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  1. #1
    MauiRam's Avatar
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    Rams explore roster options as lockout end nears ..

    BY JIM THOMAS
    Thursday, July 21, 2011 12:10 am


    With a new labor deal apparently imminent, the start of NFL free agency is right around the corner. As such, Rams fans may have visions of running back Darren Sproles or wide receiver Sidney Rice dancing in their heads.

    But before engaging in this "real-life" exercise in fantasy football, or contemplating how Stan Kroenke will approach his first free-agency period as the team's controlling owner, there's one overlooked facet of the equation:

    With the return of the salary cap, will the Rams actually have any money to spend?

    If reports are accurate that the 2011 salary cap will be between $120 million and $123 million, the Rams will be in decent but not tremendous shape cap-wise. According to figures filed with the NFL Players Association just before the lockout began in March, the Rams had $107.3 million committed to 50 players under contract, and in "dead money" for players no longer with the team, for 2011.

    It became 51 players under contract when cornerback Justin King was signed in early March just before the lockout took hold, which puts the Rams's cap count at about $108 million.

    That puts the Rams in the middle tier of teams in regard to cap space: 13 teams had less cap space, while 18 teams had more cap space than the Rams. Dallas had a league-high $137 million committed to the 2011 cap; Tampa Bay had a league-low $62 million cap count.

    So depending on the math, the Rams should have between $12 million and $15 million in salary cap space once the lockout ends. Keep in mind, the team still must sign eight draft picks, plus any of its own pending unrestricted, restricted, or exclusive rights free agents.

    Prior to the lockout, the Rams tendered four restricted free agents (players with three years experience): linebackers Chris Chamberlain and David Vobora, offensive guard John Greco, and offensive tackle Renardo Foster.

    They also tendered three exclusive rights free agents (players with less than three years experience): defensive end C.J. Ah You, wide receiver Danny Amendola, and linebacker Larry Grant.

    In addition, the Rams have at least five unrestricted free agents (players with four or more years experience) who they will consider re-signing: wide receiver Mark Clayton, tight end Daniel Fells, defensive tackle Gary Gibson, guard/tackle Adam Goldberg, and wide receiver Laurent Robinson.

    So at first glance, it appears there won't be much money to sign outside free agents. But that's not exactly the case. Assuming the old cap rules are in place, only the 51 highest-paid players on the roster count against the cap during training camp and the preseason.

    With exactly 51 players on the roster at the moment, that means for every player the Rams sign once the lockout lifts and the new labor deal is in place, they'll get to subtract a contract from their "top 51 cap" count.

    As an example, the Rams drafted seven players last April in rounds two through seven. For the sake of argument, assume the average 2011 cap count for those seven players is $400,000 per man. Well, the average of the seven players with the lowest cap counts currently under contract is $331,000. So the net difference would be only $69,000 per man, meaning that signing the entire Rams draft class with the exception of first-rounder Robert Quinn adds only $483,000 (seven times $69,000) to the Rams' cap count.

    And because the Rams picked 14th in the opening round this April as opposed to No. 1 overall for Sam Bradford in 2010, Quinn will have a significantly lower cap count as a rookie. Plus, with a new rookie wage scale in the new labor deal, the cap costs of the 2011 draft class could be even lower.

    Of course, the Rams also could create additional cap space by cutting some highly paid players or restructuring contracts.

    As the roster now stands, the Rams have eight wide receivers, eight defensive linemen, and seven offensive linemen under contract. But they have only three running backs and three safeties under contract.

    Even so, it shouldn't be all that difficult to get the current 51-man roster up to an acceptable number of players to perform in the Hall of Fame game Aug. 7 against Chicago. Signing the draft class gets the roster up to 59 players. Re-signing all seven players tendered as restricted or exclusive rights free agents brings it to 66.

    And if the Rams quickly re-sign even three of their unrestricted free agents (say, Clayton, Gibson, and Goldberg), they can be at 69 players quickly.

    Throw in a dozen or more undrafted rookies, and the camp roster swells to more than 80 players before heading to Canton, Ohio, to play Lovie Smith's Bears. And that's without signing a single unrestricted free agent from another club.


  2. #2
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    Re: Rams explore roster options as lockout end nears ..

    This is from espn.com regarding the cap.

    By Mike Sando

    John Clayton's list of potential salary-cap casualties under the expected labor agreement features a couple of names from the NFC West.

    Clayton also provides team-by-team figures for projected salary-cap room, not counting as-yet-unknown salaries for players likely to become restricted free agents.

    NFC West teams have a combined $131.3 million in projected cap space, more than any of the seven other divisions.

    The Seattle Seahawks led the division with $39 million in projected cap room, followed closely by the Arizona Cardinals ($37.3 million) and St. Louis Rams ($35.6 million). The San Francisco ***** were last at $18.9 million, but they'll clear significant room by reworking or terminating Nate Clements' contract.

    Tampa Bay ($59.2 million) has the most projected room in the league, followed by Seattle, Arizona and Chicago. The Rams rank seventh. The ***** rank 13th (we have updated their total from $19.4 million to $18.9 million).

    In other words, cap space will not inhibit NFC West teams as they consider options in free agency this offseason. The pending labor agreement will set higher minimum requirements for spending, but that does not mean teams will have to hurriedly spend most or all of their cap room when free agency opens.

    We'll know more once there's an agreement in place.
    2011 Salary Cap Room: John Clayton's Projections


    Totals do not count salaries for restricted free agents.
    RankDivisionProjected cap roomTeam with most1NFC West$130.8MSeattle ($39.0M)2NFC South$115.4MTampa Bay ($59.2M)3AFC North$64.5MCincinnati ($35.9M)4AFC East$55.9MBuffalo ($35.9M)5NFC North$48.6MChicago ($37.0M)6AFC South$46.6MJacksonville ($31.4M)7AFC West$44.7MKansas City ($34.3M)8NFC East-$6.6MPhiladelphia ($13.0M)

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    RAMpage28's Avatar
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    Re: Rams explore roster options as lockout end nears ..

    FA wish list : Just about any gaurd (hopefully nicks, mankins, or some other guy) OLB hopefully Leber, Anderson, or even Herzlich, Backup RB Hopefully Locke or Steve Slaton, Safety Hopefully eric weddle or quintin mikell, and DT Hopefully Coefield or even Mebane. Good night and good luck.
    Last edited by RAMpage28; -07-21-2011 at 10:17 AM.

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    Azul e Oro is online now Registered User
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    Re: Rams explore roster options as lockout end nears ..

    As usual, the money situation is totally confusing and mysterious. First, JT tells us The Rams have $12-15 million in cap room, then Clayton claims it's $35 million.Nobody seems to be using the same numbers/criteria.

    And I seem to recall reading that the old cap rules/roster sizes for the pre-season period will be modified to protect against overworking/injury so any assessment is premature at this point.

    I think that Devaney and Demoff have done a good job of trimming the dead wool/mutton from the roster & will continue to do so. I wonder how TB managed to be that far below the de facto cap last year,though. If I were a Bucs fan, I'd be waiting for some backloaded contract shoes to start dropping in the near future.

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    Re: Rams explore roster options as lockout end nears ..

    Tampa Bay are that far under the cap because they are run by the tightest owners in sports. GLAZERS

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    Azul e Oro is online now Registered User
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    Re: Rams explore roster options as lockout end nears ..

    Quote Originally Posted by GROUND DOG 39 View Post
    Tampa Bay are that far under the cap because they are run by the tightest owners in sports. GLAZERS
    Oh pleeeze....like poor old Man Utd have been cut off at the competitive knees by the Glazers....lol...

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