Salary Cap looking ahead 2015-2016

In my previous article Bdubs struck up a brief conversation about the future salary cap. I had planned on writing a long winded reply, but found it would make a better article since im going to have to copy/paste a few things XD. By looking at our future, maybe we can get a better idea about the present and even more specifically - the draft.

So lets begin with some good news: our players are much better than in the past. And the bad news: our plays are much better than in the past. Am i the only one noticing other teams grabbing our below-average FAs and paying them decent money? Imagine what teams are willing to pay for our "solid" players... let alone our Stars. Expect the overpaying of Rams players to continue for the next couple years. Which means that if we want to keep our FAs, we are going to have to pay them.

2015: Lets look ahead to next offseason!

Robert Quinn DE UFA STL TBD 23 $3,002,390
Shaun Hill QB UFA STL TBD 34 $1,750,000
Austin Pettis WR UFA STL TBD 25 $1,575,567
Alex Carrington DE UFA STL TBD 26 $1,500,000
Kenny Britt WR UFA STL TBD 25 $1,375,000
Lance Kendricks TE UFA STL TBD 26 $1,344,614
Jermelle Cudjo DT UFA STL TBD 27 $1,075,000
Joe Barksdale RT, T UFA STL TBD 25 $645,000
Michael Person RT, T UFA STL TBD 25 $645,000
Matt Daniels S RFA STL TBD 24 $573,333
Johnny Hekker P RFA STL TBD 24 $573,333
Matt Conrath DT RFA SD TBD 24 $572,000
Rodney McLeod S RFA STL TBD 23 $571,333
Tim Barnes C RFA STL TBD 25 $570,000
Austin Davis QB RFA STL TBD 24 $570,000
Cory Harkey TE ERFA STL TBD 23 $570,000
Sammy Brown DE UFA STL TBD 23 $495,000
Chase Reynolds RB ERFA STL TBD 26 $495,000
Justin Veltung WR ERFA STL TBD 23 $495,000
Brandon Washington G ERFA STL TBD 25 $495,000
Todd Anderson FB RFA STL TBD 25
Calvin Middleton RB RFA STL TBD 23

Robert Quinn has a team option in 2015 that you bet your bottom dollar that the Rams will exercise. Do you notice a trend with these FAs? Yea.. they were cheap before we had to resign them. My personal "Resignables" from this group is: Joe Barksdale, Jonny Hecker, Rodney McLeod, and Lance Kendricks.

I believe Joe Barksdale is going to surprise some people this year. And by the time this season is over, he will be at least a "solid" RT. Which is what other teams are more than willing to throw money at. Expect a 4y/23m dollar deal for Barksdale next offseason. Jonny Hecker will demand a 3y/11m dollar contract since he is pro bowler and i have no reason to doubt he can do it again. If Kendricks and McLeod do not come cheap, expect them to be let go.

2015 FA Recap: Expect us to spend around 9 million to retain our FAs next year. Because of the salary cap bump, we should not have to cut anyone.

The next year wont be as easy.

2016: Truth or Dare

Sam Bradford QB UFA STL TBD 26 $16,580,000
Kendall Langford DT UFA STL TBD 28 $7,000,000
Scott Wells C UFA STL TBD 33 $6,500,000
William Hayes DE UFA STL TBD 28 $4,355,000
Michael Brockers DT UFA STL TBD 23 $3,029,727
Eugene Sims DE UFA STL TBD 28 $2,016,685
Brian Quick WR UFA STL TBD 24 $1,713,918
Janoris Jenkins CB UFA STL TBD 25 $1,587,829
Isaiah Pead RB UFA STL TBD 24 $1,284,850
JoLonn Dunbar OLB, LB UFA STL TBD 29 $1,125,520
Trumaine Johnson CB UFA STL TBD 24 $962,294
Chris Givens WR UFA STL TBD 24 $784,257
Greg Zuerlein K UFA STL TBD 26 $723,307
Daryl Richardson RB UFA STL TBD 23 $671,474
Benny Cunningham RB RFA STL TBD 23 $588,334
Philip Steward OLB, LB RFA STL TBD 23 $588,334
Ray-Ray Armstrong OLB, LB RFA STL TBD 24 $585,000
Daren Bates ILB, LB RFA STL TBD 23 $585,000
Mason Brodine DE RFA STL TBD 26 $585,000
Cody Davis S RFA STL TBD 24 $585,000
Graham Pocic RT, T RFA STL TBD 24 $585,000
Emory Blake WR ERFA STL TBD 22 $510,000
Justice Cunningham TE ERFA STL TBD 23 $510,000
Sean Hooey RT, T ERFA STL TBD 23 $510,000
Caleb McSurdy ILB, LB UFA STL TBD 24 $510,000
Darren Woodard CB ERFA STL TBD 24 $510,000

Lets make a couple assumptions before we start: Firstly lets assume that Bradford becomes a Pro Bowler. I expect him to get a similar contract to what his rookie contract was. Lots of guaranteed money, and a similar cap hit.

The second assumption is Kendal Langford, William Hayes, Scott Wells, Eugene Sims, and Dunbar wont be resigned due to age.

Lastly, im assuming that Ray Ray will have a starting role in 2015. His potential tickles my funny bone :)

My "Resignables" from the group are as follows: Ray-Ray Armstrong, Greg Zuerline, Trumaine Johnson, Janoris Jenkins, Chris Givens, and Michael Brockers. Dont forget about ROBERT QUINN. His payday is due with these gentlemen. With the approximate 10m increase in the salary cap for the season + 17m from not resigning the oldies listed above; that leaves us with 27 million dollars to play with.

Because i cannot predict the future (iknowright) im going to take the middle road on these FAs development and say that they are all solid starters. So lets crunch some numbers!

Ray-Ray Armstrong's contract: 5y/20m

Greg Zuerline's contract: 5y/16m

Trumaine Johnson's contract: 4y/20m

Janoris Jenkins contract: 4y/24m

Chris Givens contract: 3y/15m

Michael Brockers contract: 5y/35m

30 million dollars yearly (on average) to resign these FAs. And since we would have 27m to play with, then we almost resign everyone... but there is a BIG problem. Robert Quinn isnt on the resign list. How much would a contract like Quinn's look like?

Assuming he becomes the richest DE ever (and if he plays the next 2 years like last year... he will be) his contract will be 5y/80m. Yikes. In my opinion, Robert is the next face of our Franchise. No way we will let him go. His average yearly salary would be 16m dollars. That leaves us with 11 million to resign the players listed above.

I go into detail about an unpopular salary cap move that would help us tremendously. You can read it here:

By cutting Chris Long, we gain another 13 million dollars in cap space bringing our total to 24 million dollars. Which means we can sign everyone but one. Since we are 6m short and Jenkins contract would be ~6m per year.. that seems like a likely candidate. Or maybe Ray Ray doesnt materialize at all and we go the next few years with 2 starting linebackers :).

In conclusion i said ALL OF THAT to say this: drafting Clowney will make our resigning process in 2016 much easier. Cutting Chris Long is only option; and he will be getting up there in years. I love the man, but the NFL is a business. Picking up Dix with #13 pick seems like a good choice with linemen in the 2nd-3rd round. That scenario fits with our future cap space.

Anyways, i hope you guys enjoyed the read. I look forward to talk to you gents in the comments!

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