not so sure that is the case, and have seen no evidence to that taking place. Rather, the goal appears to be aiming at stripping the Rams roster of excesses in 2023, and setting up the team for a new go at an NFL Championship in 2024.

What that means is that the LA Rams may not have extending players like NT Greg Gaines, DE A'Shawn Robinson, PK Matt Gay, or even QB Baker Mayfield in their budget. Only Exclusive Rights Free Agents seem to be likely extensions, which includes OLB Michael Hoecht, ILB Christian Rozeboom, CB Shaun Jolly, QB Bryce Perkins, DT Marquise Copeland, ILB/DB Jake Gervase, and ILB Travin Howard.

HOT. These 5 NFL teams need to contact LA Rams about trading for OLB Leonard Floyd pronto. dark

So far, the Rams appear to be loading up for a multi-year approach. While nobody can know what the team truly intends to do this off-season, we can all temper our expectations for a sudden flash of spending spree in the NFL Free Agency market. No sense in building hopes up too high in uncertain times.