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Thread: Cap Management Could Push Rams to Top of NFC West

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    Cap Management Could Push Rams to Top of NFC West

    In the past few years, the Rams have had to devote a substantial portion of their cap to the QB position by virtue of selecting Sam Bradford in the last year of the old rookie scale.

    Thankfully, though, what goes around comes around.

    If you look at the contract status of the Rams compared to their NFC West counterparts, it appears that the Rams may have a distinct advantage in 2014 and, even more so, in 2015.

    Here's a look into the crystal ball:

    Seattle Seahawks
    2014 Key Free Agents: Brandon Browner (CB), Breno Giacomini (RT), Golden Tate (WR), Michael Bennett (DE).
    2015 Key Free Agents: Richard Sherman (CB), Earl Thomas (S), Chris Clemons (DE), Cliff Avril (DE), K.J. Wright (LB).
    The Hawks' window should remain open through 2014, as they can easily absorb the loss of a couple of their FAs. For the 2014 draft, they are down one pick (3rd round), traded for Percy Harvin. In 2015, Sherman and Thomas alone will be looking to break the bank. On top of all of that is the 5'10 elephant in the room: Russell Wilson. Does anyone think he's going to simply play out his rookie (3rd Round) contract? If he forces the Hawks to sign him at market price within the next two years, the Hawks could find their cap stretched much in the way that the Ravens' was after they resigned Joe Flacco.

    San Francicso Niners
    2014 Key Free Agents: Anquan Boldin (WR), Donte Whitner (S), Jonathan Goodwin (C), Tarell Brown (CB)
    2015 Key Free Agents: Colin Kaepernick (QB), Frank Gore (RB), Kendall Hunter (RB), Mike Iupati (OG), Aldon Smith (OLB), Glenn Dorsey (DT)
    Like the Hawks, the Niners should be able to weather the storm in 2014, though signing their own FAs might prevent them from shopping in the premium FA market. 2015, on the other hand, will be a bear. Kaepernick will demand a huge contract, which will probably mean the end of Gore's tenure in San Francisco. Mike Iupati and (if he keeps himself out of trouble) Aldon Smith will also command premium dollars. They won't be able to keep everyone.

    Arizona Cardinals
    2014 Key Free Agents: Karlos Dansby (LB), Rashard Mendenhall (RB), Eric Winston (RT)
    2015 Key Free Agents: Patrick Peterson (CB), Carson Palmer (QB), Dan Williams (NT)
    Overall, the Cardinals' cap situation does not look too bad. Certainly, they'll wish to ensure that they have sufficient cap room to re-sign Peterson, but the others could be expendible. The Cardinals have two problems, though. First, they are relying on players (Fitzgerald, Dockett) who are getting to be past their prime. Second, they have a quarterback problem. Even if Carson Palmer plays out his current deal, they will need to find a new starter somehow. If they can't find one in the draft, they will be held back by this deficiency.

    St. Louis Rams
    2014 Key Free Agents: Rodger Saffold (RT/OG), Chris Williams (OG), Darian Stewart (S), Matt Giordano (S), Jo-Lonn Dunbar (OLB)
    2015 Key Free Agents: Harvey Dahl (OG), Lance Kendricks (TE), Austin Pettis (WR), Joe Barksdale (OT), Johnny Hekker (P)
    If you were to make a list of the players you'd like the Rams to replace with more promising rookies or FAs, it probably would include several of the players listed above. The only ones who jump out at me as priority signings are Hekker and possibly Kendricks or Barksdale. Meanwhile, the Rams have two advantages over their NFC West counterparts. First, the Rams have an extra first round pick in 2014, which will likely be a Top 15 selection. Second, unlike the other three teams, the percentage of the Rams' cap that is devoted to the QB position is likely to decrease in the next two years, as the Rams will be pushing to extend Sam Bradford's deal and, in doing so, lessen the short term cap hit.

    So, while its understandable that Rams fans are getting impatient, it seems that 2014-2015 would be a particularly bad time to jump off the bandwaggon, as the Rams have things lined up well to finally take back the West.
    Last edited by AvengerRam; -02-03-2014 at 04:32 PM.


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    Re: Cap Management Could Push Rams to Top of NFC West

    Good writeup. Thanks.

    I think the Seahawks will be dropping a lot in the next two years. They have too much good young talent to be able to keep it all. The niners, on the other hand, have several draft picks stockpiled, so if they can continue to draft well they may be OK.

    The Rams, thanks to our RGIII deal, are in a great place. Our young talent will just be gaining momentum next season. I like our chances as our guys develop.

    The Cards don't scare me. Palmer isn't good enough to make a serious run at this division, but they're winning just enough games to get a top draft pick to get one of the top flight QBs in the draft.

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    Re: Cap Management Could Push Rams to Top of NFC West

    This all goes to emphasise drafting well. Generally it seems each year a team can afford to resign one of it's own free agents for any kind of a pay raise and to sign one free agent to a decent/sizable contract. The rest relies on quality value drafting. Looking at the Rams you have listed I can see our 2014 off season having us resign Dunbar and possibly Williams at value contracts (over vet minimum but not by a lot say 2-4 million range. 2015 we would resign Hekker for sure but I think Fisher lets Kendricks walk. He wasn't one of his and Sneads picks and they love Harkey. The biggest one they'll have to work on resigning or not is Bradford. Fisher has professed his support for Sam now we'll have to see how that works out financially. He's signed through 2016 for a total of 33 million. A hefty sum indeed. Looking at the free agents to be over the next two to three years I could see a young QB taken and 2-3 linemen as well a TE this year late with lots of pass catching upside.

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    Re: Cap Management Could Push Rams to Top of NFC West

    Ah yes I remember this discussion a couple weeks ago. It'll be interesting to see how much the Seahawks and Niners will suck once they use up all their cap and won't be able to sign all of their players. Althought, Crapernick is playing poorly so I don't see him getting a payday.
    Last edited by Trevor; -11-15-2013 at 06:44 PM.

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    Re: Cap Management Could Push Rams to Top of NFC West

    Interesting analysis, which speaks to the brilliance of Snead, Fisher and Demoff's strategy to collect young talent and have them mature simultaneously rather than pick and choose spots with vets and hope they last until the rookies emerge.

    My only question, which you may already know is what the Hawks and ***** have in reserve from their recent drafts. Other than the bust of AJ Jenkins from 2012, the ***** seem to have drafted some talent in the wings. I haven't paid much attention to the Hawks, but do they have some replacements ready to step-up when a high priced player leaves? Regardless, I agree we're in good shape for the next few years. We do have to keep drafting well as was pointed out by a previous poster.

    Go Rams!

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    Re: Cap Management Could Push Rams to Top of NFC West

    The Niners have some good young depth at the DE spot, which they'll need as Justin Smith gets up in years.

    The RB spot will depend on whether they can get a windfall from the selection of Marcus Lattimore, who has yet to play a down in the NFL.

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    Re: Cap Management Could Push Rams to Top of NFC West

    Do you see us going after any of these future FA's from the rest of our division?

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    Re: Cap Management Could Push Rams to Top of NFC West

    Quote Originally Posted by Haste View Post
    Do you see us going after any of these future FA's from the rest of our division?
    I'd be surprised if anybody didn't want Earl Thomas in their secondary.

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    Re: Cap Management Could Push Rams to Top of NFC West

    Quote Originally Posted by Mikey View Post
    I'd be surprised if anybody didn't want Earl Thomas in their secondary.
    Agreed. I'd love to have him.

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    Re: Cap Management Could Push Rams to Top of NFC West

    We may get a break on Bradford's contract if he wants to restructure not weather or not the Rams want too. Also Robert Quinn is in year three of a four year deal with an option for one more. At what point do the Rams lock him up? He's going to cost how much?

    I would like to see Quinn get a new deal before anyone else period. I would hope we can resign Jo-Lonn Dunbar. Get Saffold to resign and play guard for a year on a show me deal, he may be the guard we have been looking for. Don't think that will happen though.

    The whiners run is just about over IMO. They have a lot of free agent and not much cap space in the next two years. Kaep looks like he needs a few years to see what he really is, so do they sign him to a big deal or not? If he turns out to not be what they though he was and they don't sign him long term, they will still need a QB. If he bounces back and starts to look like he did last year, he will cost a ton.

    Wilson will get paid and he should but they have a lot of players that will be looking to get paid, especially if they make it to the SB this year and they may. Golden Tate has become Wilson's go to guy, I wonder what kind of deal he will want or get. Richard Sherman is also going get a nice pay day.

    Percy Harvin $67 million over six years with $14.5 million fully guaranteed. Another $11 million is guaranteed only for injury. While the deal will still make Harvin among the highest-paid wide receivers in the NFL
    So how many guys can they pay like this? Wilson is going to get a huge contract, elite QB type deal 100 million plus?

    Both the hawks and whiners will have to do what the Rams did this year, find replacements for great backs. Both teams are at the end of the road with great backs, lets see how that plays out.
    Last edited by Rambos; -11-18-2013 at 07:09 PM.

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    Re: Cap Management Could Push Rams to Top of NFC West

    Quote Originally Posted by Rambos View Post
    We may get a break on Bradford's contract if he wants to restructure not weather or not the Rams want too. Also Robert Quinn is in year three of a four year deal with an option for one more. At what point do the Rams lock him up? He's going to cost how much?

    I would like to see Quinn get a new deal before anyone else period. I would hope we can resign Jo-Lonn Dunbar. Get Saffold to resign and play guard for a year on a show me deal, he may be the guard we have been looking for. Don't think that will happen though.
    Quinn is signed through 2014 with a club option in 2015, so he's not eligilble to be a UFA until 2016. I agree that he's the type of player that the Rams are likely to lock in early (as they did with Long and Laurinaitis).

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    Re: Cap Management Could Push Rams to Top of NFC West

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    Quinn is signed through 2014 with a club option in 2015, so he's not eligilble to be a UFA until 2016. I agree that he's the type of player that the Rams are likely to lock in early (as they did with Long and Laurinaitis).
    What kind of deal does he get? He may be one of the best defensive players in the NFL in two years?

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    Re: Cap Management Could Push Rams to Top of NFC West

    Quote Originally Posted by Rambos View Post
    What kind of deal does he get? He may be one of the best defensive players in the NFL in two years?
    If he continues to play the way he is now, he's going to get a monster deal. Don't forget... he's only 23 years old, so he should be able to remain productive through his next contract.

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    Re: Cap Management Could Push Rams to Top of NFC West

    If Quinn keeps it up this year I wouldn't be surprised to see him with a Mario Williams like deal. And it signed in training camp the upcoming year.

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    Re: Cap Management Could Push Rams to Top of NFC West

    Only ONE problem...the Rams got two high draft picks this coming offseason...how much does that put the Rams in terms of their Salary cap?

    All and all I agree with the analysis--the Seagulls gone way out of their way to acquire talent and done well in getting it. Golden Tate, well I think they can do without him and perhaps pickup a replacement somewhere. Browner, I believe they will put some serious effort to keeping him as member of the "Legion of Boom" ((PUKE)). If nothing else in the NFC-West, its likely defense-defense-defense that rules.

    49Whinners with Bolden who knows but I suspect they would try to keep their 2014 FA defense. Its the 2015 FA that looks painful. I don't know how they might work that situation, though Captain Kemp. might help them indirectly--his level of play has fallen off this season and one would hope it ultimately tanks.

    Still, we all have seen great paper teams put together. Its not so much who you have on your team that makes the final difference, its how you put the pieces together that matters in the end. Glaringly the Rams do have the weapons to win--just those pieces are not being put to the best use; thus the 4-6 record. The scary thing is the Rams might have to trade one of their top picks not so much for getting value but because they can't afford it in the long run

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