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St. Louis Rams 2013 Individual Cap Hits And Available Cap Space: May 27, 2013 Off Season Update

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Since my last St. Louis Rams salary cap update on March 11, 2013, both the free agency signing period and the NFL draft have transpired. In addition, the NFL league office, in conjunction with the NFLPA, determined the adjusted salary cap figure for each team.

The Rams roster (and cap space situation) has undergone numerous changes since the opening of the free agency signing period. The Rams signed free agents Jake Long and Jared Cook. The Rams also re-signed seven of their own free agents: William Hayes, Chris Williams, Darian Stewart, Jermelle Cudjo, Kellen Clemens, Tim Barnes and Mike McNeill. Some familiar names have departed from the Rams via free agency, most notably Steven Jackson, Danny Amendola, Robert Turner and Brandon Gibson. To create additional cap space, the Rams restructured Chris Long's contract. In order to keep track of the changes, I regularly update the players on the Rams roster and depth chart. As of May 27, the Rams have the full off season complement of 90 players on the roster. The first chart contains all of the players previously under contract, 2013 free agent signings and the 2013 draft class. The second chart contains the 30 players signed as UDFA's after the draft.

C Scott Wells Tim Barnes
RG Harvey Dahl Shelley Smith Brandon Washington
LG Barrett Jones Rokevious Watkins
RT Rodger Saffold Chris Williams Ty Nsekhe
LT Jake Long Joe Barksdale
TE Lance Kendricks Cory Harkey Cameron Graham
TE Jared Cook Mike McNeill Zach Potter
WR Tavon Austin Stedman Bailey
WR Chris Givens Austin Pettis
WR Brian Quick Raymond Radway Nick Johnson
RB Zac Stacy Terrance Ganaway Chase Reynolds
RB Isaiah Pead Daryl Richardson
QB Sam Bradford Austin Davis Kellen Clemens
Pk Greg Zuerlein
P John Hekker
LS Jake McQuaide
DT Michael Brockers Matt Conrath
DT Kendall Langford Jermelle Cudjo
DE Chris Long Eugene Sims Mason Brodine
DE Robert Quinn William Hayes
MLB James Laurinaitis Josh Hull
SLB Jo-Lonn Dunbar Jabara Williams
WLB Alec Ogletree Sammy Brown
CB Cortland Finnegan Brandon McGee Quinton Pointer
CB Janoris Jenkins Trumaine Johnson
FS Darian Stewart Rodney McLeod
SS T.J. McDonald Matthew Daniels
60 Players

UDFA Signings 30
Player Position School
Braden Brown OT BYU
Philip Lutzenkirchen TE Auburn
Brett Baer K Louisiana-Lafayette
Terrell Brown OT Mississippi
Philip Steward LB Houston
Don Unamba S Southern Arkansas
Andrew Helmick WR Lindenwood
Scott Pillar WR Albright College
Jonathan Stewart ILB Texas A & M
Sean Hooey OT Cincinnati
Emory Blake WR Auburn
Andre Martin CB North Dakota St.
Joseph LeBeau LB Jackson State
Tim Jenkins QB Fort Lewis College
CJ Akins WR Angelo State
Drew Thomas CB UTEP
RJ Washington DE Oklahoma
Jorgen Hus LS University of Regina
Cannon Smith SS Memphis
Daren Bates LB Auburn
Ray Ray Armstrong SS Miami
Garrett Goebel DT Ohio State
Robert Steeples CB Memphis
Cody Davis S Texas Tech
Gerald Rivers DE Mississippi
Darren Woodard CB UTEP
Al Lapuaho DT Utah State
Kevin Saia G Louisiana Tech
Eric Stevens FB California
Benny Cunningham RB Middle Tennessee St.

This update presents the current off season cap space situation and expands on some of the concepts presented in earlier updates:

1. Terminology.

2. The off season roster and salary cap implications.

3. The cost of signing the rookie class.

4. The amount of cap space needed in reserve.

5. The restructuring of Chris Long's contract.

St. Louis Rams 2013 Individual Cap Hits and Available Cap Space

Player Position Base Salary Signing Bonus Other Bonus Cap Figure
Cortland Finnegan CB 9,000,000 1,000,000 5,000,000 15,000,000
Sam Bradford QB 9,000,000 3,594,800 200 12,595,000
James Laurinaitis LB 1,000,000 400,000 11,000,000 12,400,000
Chris Long DE 7,250,000 1,500,000 8,750,000
Scott Wells C 5,500,000 1,000,000 6,500,000
Kendall Langford DT 5,000,000 1,000,000 6,000,000
Jake Long LT 3,000,000 1,250,000 4,250,000
Jared Cook TE 3,000,000 1,000,000 4,000,000
Harvey Dahl G 4,000,000 4,000,000
Robert Quinn DE 1,232,829 1,340,646 2,573,475
Michael Brockers DT 822,818 1,341,272 2,164,090
William Hayes DE 800,000 1,250,000 2,050,000
JoLonn Dunbar LB 1,300,000 500,000 1,800,000
Rodger Saffold T 655,000 580,000 225,000 1,460,000
Chris Williams OL 925,000 451,154 1,376,154
Eugene Sims DE 1,201,021 25,825 141 1,226,987
Brian Quick WR 634,845 589,250 1,224,095
Lance Kendricks TE 759,118 393,437 1,152,555
Janoris Jenkins CB 480,000 517,331 136,382 1,133,713
Darian Stewart S 700,000 300,000 1,000,000
Isaiah Pead RB 573,550 344,200 917,750
Austin Pettis WR 580,000 153,604 733,604
Jermelle Cudjo DT 555,000 175,000 730,000
Trumaine Johnson CB 499,000 167,794 30,000 696,794
Josh Hull LB 630,000 8,889 638,889
Zach Potter TE 630,000 630,000
Shelley Smith G 630,000 630,000
Chris Givens WR 480,000 124,257 604,257
Kellen Clemens QB 840,000 30,000 -285,000 585,000
Jake McQuaide LS 555,000 833 555,833
Mike McNeill TE 555,000 555,000
Joe Barksdale T 555,000 555,000
Greg Zuerlein PK 480,000 32,205 512,205
Daryl Richardson RB 480,000 11,474 491,474
Brandon Washington G 484,484 484,484
John Hekker P 480,000 3,333 483,333
Matt Daniels S 480,000 3,333 483,333
Matt Conrath DT 480,000 2,000 482,000
Rodney McLeod S 480,000 1,333 481,333
Mason Brodine DE 480,000 480,000
Ty Nsekhe T 480,000 480,000
Tim Barnes C 480,000 480,000
Sammy Brown LB 480,000 480,000
Cory Harkey TE 480,000 480,000
Jabara Williams LB 480,000 480,000
Terrance Ganaway RB 480,000 480,000
Austin Davis QB 480,000 480,000
Quinton Pointer CB 480,000 480,000
Rokevious Watkins G 405,000 47,825 452,825
Braden Brown OT 405,000 5,000 410,000
Cody Davis S 405,000 5,000 410,000
Jonathan Stewart LB 405,000 3,333 408,333
Philip Steward LB 405,000 3,333 408,333
Benny Cunningham RB 405,000 3,333 408,333
Eric Stevens FB 405,000 1,666 406,666
Philip Lutzenkirchen TE 405,000 1,033 406,033
Darren Woodard CB 405,000 666 405,666
C.J. Akins WR 405,000 666 405,666
Gerald Rivers DE 405,000 666 405,666
Cannon Smith S 405,000 333 405,333
Robert Steeples CB 405,000 166 405,166
Raymond Radway WR 405,000 405,000
Cameron Graham TE 405,000 405,000
Chase Reynolds RB 405,000 405,000
Nick Johnson WR 405,000 405,000
Brett Baer K 405,000 405,000
Don Unamba CB 405,000 405,000
R.J. Washington DE 405,000 405,000
Andrew Helmick WR 405,000 405,000
Emory Blake WR 405,000 405,000
Daren Bates LB 405,000 405,000
Jorgen Hus LS 405,000 405,000
Ray-Ray Armstrong LB 405,000 405,000
Tim Jenkins QB 405,000 405,000
Joseph LeBeau LB 405,000 405,000
Kevin Saia G 405,000 405,000
Al Lapuaho DT 405,000 405,000
Andre Martin CB 405,000 405,000
Terrell Brown OT 405,000 405,000
Scott Pillar WR 405,000 405,000
Drew Thomas CB 405,000 405,000
Sean Hooey OT 405,000 405,000
Garrett Goebel DT 405,000 405,000
Tavon Austin WR
Alec Ogletree LB
T.J. McDonald S
Stedman Bailey WR
Barrett Jones OL
Brandon McGee CB
Zac Stacy RB
Dead Money
Quintin Mikell S 6,000,000 6,000,000
Jason Smith T 4,022,000 4,022,000
Miscellaneous 10 Players 1,122,450 1,122,450
Summary
Active Contracts 83 120,474,378
Top 51 Contracts 107,499,183
Dead Money 11,144,450
2013 Total Cap Hits Off Season 118,643,633
2013 Unadjusted Salary Cap 123,000,000
2013 Available Cap Rollover 247,347
2013 Accrued Workout Bonuses 504,000
2013 Prior Year Adjustment 577,010
2013 Adjusted Team Salary Cap 122,166,337
Minimum Salary Benefits 900,000 -285,000 615,000
Available Cap Space 3,522,704
(Off Season)

Terminology

Minimum Salary Benefits: The base, unadjusted salary cap for all 32 teams is 123 million for 2013. In addition, each team has 900,000 in Minimum Salary Benefits available to them. This allows a team to sign a veteran player for the league minimum, based on that players years of experience, and reduce the cap hit to that of the league minimum for a player with two years experience.When the Rams re-signed QB Kellen Clemens, they used the MSB provisions to reduce the cap hit on his contract. Clemens was signed to the league minimum for players with 8 years experience (840,000). The cap hit was reduced by 285,000 to that of the league minimum for a player with two years experience (555,000).

Dead Money: Is a salary cap charge for a player that is no longer on the teams roster. The dead money is comprised of guaranteed monies and/or pro-rated signing, roster or other bonuses.

Unadjusted salary cap: Is the base salary cap amount (123 million in 2013) for each of the 32 NFL teams.

Available cap rollover: Is the amount of unused cap space from the previous year that is allowed to be carried forward and used in the current year.

Accrued workout bonuses: Are monies charged by the NFL to teams that reduce available cap space:

"...all players will earn $175 a day for each day they participate in 2013. That per day number changes every other year, with the next increase slated for 2015. The NFL charges each team at the start of the 2013 league year a cap fee of $504,000 for minimum workouts on top of the contracted bonuses, so any reported cap space number between now and the start of the regular season needs to be reduced by $504,000. At the end of the workout period teams have their salary cap credited for money that was not earned."

Prior year salary cap adjustment: These adjustments take into account incentives and performance bonuses earned in the previous year. They are charged against available cap space in the current year.

Adjusted team salary cap: Is the actual salary cap (after adjustments) for a particular team in the current league year. Each team will have a different figure for cap purposes. For 2013, the Rams Adjusted Team Salary Cap equals the base salary cap (123 million), plus the carry-forward from 2012 (247,347), less the prior year and accrued workout bonus adjustments (577,010 and 504,000). The 2013 adjusted salary cap for the Rams is 122,166,337.

Available cap space (off season): Is the amount of cap space remaining once the top 51 contracts and dead money is subtracted from the 2013 adjusted salary cap. Currently, this figure is 3,522,704 (122,166,337 minus 118,643,633).

Signing the rookie draftees

The current rookie wage scale was implemented with the new CBA signed in 2011. In essence, the rookie wage scale represents a rookie salary cap within the main salary cap. As of this writing, none of the rookies drafted by the Rams this year have been signed to a contract. The chart below is an estimate of the cap hit for each of the seven players drafted by the Rams in 2013:


Player Round/Pick 2013 Cap Hit
Tavon Austin 1.08 2,318,364
Alec Ogletree 1.30 1,278,188
T.J. McDonald 3.09 567,000
Stedman Bailey 3.30 536,850
Barrett Jones 4.16 516,300
Brandon McGee 5.16 452,790
Zac Stacy 5.27 449,125
Total Cap Hits 6,118,617
Roster Cuts 2,835,000
Net Cap Cost 3,283,617

The 2013 cap hit figures for each player includes their base salaries and any applicable bonuses. The net cap cost of signing the rookies is determined by totaling the individual cap hits, then subtracting the contracts of players they will replace on the roster (presumably 7 players at the league minimum $405,000). The net cap cost will reduce the overall available team cap space by $3,283,617 once the the 7 drafted rookies have been signed.

Chris Long's contract restructuring

Chris Long signed an extension with the Rams in 2012 for 5 years/60.310 million. To free up much needed cap space, his contract was restructured on April 23, 2013. The Rams converted 6 million of Long's 13.25 million base salary for the 2013 season into a pro-rated roster bonus. Long still receives the same amount of money as originally scheduled. The restructure is an accounting move for cap purposes only. The conversion of the 6 million in base salary to a roster bonus allowed the Rams to pro-rate the 6 million in equal installments over the remaining years of the contract (4 x 1.5 million). Instead of counting 13.25 million against the salary cap in 2013, Long's contract now counts only 8.75 million against the salary cap for 2013 (freeing up 4.5 million in cap space). The accompanying chart presents Long's entire contract, before and after the restructure.

Original Contract
Year Base Signing Bonus Roster Bonus Cap Hit
2012 10,310,000 8,247,500 18,557,500
2013 13,250.00 13,250,000
2014 13,200,000 13,200,000
2015 8,000,000 2,000,000 10,000,000
2016 9,750,000 2,000,000 11,750,000
Restructured
2012 10,310,000 8,247,500 18,557,500
2013 7,250,000 1,500,000 8,750,000
2014 13,200,000 1,500,000 14,700,000
2015 8,000,000 3,500,000 11,500,000
2016 9,750,000 3,500,000 13,250,000

The off season roster and salary cap implications

Beginning in 2012, the NFL increased the off season roster limit to 90 players. As of May 27, 2013 the Rams are at that limit. All 32 NFL teams must remain under their adjusted salary cap throughout the year, including the off season (when the roster increases to 90 players). However, during the off season, only the top 51 cap hits and outstanding dead money count against the salary cap. Before the season begins, rosters are reduced to the 53 man limit. At that time, all 53 contracts and outstanding dead money are counted against the salary cap. Of the 90 players currently on the roster, 83 have been signed to a contract. The seven players drafted by the Rams in 2013 have not been signed to contracts as of this writing.

Salary cap reserve

At the beginning of the NFL season, each team must have approximately 2 million in available cap space. This contingency or "reserve" is necessary in the event that a team needs to sign additional players during the season, to compensate for players placed on injured reserve. The Rams s also must pay for practice squad players (8) when the season begins. These minimal salaries will also count against the salary cap.

Observations and conclusions

I have revised my methodology for producing these updates. Although sites such as Rotoworld, OvertheCap and Spotrac provide valuable information regarding contracts, they are unreliable in determining actual cap space figures. Many media types, such as Jim Thomas and Howard Balzer, also provide insight into the Rams contracts and cap space situation; however, not in a detailed fashion. To make these updates as accurate as possible, I now use the Top 51 League Cap Report (provided daily by the NFLPA) as a starting point. The report provides the available cap space figure for each of the NFL's 32 teams. I then work backwards through the individual contracts, cap hits and adjustments to come up with a figure that matches the one provided by the NFLPA.

The Rams current available cap space is 3,522,704. Is this enough to sign the rookies, add two additional contracts (to count 53 contracts instead of 51) by the beginning of the season, and have a season opening cap space reserve? The chart below breaks out the remaining cap space requirements necessary before the start of the regular season.

Item Cap Space Required
Roster from 51 to 53 810,000
Season opening reserve 2,000,000
Signing 7 rookies 3,283,617
Total required 6,093,617
Less available cap space 3,522,704
Cap space to be created 2,570,913

The Rams will need to create 2.6 million in cap space before the beginning of the regular season. This can be accomplished through a number of different measures: roster cuts, minor restructuring of existing contract(s), and rookie contract structuring. Although the Rams have a relatively tight cap space situation at present, it is manageable and they should have little trouble in meeting their requirements before the season begins. It will not be necessary to resort to any drastic measures to create cap space. Conversely, the Rams will likely not be adding any players with contracts that are much above the league minimums. These assertions should be kept in mind when contemplating the Rams re-signing a player such as Quintin Mikell.

Your comments and opinions are welcomed and appreciated. The dog days of summer are almost upon us!

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