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Rams seem out of flexibility

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With last week’s moves, there’s little else Les Snead can do to change the roster

Arizona Cardinals v Los Angeles Rams Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

In the last week or so, the LA Rams have re-structured the contracts of Jared Goff and Rob Havenstein to save salary cap space, signed A’Shawn Robinson and Leonard Floyd to free agent deals, drafted nine new players, and signed 20 undrafted free agents. With the offseason pretty much over as far as roster construction goes, at least until cuts are made with few exceptions, the Rams ended up doing almost nothing to change the makeup of the offensive line.

Here’s what they did: draft tackle/guard Tremayne Anchrum in the seventh round.

By re-signing Austin Blythe, Los Angeles general manager Les Snead and head coach Sean McVay conceded that they were not as unsatisfied with the horses they brought to the dance last year and that they believe Blythe, Andrew Whitworth, Havenstein, and a combination of previous offseason decisions can produce one of the best o-lines in the league again. And perhaps it can, those three were all part of the offensive line in 2018.

At this point they may have no other option.

We don’t know yet what the salary cap will look like when all the dust is settled from the re-worked deals, but given that it is currently -$524,000 on overthecap.com at the moment we can assume that the Rams only have enough money to sign their rookies. It’s hard to fathom where else they’d be able to find money in order to make a move with a veteran lineman in the future, if they needed to.

The other big contract and cap hit they could toy with is obviously the $25 million going to Aaron Donald in 2020. He has a $17 million base salary in that, but doing the deals of Goff and Havenstein only pushed some of the issue down the line, it didn’t solve it. Re-doing Donald’s deal would only exacerbate potential future issues.

Another move that most are expecting would be an extension for cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

Ramsey is owed $13.7 million on the fifth-year option but an extension could push it down a bit. Darius Slay just signed a three-year, $50 million extension, but the first year of that is $15.7 million. The first year of Byron Jones’ new deal is $17.6 million. The Rams could extend Ramsey to a deal that tops those players (I imagine he wants to be the highest-paid and he would deserve to be over those corners) which is something like a four-year, $68 million deal with most of it guaranteed. He’s going to want about $17 million per year or more.

How much money is it believed that the Rams could actually cut out of $13.7 million if Ramsey is going to be extended for $17 million annually? Players and agents are focused on what they’re getting in the first three years and the new normal is three and four-year deals, so I wonder how it would be possible to spread that out or “backload” a contract with anything of substance. I could be wrong on this, but what’s the most you expect to save in 2020 on a Ramsey extension? $2 million?

One of the only players left on the roster with any notable cap savings is cornerback Troy Hill at $3.5 saved if released. But that’s potentially a bargain for Hill and the Rams don’t have cornerbacks to spare.

The cap is gone. And so are 2021 first and fourth round draft picks, so trades for a young star like in past years seem unlikely. Those two picks were deal for Ramsey, and the fifth rounder was already traded for Austin Corbett. Right now, LA only has second, third, sixth, and seventh round draft picks for next year.

The moves have been to push all-in for 2019 and 2020, it seems. It also seems that Snead and McVay can’t push any more.

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Which apparent need for the 2020 Rams worries you the most?

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  • 21%
    Guard
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  • 32%
    Center
    (523 votes)
  • 10%
    Right tackle
    (166 votes)
  • 13%
    Outside pass rush
    (220 votes)
  • 2%
    Cornerback
    (37 votes)
  • 8%
    Kicker
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    Other
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