The St. Louis Rams had money problems, sort of. With the 2013 NFL Draft less than a week away, the Rams had about a quarter of a million in cap space. They took care of that by restructuring defensive end Chris Long's contract, according to Jim Thomas of the Post-Dispatch.
Long had a base salary of $13.25 million this year under the terms of the contract extension he signed last summer. To make some more room under the cap for 2013, the Rams and Long agreed to convert $6 million of that to a roster bonus that gets pro-rated. The move creates $4.5 million in cap space this year. It's not a pay cut at all for Long, just moving the money around.
Restructuring deals in this fashion has become a fairly common practice. More than a few teams had to scramble to make similar moves ahead of free agency this year. The Rams made a trio of free agent moves that gobbled up most of the team's available cap space. Signing Jake Long, Jared Cook and re-signing William Hayes count around $10 million toward this year's cap. That's actually kind of bargain considering what free agent deals used to cost teams.
Teams need a pool of money to sign the rookies acquired in this year's draft. With two first-round picks, the Rams will need a little more room than usual.