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2020 NFL salary cap, franchise tag projections set up parameters for offseason activity, free agency

The final offseason under the current collective bargaining agreement is starting to take shape.

Philadelphia Eagles v Miami Dolphins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

NFL owners are in Dallas, Texas, today for the final league meeting of the season. While the headlines to this point from the event have surrounded NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s comments on former San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick as well as (stop me if you’ve heard this before) the current drama surrounding the New England Patriots filming another team, work continues to be done to set up the 2020 season.

As part of that, NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero reported on Tuesday that the league has narrowed the 2020 salary cap range to less than $4.5m:

Nothing surprising from that range, but it at least solidifies planning for teams. And that planning got another bump from CBS Sports’ Joel Corry, a former NFL agent, who laid out his estimates for franchise and transition tag costs per position next offseason today. The piece is worth reading as he breaks down the new details in the applications of the tag the rules of which are changing for 2020. Most notably, teams will be able to use a franchise tag AND a transition tag on a second player, so we should see tag activity increase from the six players who were tagged in 2019. Corry also drops a couple of names he thinks could be tag targets including Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott and Baltimore Ravens CB Marcus Peters. He didn’t list any Los Angeles Rams, and I too don’t think any would be prime candidates from our free agent list:

2020 LA Rams Free Agents

Player POS Type Outcome
Player POS Type Outcome
Malcolm Brown RB UFA Re-signed, 2-yr $3.25m
Blake Countess DB UFA Waived
Jared Goff QB UFA Optioned
Tyler Higbee TE UFA Re-signed, 4 yr $31m
Troy Hill CB UFA Re-signed, 2-yr $8.25m
Marcus Peters CB UFA Traded
Aqib Talib CB UFA Traded
Austin Blythe OL UFA
Blake Bortles QB UFA
Michael Brockers DL UFA
Marqui Christian DB UFA
Dante Fowler, Jr. EDGE UFA
Bryce Hager ILB UFA
Cory Littleton LB UFA
Mike Thomas WR UFA
Andrew Whitworth LT UFA
Greg Zuerlein K UFA
Morgan Fox DE RFA
Jojo Natson KR/PR RFA
Adonis Alexander CB ERFA
Josh Carraway OLB ERFA
Kendall Blanton TE ERFA
Chandler Brewer OL ERFA
Josh Carraway LB ERFA
Marquise Copeland DL ERFA
Donte Deayon CB ERFA
Greg Dortch WR ERFA
Landis Durham LB ERFA
Dominique Hatfield CB ERFA
Jeff Holland OLB ERFA
Jeremiah Kolone OL ERFA
Johnny Mundt TE ERFA
Jachai Polite EDGE ERFA
Coleman Shelton OL ERFA
Nate Trewyn OL ERFA
Nsimba Webster WR ERFA
Ethan Wolf TE ERFA
John Wolford QB ERFA

So as the market continues to take shape we’ll get more clarity on the numbers, but it looks like the Rams are headed toward something like $26m of available cap. Setting aside $6m or so for their 2020 NFL Draft class, we’re looking at $20m to use on our existing free agents and any market solutions thereafter as it really comes down to six key starters: LT Andrew Whitworth, OL Austin Blythe, DL Michael Brockers, EDGE Dante Fowler, Jr., LB Cory Littleton and K Greg Zuerlein.

The Rams may not be in a situation to tag anyone this year, but the scope of the work to be done is relatively small compared to other years and especially compared to other teams (look at the Rams’ short list of upcoming unrestricted free agents compared to the Dallas Cowboys’ extremely long list).

That at least gives us a small band of certainty as to what to expect moving forward.