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How the Rams offensive starters compare in 2021 salary to their NFL counterparts

NFL: New York Jets at Los Angeles Rams Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

When the Los Angeles Rams announce a new contract agreement, for example like the $64 million handed to Leonard Floyd this offseason, many onlookers exclaim “How?!” in response. It is believed that the Rams must constantly be over the salary cap, but the reality is often quite different.

As you’ll see, the LA Rams will actually commit fewer 2021 salary cap dollars to their entire starting offense than what the Green Bay Packers will pay to Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, and David Bakhtiari alone.

The Rams only have two players on the entire offense who are set to rank in the top-10 at their position for 2021 salary cap (and it’s not two that you would guess) while the total cost of every receiver combined is set to be less than what the Cowboys will pay Amari Cooper and what the Bears will pay Allen Robinson.

Here is how much money LA has committed to their offensive players in 2021.

QB - Matthew Stafford

Contract - 5 years, $135 million (remaining: two years, $43 million)

2021 Cap - $20 million (11th)

Stafford comes at a bargain over the next two seasons, which is another good reason to expect him to sign a contract at some point before the first game in 2022. The Rams acquired Jalen Ramsey knowing that they would extend him, and it happened. Same deal with Stafford.

RB - Darrell Henderson

Contract - 4 years, $4.2 million*

2021 Cap - $1.15 million

Cam Akers was set to be LA’s highest-paid back in 2021 (and he still will be) but that’s only at $1.4 million. The Rams don’t have a running back ranked in the top 50 for salary at the position. Even Malcolm Brown’s deal with the Dolphins, which pays him $1.75 million this year, sets him apart from his former teammates.

Even if they do add a free agent, LA won’t be committing much money to the running back position. That’s a change of plans from a couple years ago.

WR - Robert Woods

Contract - 4 years, $65 million

2021 Cap - $5.875 million

WR - Cooper Kupp

Contract - 3 years, $47.25 million

2021 Cap - $5.3 million

WR - DeSean Jackson

Contract - 1 year, $4.5 million

2021 Cap - $3.2 million

WR - Van Jefferson

Contract - 4 years, $5.6 million*

2021 Cap - $1.27 million

WR - Tutu Atwell

Contract - 4 years, $5.9 million*

2021 Cap - $1 million

Neither Woods nor Kupp are set to be “high-paid” receivers next season. That changes in 2022, when Kupp will reach the top-10 in salary, and Woods, the top-15. If it came to it, the Rams would save money by trading either receiver next offseason.

There actually isn’t much of a long-term commitment to any player on LA’s offense right now.

TE - Tyler Higbee

Contract - 4 years, $29 million (2024 FA)

2021 Cap - $7.4 million (5th)

Higbee is the first player on this list to rank top-10 in salary at his position. He signed a four-year extension in 2019 and Sean McVay views him as a complete tight end. Only Zach Ertz, Jimmy Graham, Austin Hooper, and Travis Kelce are set to make more against the 2021 cap, with two of those players feeling like potential final cut casualties / trade chips right now.

We may not be that far away from Higbee being the third-highest paid tight end in football next season.

LT - Andrew Whitworth

Contract - 2 years, $17 million

2021 Cap - $5.6 million (17th)

LG - David Edwards

Contract - 4 years, $2.7 million* (2023 FA)

2021 Cap - $0.96 million

C - Austin Corbett

Contract - 4 years, $7.5 million* (2022 FA)

2021 Cap - $1.5 million

RG - Bobby Evans

Contract - 4 years, $3.5 million* (2023 FA)

2021 Cap - $1.05 million

RT - Rob Havenstein

Contract - 4 years, $32.5 million (2023 FA)

2021 Cap - $8.33 million (6th)

While Havenstein doesn’t make the $17.8 million of Lane Johnson or the $13 million of Jack Conklin, his salary ranks unusually high for a right tackle. It’s easier to swallow for the Rams when the other four starting positions are set to make so little, with none of those interior options cracking the top-20 in salary.

Total of 11 starters: $60.3 million