The Rams Salary Cap Dilemma: Decisions, Decisions, Decisions



Yesterday Brandon Birkhead posted an excellent article about the Rams and how they spend their money. It became more of a discussion about Sam Bradford than about the numbers and facts that he had presented.

This post presents nothing more than the numbers behind the numbers in his article (and a few more). It makes no attempt to give answers nor to look for causes. What it does reveal are the dilemmas facing the Rams this off season with respect to the roster and money and how many difficult decisions will need to be made. The post also lists the various decisions that can be made.

Listed below are the ten most expensive cap hits for 2013 (in millions):

Cortland Finnegan - 15.0

Chris Long - 14.46

Sam Bradford - 12.595

James Laurinaitis - 12.4

Quintin Mikell - 9.0

Steven Jackson - 7.0

Kendall Langford - 6.0

Scott Wells - 4.5

Harvey Dahl - 4.0

Wayne Hunter - 4.0

The total of these ten contracts is 88.955 million, which represents 74% of the total estimated salary cap for 2013 (121 million).

Currently the Rams have 48 players under contract (including the just added Titus Young). Those 48 contracts (and any dead money that counts against the cap) total 119 million (rounded up). That leaves us with 2 million in available cap space at this point in time.

Given that the roster is 53 players and the practice squad is 8 players (61 in total), we are currently 13 players short of 61. The reason for this is we have 18 players from last years team who are UFA's, RFA's and EFA's, the most prominent of those being Danny Amendola and William Hayes. Those roster totals appear to not add up; however, they do when you add in the four players that ended the season on IR and Titus Young.

In its simplest form the dilemma is this: too few players and not enough money.

How do the Rams solve this dilemma??

Listed below are the possible solutions:

1/ The upcoming draft (and UDFA's) will add players to the roster. Remember though that they all must be signed to a contract, which costs money against the cap for 2013 (the figure for the rookies drafted in 2012 was 6.68 million).

2/The Rams can re-sign FA's from their own team, such as Amendola and Hayes.

3/The Rams can sign free agents that are available from other teams.

4/The Rams can attempt to restructure some of the contracts that were listed earlier in this post, with the intent of freeing up cap space. Keep in mind that doing this can affect future cap space and that restructuring a contract is very difficult to do, is complex and can have a negative effect on future signings of free agents from other teams.

5/They can cut players from the roster to free up cap space. Do remember though that bonuses due in 2013 will count against the cap, irrespective of the fact that the player was cut. And every player you cut adds to the 13 players we are short.

What would YOU do? Who would you sign? Who would you re-sign? Who would you cut? Who's contract would you try to restructure?

Your thoughts and comments are always welcome.

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