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2016 Los Angeles Rams: Post-Free Agency Salary Cap Update

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The Los Angeles Rams headed into the offseason with plenty of work to do and many difficult personnel/financial decisions to make. Now that the bulk of Free Agency is completed, how have the Rams fared?

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams headed into the offseason with plenty of work to do and many difficult personnel/financial decisions to make. As the last 5 weeks have unfolded, it's become evident the teams' primary goal was to re-sign as many of their own pending Free Agents as possible and avoid making any big splashes in the Free Agency market. For the most part, the Rams accomplished what they set out to do.

Offseason Transactions To-Date

On February 19, the Rams released Chris Long, James Laurinaitis and Jared Cook, gaining close to $24 million in salary cap space in the process. The additional $24 million left the Rams with close to $50.5 million in salary cap space (with all additional costs for 2016 taken into consideration).

In the weeks leading up to the opening of the new league year (and Free Agency) on March 9, the Rams were in the unenviable position of having 28 players eligible for Free Agency (12 UFA's, 6 RFA's and 10 ERFA's). Before March 9, the Rams reduced that number to 15 by tendering all 10 of their ERFA's, tendering RFA's Benny Cunningham and Case Keenum and placing the Franchise Tag on Trumaine Johnson.

Once Free Agency opened, the Rams managed to re-sign 8 of their remaining Free Agents (Tim Barnes, William Hayes, Eugene Sims, Brian Folkerts, Brian Quick, Cody Davis, Mark Barron and Cory Harkey).

The Rams wisely chose not to overpay for the services of Rodney McLeod and Janoris Jenkins, both of whom were signed to bloated contracts by Philadelphia and the NY Giants, respectively. In addition, Daren Bates and Nick Fairley both found new homes in Oakland and New Orleans. The Rams have 3 remaining Free Agents (Chase Reynolds, Greg Zuerlein and Wes Welker). It's still possible the Rams will re-sign both Zuerlein and Reynolds at a later date, with minimal impact on the salary cap.

The Rams made a pair of quality, medium-sized/low-risk moves in Free Agency, signing CB Coty Sensabaugh and DE Quinton Coples. On Monday, ESPN's Nick Wagoner gave a good breakdown of where Sensabaugh and Coples will fit in the Rams' defense.

2016 Player Contracts & Salary Cap Calculations

The accompanying chart presents the Los Angeles Rams’ detailed current offseason salary cap position as of  March 31, 2016. It includes all current contracts, dead money and a breakdown of all related costs used in determining the Rams’ available salary cap space for 2016.

Player Position Base Salary Prorated Bonus Other Bonus Cap Hit Release Savings
Trumaine Johnson CB 13,952,000 13,952,000 13,952,000
Robert Quinn DE 7,777,777 955,354 2,424,242 11,157,373 5,867,065
Nick Foles QB 1,750,000 1,000,000 6,000,000 8,750,000 750,000
William Hayes DE 3,000,000 4,000,000 7,000,000 -3,000,000
Michael Brockers DT 6,146,000 6,146,000 6,146,000
Mark Barron LB/S 5,000,000 1,000,000 6,000,000 -9,000,000
Greg Robinson OT 2,354,918 3,449,836 5,804,754 -6,772,213
Rodger Saffold OG 4,500,000 1,000,000 156,250 5,656,250 2,656,250
Kenny Britt WR 3,600,000 1,250,000 4,850,000 4,850,000
Coty Sensabaugh CB 1,000,000 3,850,000 4,850,000 -650,000
Lance Kendricks TE 3,250,000 1,250,000 4,500,000 3,250,000
Tavon Austin WR 2,143,773 1,913,364 4,057,137 0
Case Keenum QB 3,635,000 3,635,000 3,635,000
Akeem Ayers OLB 2,000,000 1,300,000 3,300,000 3,300,000
Todd Gurley RB 1,063,326 2,078,306 3,141,632 -8,168,242
Eugene Sims DE 2,250,000 750,000 3,000,000 0
Quinton Coples DE 1,750,000 1,250,000 3,000,000 2,250,000
Aaron Donald DT 1,341,500 1,423,000 2,764,500 -3,225,250
John Hekker P 2,444,444 151,551 2,595,995 2,141,340
Tim Barnes C 1,250,000 1,300,000 2,550,000 -700,000
Alec Ogletree OLB 675,000 873,187 688,638 2,236,825 1,363,638
Garrett Reynolds OL 1,050,000 950,021 2,000,021 2,000,021
Cory Harkey TE 1,500,000 500,000 2,000,000 -500,000
Tim McDonald Jr. SS 1,671,000 162,000 1,833,000 1,671,000
Brian Quick WR 1,250,000 453,125 1,703,125 453,125
Benny Cunningham RB 1,671,000 1,671,000 1,671,000
Lamarcus Joyner DB 877,289 494,578 1,371,867 352,711
Cody Davis FS 750,000 555,555 1,305,555 500,000
Rob Havenstein OT 615,455 286,822 902,277 -286,822
Jake McQuaide LS 775,000 100,000 875,000 675,000
Stedman Bailey WR 690,123 127,972 818,095 690,123
Tre Mason RB 641,146 159,375 800,521 481,771
Jamon Brown OG 575,575 188,704 764,279 198,167
Sean Mannion QB 582,285 156,449 738,734 269,387
Maurice Alexander SS 600,000 116,065 716,065 483,935
Eric Kush C 675,000 675,000 675,000
David Arkin OG 675,000 675,000 675,000
Brian Folkerts OL 675,000 675,000 675,000
Andrew Donnal OT 525,000 124,234 649,234 276,532
E.J. Gaines CB 600,000 26,918 626,918 573,082
Demetrius Rhaney C 600,000 11,474 611,474 588,526
Ethan Westbrooks DT 600,000 6,668 606,668 600,000
Marcus Roberson CB 600,000 5,000 605,000 600,000
Doug Worthington DT 600,000 600,000 600,000
Nick Toon WR 600,000 600,000 600,000
Justice Cunningham TE 600,000 600,000 600,000
Cody Wichmann OG 525,000 22,621 547,621 479,758
Bryce Hager MLB 525,000 18,035 543,035 488,930
Darrell Williams OT 525,000 2,500 527,500 522,500
Bradley Marquez WR 525,000 2,166 527,166 522,832
Cameron Lynch OLB 525,000 666 525,666 524,332
Christian Bryant FS 525,000 525,000 525,000
Trey Watts RB 525,000 525,000 525,000
Louis Trinca-Pasat DT 525,000 525,000 525,000
Matt Longacre DE 525,000 525,000 525,000
Eric Patterson CB 525,000 525,000 525,000
Isaiah Battle OT 525,000 525,000 525,000
Troy Hill CB 525,000 525,000 525,000
Isiah Ferguson WR 450,000 333 450,333 449,666
Malcolm Brown RB 450,000 450,000 450,000
Zack Hodges OLB 450,000 450,000 450,000
Zach Laskey FB 450,000 450,000 450,000
Matthew Wells OLB 450,000 450,000 450,000
Deon Long WR 450,000 450,000 450,000
Kain Colter QB 450,000 450,000 450,000
Total Active Contracts 142,867,620
Total Top 51 Contracts 136,042,287
Roster Detail
65 Players Under Contract
Dead Money
Jared Cook 2,600,882
Chris Long 2,500,000
James Laurinaitis 900,000
Isaiah Battle 124,125
Barrett Jones 111,300
Bud Sasser 85,302
Martin Ifedi 53,322
Brandon McGee 47,790
Louis Trinca-Pasat 10,000
Malcolm Brown 5,667
Alex Bayer 3,334
Imoan Claiborne 3,334
Jay Hughes 2,667
Matt Longacre 2,667
Zach Laskey 2,000
Trey Watts 2,000
Terrence Franks 1,667
Montell Garner 1,667
Tyler Slavin 667
Keshaun Malone 667
Jacob Hagen 667
Total Dead Money 6,459,725
Total Salary Cap Hits
Total Top 51 Contracts 136,042,287
Total Dead Money 6,459,725
Net League Adjustments 292,578
2016 Total Salary Cap Hits 142,794,590
Team Salary Cap
Unadjusted Salary Cap 155,270,000
2016 Salary Cap Carryover 933,521
2016 Accrued Workout Bonuses -506,600
2016 Prior Year Adjustments -31,732
2015 Adjusted Team Salary Cap 155,665,189
Available Salary Cap Space 12,870,599

Descriptions And Terminology

2016 Unadjusted NFL Salary Cap – The league-wide unadjusted salary cap for 2016 is $155.27 million.

2016 Salary Cap Carryover – The Rams had $2,178,544 million in salary cap space available for carryover and/or application against year-end salary cap charges from 2015. They chose to apply $1.245 million of the carryover against year-end salary cap charges/net league adjustments from 2015.

Net League Adjustments – Adjustments include outstanding proven performance escalators, earned incentives and accrued workout bonuses.

Adjusted Team Salary Cap – 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.The 2016 adjusted team salary cap is calculated by taking the league salary cap figure and adding any carryover from 2015, then subtracting accrued workout bonuses  and 2015 adjustments.

Net "Top-51" Contractual Obligations – In the offseason, only the top 51 contracts in terms of cap hits (plus outstanding dead money) count against the Rams’ adjusted team salary cap.

Current Available Salary Cap Space – Current available salary cap space only takes into account obligations incurred to-date. It doesn’t account for additional financial obligations counting against the salary cap at various times during the year.

Additional Financial Obligations – Are obligations incurred by the Rams at varying times throughout the year. They must be budgeted for, as they count against the salary cap at different times during the year: Practice Squad salaries (during the regular season), season-opening reserve (September), signing the rookie draft class (June), and 2 players added to make up the 53-man roster (September).

Available Salary Cap Space - The amount of money the Rams have remaining to spend on player contract obligations, without exceeding the salary cap. The calculation to determine the available salary cap space is: the dollar amount of the adjusted salary cap, less the total dollar value of current active contracts (cap hits) less any "dead money".

Dead Money - The amount of money counting as cap hits in the current year, for players that are no longer with the team. These amounts consist of guaranteed money/bonuses/prorated amounts outstanding for 2016 (in some cases beyond 2016).

Salary Cap Figure (Hit) - Any contractual obligation counting against the salary cap in a particular year. It's the sum of a players base salary, signing and/or other bonuses, and any incentives/escalators deemed to be earned.

The Salary Cap - The maximum amount a team can have in total cap hits, plus dead money, without incurring penalties imposed by the NFL. These penalties can be financial in nature and/or include the loss of draft picks.

Signing/Prorated vs Other Bonuses - A signing bonus can be defined in its literal sense. The signing bonus is spread out - prorated for cap purposes - evenly over the life of a contract. Other bonuses include roster, incentive, option, etc. bonuses that occur in different years of a contract, and in varying amounts. These bonuses cannot be spread out over the life of the contract.

Accrued Workout Bonuses - Are adjustments charged by the league, reducing a teams available salary cap space. These bonuses will reduce the Rams' salary cap space by $506,600 on March 9. From the 2011 CBA:

"...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 2015 league year a cap fee of $506,600 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 Adjustments - The league adjusts/charges a teams' current year salary cap for player incentives and performance escalators earned in the previous year. The figure is normally netted out of any salary cap carryforward from the previous year.

Roster Detail - Currently, there are 65 players under contract for 2016. Contracts run concurrently with the league year. The new league year began on March 9, 2016.

Methodology - To derive salary cap figures and information, two main sources are used: the NFLPA and the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement. The NFLPA only publishes team salary cap details as team totals. Once the totals are established, I then compile information for individual contracts, ensuring they collectively add up to match the NFLPA totals. At last count, 83 sources have been used to compile data on the Rams' individual contracts.

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For those who like to follow Spotrac and OverTheCap, please be advised that they are not up to date with regards to the Rams' salary cap. Both sites are using incorrect calculations in determining salary cap space (OTC with the teams adjusted salary cap and Spotrac with the cost for signing the rookie class). Spotrac is missing Quinton Coples and OTC is missing Brian Folkerts. Of course, nether site factors in additional costs throughout the year. Nor do they attempt to establish a "usable" available salary cap space figure for the Rams.

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2016 Los Angeles Rams Salary Cap Summary

The Rams will incur additional salary cap costs throughout the remainder of the year. To get a clear picture of the Rams' "usable" salary cap space, these additional costs must be subtracted from the current $12.9 million in available salary cap space.

The additional costs total an estimated $8 million and include: Practice Squad salaries, a season-opening reserve, the net cost of signing the 2016 draft class and counting 53 players against the salary cap in September (as opposed to only the top-51 in the offseason). As a result, the Rams have only $4.9 million in usable salary cap space at present.

Consideration $ Amounts
2016 NFL Salary Cap $155,270,000
Plus: Los Angeles Rams 2015 Salary Cap Carryover $933,521
Less: Los Angeles Rams 2016 Accrued Workout Bonuses -$506,600
Less: 2016 Prior Year Adjustments -$31,732
Los Angeles Rams Adjusted Team Salary Cap $155,665,189
Less: All 2016 Contractual Obligations $142,794,590
Los Angeles Rams Current Available Salary Cap Space $12,870,599
Less: Additional 2016 Financial Obligations (est.):
Practice Squad Salaries $1,200,000
Season-Opening Reserve $2,800,000
Roster To 53 Players From 51 $1,000,000
Net League Adjustments ($1.245M - February) $0
NET Cost Of Signing Rookie Draft Class $3,000,000
Total 2016 Additional Financial Obligations (est.) $8,000,000
Los Angeles Rams Actual 2016 Available Salary Cap Space (est.) $4,870,599

Observations & Future Implications

The Rams clearly approached this offseason and Free Agency in a cautious manner and with future salary cap considerations in mind. They had a plan and a budget and stuck to both. The plan involved three key elements: re-signing as many of their own Free Agents as possible, paying up front (not back loading contracts) and not overspending in a manner that could affect their 2017 salary cap.

With all costs taken into consideration in my estimate, the Rams currently have close to $53 million in salary cap space for 2017 (based on the league-wide salary cap rising to $170 million). If Nick Foles ($12.25M cap savings), Rodger Saffold ($4.22M), Coty Sensabaugh ($4M) and Lance Kendricks ($4.25M) don't perform up to expectations in 2016, all four could become salary cap casualties in 2017, with the Rams gaining an additional $24.72 million in salary cap relief. The Rams also appear to be in a position where they will be able to carry over up to $5 million in salary cap space from 2016 to 2017. The Rams could very well have close to $83 million in salary cap space entering the 2017 offseason.

Husbanding salary cap space for 2017 was an essential element of the Rams' offseason plan. Trumaine Johnson, Tavon Austin, Alec Ogletree, Tim McDonald Jr. and Michael Brockers could all become Free Agents after the 2016 season. And Aaron Donald isn't too far behind. The Rams will need all the salary cap space they can muster if they wish to re-sign all six of these core players. Luckily for the Rams, Robert Quinn, John Hekker, William Hayes and Mark Barron have already been re-signed to contracts that extend well into the future.

From a strictly financial perspective, the Rams have had a very good offseason to-date.

Los Angeles Rams Current Roster & Depth Chart

C Tim Barnes Demetrius Rhaney Eric Kush
RG Jamon Brown Cody Wichmann Brian Folkerts
LG Rodger Saffold Garrett Reynolds David Arkin
RT Rob Havenstein Andrew Donnal
LT Greg Robinson Darrell Williams Isaiah Battle
TE Lance Kendricks Cory Harkey Justice Cunningham
WR Tavon Austin Stedman Bailey Kain Colter
WR Kenny Britt Nick Toon Isiah Ferguson
WR Brian Quick Bradley Marquez Deon Long
RB Tre Mason Trey Watts Malcolm Brown
RB Todd Gurley Benny Cunningham Zach Laskey
QB Case Keenum Nick Foles Sean Mannion
PK
P John Hekker
LS Jake McQuaide
DT Aaron Donald Doug Worthington Louis Trinca-Pasat
DT Michael Brockers Ethan Westbrooks
DE William Hayes Eugene Sims
DE Robert Quinn Quinton Coples Matt Longacre
MLB Alec Ogletree Bryce Hager
OLB Mark Barron Zack Hodges Matthew Wells
OLB Akeem Ayers Cameron Lynch
CB E.J. Gaines Coty Sensabaugh Marcus Roberson
CB Trumaine Johnson Lamarcus Joyner Eric Patterson Troy Hill
SS Tim McDonald Jr. Maurice Alexander
FS Cody Davis Christian Bryant
65 Players Total

The Rams' 28 Free Agents

Position Player FA Status
QB Case Keenum RFA
RB Benny Cunningham RFA
RB Chase Reynolds RFA
RB Malcolm Brown ERFA
TE Cory Harkey UFA
WR Brian Quick UFA
WR Wes Welker UFA
WR Nick Toon ERFA
C Tim Barnes UFA
OT Isaiah Battle ERFA
OL Eric Kush ERFA
OL Brian Folkerts RFA
K Greg Zuerlein UFA
DT Nick Fairley UFA
DT Doug Worthington ERFA
DT Louis Trinca-Pasat ERFA
DE Eugene Sims UFA
DE William Hayes UFA
DE Matt Longacre ERFA
OLB Daren Bates RFA
CB Janoris Jenkins UFA
CB Trumaine Johnson UFA
CB Eric Patterson ERFA
CB Troy Hill ERFA
SS Mark Barron UFA
FS Rodney McLeod UFA
FS Christian Bryant ERFA
FS Cody Davis RFA

Red: The 21 players re-signed by the Rams.

Blue: The 4 players signed by other teams in Free Agency.

Black: The Rams' 3 remaining Free Agents.