St. Louis Rams roster 2013: Spending priorities

USA TODAY Sports

What can we learn by looking at the Rams payroll? Quite a lot.

Earlier this week, the Guardian released an interactive spreadsheet showing the money each NFL spent on each position. These do not show the total cap spending of each team, it simply shows the money they paid to each player currently on the roster. The cap is $120 million, but you will see that 9 teams spent over that amount.

The Rams spent the third least in the NFL at $94.6 million, but of course that number will go up next year with Chris Long's and James Laurinaitis' new contracts taking effect.

The low number spent by the Rams speaks to two main things:

1. The Rams do not have many elite players.

2. The Rams have many young players.

These are facts we all know, but the data quantifies the point.

Here's a chart comparing the Rams spending to that of the rest of the league. All numbers are rounded to a tenth of a million. Also for defensive end, defensive tackle, and linebacker, I only compared the Rams to the other twenty 4-3 teams to allow for a more accurate reading of how the Rams value certain positions. 3-4 teams spend much more on linebackers than 4-3 teams, but 4-3 teams spend much more on the defensive line. Pass rushers are at a premium, so of course they will be paid the most. This makes comparing how a 3-4 team spends on linebackers to a 4-3 team more difficult.

Position Average (In Millions) Rams Difference
Total 111.2 94.6 -16.6
Offense 62.6 42.3 -20.3
Defense 52.3 51.1 -1.2
QB 9.7 16.5 +6.8
RB 8.2 10.4 +2.2
WR 11.7 7.6 -4.1
TE 5.6 2.5 -3.1
O-Line 18.1 14 -4.1
DE (4-3) 12.8 (League wide: 11.8) 15.1 +2.3
DT (4-3) 10.2 (League wide: 7.9) 6.4 -3.8
LB (4-3) 12.3 (League wide: 15.4) 5.2 -7.1
CB 11.6 9.1 -2.5
S 7.2 6.5 -0.7

Some of the major things to take note of are....

  1. The Rams spent way less than the league average, but keep in mind this number doesn't reflect the true cap number. What this does tell us is the Rams are not overloaded with huge contracts, which is a good thing for a rebuilding team.
  2. Damn does Sam Bradford get paid or what? The Rams spent the third most in the league on QB, and Sam was the third highest paid QB behind Peyton Manning and Phillip Rivers. This is the one area that frustrates many fans. He is paid like an elite QB, but so far the Rams offense has been below average in the Bradford era. Not all of this is his fault of course as the offense lacks talent and depth at key positions. If the Rams want to improve the rest of the offense and keep key players, Sam's contract could become a problem.
  3. Why did the Rams renegotiate with Steven Jackson, allowing him to opt out of his contract? Simple, the Rams are overpaying at the RB position right now. It is the only other position on offense that the Rams spend above average on, but the play at RB did not match the investment. I love Steven Jackson and hope he is a Ram next year, just not at his current price.
  4. The defense has more talent than the offense. We all knew this, but the numbers show that the defense is paid much better than the offense. That isn't the case league wide. The system isn't perfect, but the best players get paid the most money. The Rams simply do not have any great players on offense.
  5. The Rams got great value out of the linebacker position in 2012, but that won't be the case next year with James Lauriniatis' new deal coming into play next year.
  6. The Rams are about average with what they spend on safeties, but they start Craig Dahl.
  7. The Rams did in fact spend well below average in 2012, but that won't be the case in the near future. Danny Amendola, if the Rams resign him, will receive a raise. The kind rookie contracts of Robert Quinn, Michael Brockers and Chris Givens won't last forever, and presumably, Les Snead will be drafting players who deserve larger contracts down the road.

What shocked you about how the Rams spend their money? Have it out in the comments.

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