How Did The Rams Fit 2 New QB's Under The Salary Cap?

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

In the wake of Sam Bradford's season-ending injury, the Rams signed QB's Brady Quinn and Austin Davis. With such little cap space available, how did the Rams manage to sign them and stay under the salary cap?

Most Rams fans are still in shock from the developments of the last few days. Losing Sam Bradford for the remainder of the season struck each of us in a different way, and on many emotional levels. We realize what his injury means to the team for the remainder of this season. We truly don't know what it might mean to Sam Bradford's career, and the future of the franchise. In the meantime, there are still 9 games to be played this season. As a professional sports organization, the Rams had to put emotion aside, and move swiftly, to remedy the situation as best they could. Within 48 hours of Sunday's game, the Rams signed 2 quarterbacks (Austin Davis and Brady Quinn) as backups for Kellen Clemens. Before Sam Bradford's injury, the Rams had $257,903 in Available Cap Space [the lowest in the league]. How did they manage to sign 2 quarterbacks so quickly, and remain under the cap?

Transactions in the last 48 hours:

  1. Sam Bradford was placed on Injured Reserve, effectively ending his season.
  2. Guard Brandon Washington was released.
  3. Wide Receiver C.J. Akins was released from Injured Reserve.
  4. Linebacker Jonathan Stewart was released from the practice squad.
  5. Quarterback Brady Quinn was signed and added to the 53 man roster.
  6. Quarterback Austin Davis was signed and added to the 53 man roster.
  7. Guard Brandon Washington was signed to the practice squad.

Placing Sam Bradford on Injured Reserve had no effect on the salary cap. His entire cap hit for 2013 [$12.595.000] counts against the salary cap, irrespective of his injury.

Brandon Washington's cap hit for 2013 was $484,484 [another one of those palindromic contracts the Rams are notorious for devising]. The Rams saved $284,990 [10/17 of his salary] in cap space with his release. The remainder [$199,494] becomes dead money in 2013.

Rookie UDFA C.J. Akins was placed on IR during the summer. His rookie IR-reduced contract was $288,000 for 2013. The Rams saved $169,412 [10/17 of his salary] in cap space with his release. The remainder [$118,588] becomes dead money in 2013.

After these transactions, the Rams available cap space stood at $712,305.

Austin Davis was signed to a one year contract, for the league minimum $480,000. This is a notional amount, as only 10/17 [the remainder of the season in weeks] is paid and counts against the salary cap [$282,352].

Brady Quinn was signed to a one year contract, for the league minimum $715,000. The Rams used the Minimum Salary Benefits provisions in the CBA to reduce the notional salary cap hit to $555,000. Only 10/17 of this is paid and actually counts against the salary cap [$326,470].

After signing the two quarterbacks, the Rams have $103,483 in available cap space remaining. The two quarterbacks replaced Bradford and Washington on the 53 man roster.

Jonathan Stewart was released to make room on the practice squad for Brandon Washington. Washington was signed to the practice squad on Wednesday. These transactions have no net effect on the salary cap.

As noted, the Rams' available cap space is extremely tight at present. They can ill-afford to incur any significant injuries for the remainder of the season. If this were to occur, the Rams would likely have to restructure contracts, or carry less than 53 players on the roster. Neither is an ideal situation. The Rams created additional cap space on the September 4 deadline [link]. One of the reasons for doing so was to create a contingency/reserve for the types of cap issues they are encountering at present. Let's hope they created enough cap space to get them through the season without any further complications.

It's time to cheer on Kellen Clemens, Brady Quinn, and Austin Davis. Let's pray for Sam Bradford's speedy recovery. It's also time to revel in watching the young Rams grow for the remainder of the season. As the Rams' front office proved in the last 48 hours - this season is far from over!

Source: NFLPA

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