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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Bruce, Little at center of salary cap issues

    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Saturday, Feb. 23 2008

    INDIANAPOLIS When you finish 3-13, as the Rams did in 2007, the last thing
    you want to do is stand pat.

    So the Rams made extensive changes on Scott Linehan's coaching staff,
    particularly on offense. They hired a new head of personnel in Billy Devaney.
    Now, with the start of the free agency and trading period just six days away,
    it's the players' turn.

    "We're potentially, probably, going to have to make a couple of tough decisions
    if we're going to free up any cap space," Linehan said Friday at the NFL
    Scouting Combine.

    The Rams are only about $7 million under the projected 2008 salary cap of $116
    million. They must use part of that money to sign their draft class. And they
    are trying to re-sign safety Oshiomogho "O.J." Atogwe to a multi-year contract.
    Even if that doesn't happen, the Rams will eat up cap space by making a
    one-year tender offer to Atogwe as a restricted free agent.

    So if the Rams are going to do anything in free agency, which starts Feb. 29,
    they must free up cap space on the current roster. The most likely targets
    appear to be wide receiver Isaac Bruce and defensive end Leonard Little.

    Little counts $9.531 million against the overall cap, the highest cap value of
    any of the 55 Rams players currently under contract. Of Little's cap count,
    $7.17 million is in the form of a roster bonus due at the end of next week.

    Bruce's 2008 cap count of $5.34 million is the sixth-highest figure on the
    team. Of that total, he's due a $2 million roster bonus at the end of next
    week. Linehan said Friday that nothing has been decided on Little or Bruce.

    "Not yet," Linehan said. "But it's going to come to a head as to what our
    options are, whether it's a restructured opportunity or anything."

    When it comes to the "or anything," the extreme option would be an outright
    release. There have been conflicting signals recently on Bruce. According to
    league sources, a pay cut and a release both have been discussed.

    As for Little, a simple restructuring could save millions. If that roster bonus
    were switched to signing bonus, the Rams would save nearly $3.6 million on this
    year's cap. (That's because the entire roster bonus must count on this year's
    cap; by league rule, a signing bonus could be split over the remaining two
    years of Little's contract.)

    There's an added complication with Little: the toe surgery he underwent last
    season.

    "It's a big factor," Linehan said.

    For a speed rusher such as Little who relies on a quick "get-off" at the line
    of scrimmage, a balky toe could be problematic. Particularly since Little turns
    34 in October.

    Little is scheduled to meet with team doctors Monday in St. Louis to get an
    update on the toe's progress.

    "Right now, he's still in the process of rehabbing," Linehan said. "As long as
    there's not any setbacks, or something that would concern us, I'm not sure how
    much we're going to get out of (the checkup), other than we're going to hope
    that he stays healthy when it is 100 percent."


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    RamOfDenmark is offline Registered User
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    Re: Bruce, Little at center of salary cap issues

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith View Post
    Little counts $9.531 million against the overall cap, the highest cap value of
    any of the 55 Rams players currently under contract. Of Little's cap count,
    $7.17 million is in the form of a roster bonus due at the end of next week.

    Bruce's 2008 cap count of $5.34 million is the sixth-highest figure on the
    team. Of that total, he's due a $2 million roster bonus at the end of next
    week. Linehan said Friday that nothing has been decided on Little or Bruce.
    We've got to do something about Little, there is no way we are carrying a 34 year old DE who's coming off an injury for $9.5 million. I think Little needs to both take a modest pay cut and restructure, a pay cut because he did not produce last year and a restructuring to ease the cap number afterwards. I do however feel that it would be dangerous to simply cut Little, he could return to form and be a 10+ sack player again next year, it is possible and if we missed out on that with our lack of depth at DE it would absolutely kill us. If he refuses a pay cut and only wants to restructure his contract that would make it a tough decision. Ultimately I would keep Little, our need at DE is HUGE and if he does return 100% healthy and ready to go it would kill us to lose his production. If he refuses to restructure at all - see you later, he's a goner.

    Bruce I think should just restructure, I think we all know what he can do. I have no doubt that Bruce will be as good this year as he has been the last couple of years, I don't see any significant slowdown for him this year. Bruce can produce 900 yards and 5 TD's I believe and we need to keep him both because of that production and because of who he is - we can't keep jerks like Byrd and Wroten on our roster and cut Bruce that would make our team a laughingstock. Bruce stays, the cap number should look reasonable enough once he restructures.

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    Re: Bruce, Little at center of salary cap issues

    we are in a deep hole right now that I don't see us coming out of for awhile now. unfortunately I don't see us keeping bruce or little. And it makes me sick to have to even think of Bruce in another uniform but do we have enough money to really renegotiate a contract with him? I truly have no idea how this offseason will be anywhere near a happy ending...I am somvery very disappointed..how did this ever happen?


    Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

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    Ramer's Avatar
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    Re: Bruce, Little at center of salary cap issues

    With the toe injury and turning 34, Little needs to restructure his contract or we need to say bye-bye. I would love to see Little stay, but we need to start spending our money wisely, and 9.5 million on a 34 year old DE, with a toe injury, is not the way to go.

    As for Bruce, I still say the organization needs to do what ever it takes to have him retire a Ram. He has done so much for this team.

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    Re: Bruce, Little at center of salary cap issues

    With Little and Bruce, our cap space is $7 million.

    Without, it is closer to $20 million.

    We finished 3-13.

    Honestly folks, this is an easy call, especially given that we have significant holes all over the place and some of them *must* be filled in FA.

  6. #6
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    Re: Bruce, Little at center of salary cap issues

    if we cut both bruce and little then what are we saying to the rest of the team???? we cut two proven leaders that, when healthy are still a top tier type player in this league, for what to save some money so we can fill them with another drew bennett or rich coady or michael hawthorne or lenny walls!!

    To cut both of these player would save money yes, but it would weaken our core of this team even more. These next few seasons will be disastrous to watch to say the least

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    Re: Bruce, Little at center of salary cap issues

    :l

    Salary Cap issues?

    That is pretty darn pathetic.

    Back in the days of Pace holding the Rams for ransom every year, along with the GSOT, Salary Cap issues were a bit more understandable, and somewhat acceptable.

    But Now!!

    After coming off of 3 straight terrible seasons??

    And not to mention the cap has seen some of its largest increases over the past several years.

    Salary Cap issues??

    Give me a freakin break. The only thing that sucks more than the players and coaches is management.

    Pathetic!!

    :l

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    Re: Bruce, Little at center of salary cap issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Ferter View Post
    Salary Cap issues??

    Give me a freakin break. The only thing that sucks more than the players and coaches is management.

    Pathetic!!

    :l
    All I can say Ferter is so much for Zygmunt being a salary cap genious.

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    Re: Bruce, Little at center of salary cap issues

    Quote Originally Posted by chiguy View Post
    With Little and Bruce, our cap space is $7 million.

    Without, it is closer to $20 million.

    We finished 3-13.

    Honestly folks, this is an easy call, especially given that we have significant holes all over the place and some of them *must* be filled in FA.

    Oh wow....thats insane. Thats a big number. And that could get ALOT done...

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    Re: Bruce, Little at center of salary cap issues

    We may have to get use to the fact it may get worse before it gets better. Little may have to go. I would try to find away to keep Bruce.
    Last edited by eldfan; -02-23-2008 at 08:23 PM.
    :ramlogo:

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    Re: Bruce, Little at center of salary cap issues

    Quote Originally Posted by bruce4life View Post
    if we cut both bruce and little then what are we saying to the rest of the team????
    It tells the rest of the team that the NFL is a tough place both on the field and in the FO. I think both players realize their $$ value to other teams is limited. Therefore, if they want to be part of the Ram resurgence, it would benefit them to get something done with their current contracts. If not, it's a free market.

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    Re: Bruce, Little at center of salary cap issues

    It's one thing to say "Pay the man" when we're sitting on say $15 million in cap space. It's another thing to say that when we've got $7 million, and probably at least half of that will go to signing rookies. If we don't do something, we can't even re-sign our own free agents. These contracts are often designed to have unrealistic numbers on the end, forcing renegotiation. That seems to be the case here.

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    Re: Bruce, Little at center of salary cap issues

    When you look strictly at the dollars you just can't justify keeping Little and Bruce. But the answer isn't as simple as just pluging in draft picks.

    I don't think the Rams are that for off from being a playoff team. The Rams need to add some depth via free agency, and draft some impact players. They need to aggressively try to package picks to try and draft impact players versus trading down hoping to add depth.

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    Re: Bruce, Little at center of salary cap issues

    Quote Originally Posted by bruce4life View Post
    if we cut both bruce and little then what are we saying to the rest of the team???? we cut two proven leaders that, when healthy are still a top tier type player in this league, for what to save some money so we can fill them with another drew bennett or rich coady or michael hawthorne or lenny walls!!
    Let's not get carried away. Issac is still a very good receiver, but he is not a "top tier" player anymore. The days of him as a Pro Bowler are gone. Leonard has exactly one good year in the last four. His days as a top tier player who can get it done by himself are also gone. At best, he needs effective players elsewhere on the line to get it done and isn't a guy who is going to beat double teams anymore. He's still a very good player, but let's not overestimate his value because he was great in the past.

    Now, if we were going to sign another Drew Bennett, you'd have a point. But what if we go out and sign one of the best guards in free agency (e.g., Fancea or someone younger? What you're saying to the team and the fans is that you're going to be aggressive about making your team better.

    We were 3-13 this year. We were 8-8 last year, partly because we finally got to an easy part of the schedule and pulled ourselves up to .500. If this doesn't prove to you that our players are not as great as you might think and that we need an influx of new talent, then I'm not sure what would.

    To cut both of these player would save money yes, but it would weaken our core of this team even more. These next few seasons will be disastrous to watch to say the least
    Its not saving money that goes into the owners pocket book. It gets turned around and spent on draft picks and free agent additions. If we don't start finding more talent for gaps on the lines, the few seasons are going to be even more disastrous than what you're currently imagining.

    I love Bruce as much as the next guy. If we can cut him and resign him at a decent cap value, then I'm ok even with overpaying him a little so he can remain a Ram. But if the team just keeps him on with the current contract and ignores its other needs, then they're just not capable of running an NFL franchise. It is *that* obvious of a move.

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  1. -02-23-2008, 11:36 AM

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