The LA Rams made the first big-splash move this offseason by trading longtime quarterback Jared Goff for Matthew Stafford. The move put LA in a challenging financial position ahead of the 2021 season. However, the front office has quickly found a way to maneuver out of the $33 million headache.
Rams put themselves in a tough salary-cap situation
Following the end of the 2020 season, the Rams made shockwaves around the league by trading longtime quarterback Jared Goff.
LA moved the former Pro Bowl to the Detroit Lions in a blockbuster deal that landed them Matthew Stafford. The Rams needed to move first-round picks in 2022 and 2023, along with a 2021 third-round selection.
Beyond that, the Rams bit the financial bullet to move on from Goff inheriting a $22.2 million dead cap hit for this year. The team will take on the remaining two years of Stafford’s deal worth $43 million. Meanwhile, the Lions are taking on Goff’s four-year, $106.6 million contract.
All that alone put a significant financial hit on the Rams that put them more than $33 million above the adjusted $182.5 million league 2021 salary cap. The sense around the franchise remains on the team having to suffer through a tough offseason due to their financial situation.
However, general manager Les Snead has maneuvered his way out of a salary-cap nightmare through a wise method.
LA Rams swiftly found a wise way to erase a $33 million nightmare
The LA Rams were well aware of the financial consequences of trading Jared Goff.
As expected, the Rams have lost a pair of critical defensive players in free agency with safety John Johnson III and outside linebacker Samson Ebukam. However, general manager Les Snead has methodically pushed LA below the league salary cap.
Snead managed to restructure the deals of several prominent players on the roster. LA moved money around in the contracts of Jalen Ramsey, Andrew Whitworth, Robert Woods, Aaron Donald, and Cooper Kupp.
According to Ian Rapoport of The NFL Network, Woods and Ramsey together created about $20 million in cap space. Meanwhile, Donald and Kupp combined reworked deals will possibly save the team another $22 million this year. Whitworth’s restructured contract will save LA around $4 million.
The decision to alter the deals will significantly help the Rams this year, but it comes with financial consequences. The portion of the money moved from these deals will be filtered evenly over the remainder of their respective contracts. In other words, the team will pay more later for each of these players.
The Rams’ efforts didn’t stop there after deciding to move longtime defensive tackle Michael Brockers to the Lions in exchange for a 2023 seventh-round pick. The trade will save the team $6.17 million in cap space this year.
All in all, Snead successfully navigated the team from a dreadful financial situation just before the new league year officially began.
More offseason moves lie ahead in LA
The Rams have guided their way toward garnering some financial flexibility over the last few days.
Much of their new salary-cap space will likely be utilized to retain a few of their free agents. The team has already agreed to a four-year, $64 million deal with defensive end Leonard Floyd. Details have emerged that he will only have a $2 million base salary and a $14 million signing bonus in 2021.
Meanwhile, the franchise placed a first-round tender on cornerback Darius Williams. LA will have other moves ahead to further secure their roster that still has some needed areas of improvement, such as the offensive line and linebackers group. Th
ere may not be any flashy moves ahead, but the Rams are moving effectively toward maintaining the team’s structure.