If there is a salary cap in 2010, the Rams will be approximately 35m under the salary, which would be the third most room under the cap in the NFL. There has been some pain this year, but the salary cap should not be the driving force behind any personnel decisions moving forward. This year, we were forced to create a dollar of salary cap room for every dollar of salary cap room spent. That meant making difficult decisions with some talented players, but we made the decisions that we thought were best for the long-term future of this organization.
Though I don't believe there will be a cap, having $35 million worth of space under the cap is great news. It means that the Rams can really make some strides to fill the big holes on the roster, without having to choose between one position at the expense of the other in the draft. Of course, if it is an upcapped year that means...
However, if 2010 is uncapped, there will be a limited free agent pool consisting of players with 6 years or more of experience. That will make it harder to sign young, talented players in free agency, the type of player every team wants in free agency. As a result, in an uncapped year, the draft will be paramount, which is one of the reasons we are trying to stockpile picks in the 2010 draft.
I don't know what his definition of stockpiling is, but so far the Rams have added a 5th round pick from the Eagles in the Witherspoon trade and a 7th round pick from the Falcons in the Tye Hill trade. Those could be packaged to move up in other rounds, of course. I don't know that they'll have much in the way of compensatory picks, since they really didn't lose many free agents of note.
Which players are up for free agency this year? It depends on the cap situation. Here's the list from Demoff:
...eight players...[that] would normally be Unrestricted Free Agents in 2010 who will be Restricted Free Agents in 2010 if there is no salary cap. Those players are as follows: Victor Adeyanju, OJ Atogwe, Alex Barron, Samkon Gado, Gary Gibson, Richie Incognito, Ruvell Martin, Mark Setterstrom. We would have the right to "tender" all of those players as RFA's. There are 6 players who will be UFA's no matter what the cap situation is: Kyle Boller, James Hall, Paris Lenon, Leonard Little, Chris Massey, Randy McMichael.
We'll talk plenty more about these guys down the road. For now, I'd say you can count on the Rams making an effort to hang onto Atogwe, Gibson, Incognito, Setterstrom, and some combination of Hall and Little. Those last two guys will surely be considering retirement, though they could still be useful as part timers.
The highlight of the chat...a TST shout out from Demoff. Check it out:
I couldn't let the good guys at TurfShowTimes go unrewarded for their drive to send in questions for this chat.
Hell yeah! Anyway, he answered our question about re-signing Atogwe, and it sounds like the team plans to keep him in the picture for the future.
Alright, go read the whole thing. It's pretty informative.