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Potential salary cap moves: Should the Los Angeles Rams cut or restructure Robert Quinn?

How should the Los Angeles Rams handle Robert Quinn’s contract?

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Despite Robert Quinn only being 27 years of age, he is the 2nd longest tenured Los Angles Ram. Drafted 14th overall in 2011, only Rodger Saffold has been with the franchise longer than Quinn.

In recent years, Quinn has turned into somewhat of an enigma. He’s still capable of having 6 sacks in a 4 game stretch - as he did this season in weeks 12-15 - but has become less reliable as the rigors of 7 NFL season have worn on him.

I pose a simple yet complex question: What should the Rams do with Quinn’s contract? Given the number of pending free agents on the Rams roster, retaining Quinn at his current $12.4M cap hit seems untenable. That leaves two options: cutting Quinn or restructuring his deal.

Cut Him

Pros: Age can be deceiving. Quinn entered the NFL at the age of 21 and has battled some pretty serious injuries during his career. He never really recovered from his back surgery two years ago and hasn’t played a full season since 2014. He requires an extensive maintenance plan for his health and it’s hard to justify paying him as a top-10 rusher.

Cons: Yes, the Rams were 4th in the NFL in sacks with 48 during the 2017 season. But if you watched the games, it was clear that the Rams weren’t able to generate pressure on a consistent basis. Is getting rid of Quinn wise when Connor Barwin and Matt Longacre are pending free agents?

Restructure His Deal

Pros: You get to keep an extremely talented - albeit high maintenance - player at a lower cost than originally expected. Quinn seemed to regain some of his old form in the second half of the season and could possibly continue that rebound in 2018. He had six of his 8.5 sacks after Thanksgiving and added another sack (and two TFL) in the Rams wild card loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

Cons: While this is the middle ground, it’s also a double-edged sword. If the Rams go this route, they will likely to sacrifice elsewhere on the roster. The Rams aren’t likely to save more than $4-5M using via restructuring, which is significantly less than the $11.5 they would save by cutting him. Given the laundry list of free agents the Rams have (and Aaron Donald’s inevitable record-breaking contract) restructuring may not be the best route.

Expected Outcome

I firmly believe that this will be Quinn’s decision. The Rams will likely to approach him about lowering his cap hit and Quinn will have the opportunity to stick with the Rams or look for greener pastures elsewhere. I’m hopeful that Sean McVay and Wade Phillips can convince Quinn to stay, because I think he can be an asset to the team when healthy.


Should the Rams cut or restructure Robert Quinn?

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