The St. Louis Rams signed tight end Jared Cook to a hefty contract that makes him the third-highest paid tight end in the NFL based on his average annual salary. Cook got $19 million guaranteed on a five-year deal worth $35 million overall (though there are reports that the deal is worth $38 million). However, Cook's contract has a minimal impact on the team's salary cap this year.
For those capologists in Rams Nation, TE Jared Cook's contract counts $4 million against the salary cap in 2013.— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) March 13, 2013
First, look at JT stepping up his social media game, breaking down the third wall there with a shout out to "Rams Nation."
Second, that's a pretty good deal for the Rams, one that might allow them to make a few more moves this year, like maybe signing Jake Long and/or Louis Delmas in free agency.
It also means that the money has to go somewhere else, pushed further down the road of Cook's contract. The risk in that is mitigated to some extent because Cook is young; he turns 26 in April. The Rams have him locked up through the prime producing years of his career.
Something else to think about is the cap boost expected to come in 2015 when the new, very rich television contracts figure into the league's revenue. The folks at 345 Park Ave. are downplaying the impact that money will have on the cap; the players union is more optimistic, and probably closer to right on this one. Teams will have a bigger cap to work with at that point, and a deal like Cook's will be far less onerous than it would be if the cap was only inching up at a percentage point or two every year.