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  1. #1
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Thomas: No Cap Crisis For Rams

    No cap crisis for Rams

    14 hours ago • By Jim Thomas jthomas@post-dispatch.com 314-340-8197

    After considerable hand-wringing and anxiety among Rams fans and some media observers this offseason, the Rams salary cap situation isn’t nearly as dire as some had feared.

    According to figures filed with the NFL Players Association, the Rams are about $6½ million below the salary cap figure based on an offseason roster that includes 57 players either under contract or tendered as exclusive-rights free agents.

    But when free agency starts next Tuesday, each team must count only its 51 highest-paid players against the cap. So that raises the Rams’ cap room to about $9½ million — more than enough space to get things started in the offseason.

    Before all is said and done additional cap room could be created by releasing veteran players, with cornerback Cortland Finnegan and offensive guard Harvey Dahl the most likely casualties. Both veterans are due signing bonuses by the end of next week, which will force a decision to be made by then. Cutting both players would create at least $8 million in additional cap space.

    Even if those cap cuts are made, there will still be plenty of other teams around the NFL with more cap room than the Rams. But the Rams should have enough money to sign their draft picks, re-sign offensive lineman Rodger Saffold, and maybe make one splash in free agency.

    The current Rams regime of executive vice president Kevin Demoff, general manager Les Snead, and coach Jeff Fisher anticipated that this would be a relative tight year cap-wise. And at least in part, it’s by design.

    “The plan is always to evaluate fits, and how players can help improve your roster, and what makes the most sense,” Demoff said. “I think this time, you’re a year closer to 2015, and all the contract expirations we have coming up after the 2015 season.”

    RAMS CHAT: JIM THOMAS Q-&-A

    A little-known wrinkle of the collective bargaining agreement in 2011 is that contracts of draft picks can’t be renegotiated until the player has completed three seasons in the NFL. So 2014 is the first year the Rams can renegotiate with their draft class of 2011, which includes defensive end Robert Quinn, tight end Lance Kendricks, and wide receiver Austin Pettis.

    (And in the case of Quinn, the Rams have an option for a fifth year, which would keep him off the market until after the 2015 season.)

    But the floodgates start to open after the 2015 season in terms of expiring contracts, in part because of the mother lode of extra draft picks from the 2012 “RGIII trade.”

    “Most of our current young players are locked into deals that can’t be renegotiated (at this time),” Demoff said “We’re very fortunate that we have very few contracts up after 2014. That gives us really a two-year horizon to start planning in looking at our salary cap situation.

    “The focus at some point has to shift to make sure we retain our talent, rather than on adding new talent (through free agency).”

    So the goal in the past couple of years was to avoid back-loaded contracts, and in some cases pay more money in the early years of contracts.

    Two of the biggest examples of that came in the contract extensions of defensive end Chris Long and linebacker James Laurinaitis prior to the start of the 2012 regular season. In the case of Long, he counts $13.2 million against the cap in 2014, but only $10 million in 2015. Laurinaitis counts $10.4 million against the cap in 2014, but only $4 million in 2015.

    So between the two of them, that’s $9.6 million of additional cap room in 2015 (as compared to 2014), to re-sign recent draft picks whose contract are about to expire.

    “So there is a design to this,” Demoff said. “And we’ve also shifted philosophies really to a lower signing bonus, a pay-as-you-go mentality, which I think has been effective.”

    That approach has helped the Rams avoid getting buried in dead money — money already paid to a player — that still counts against the cap after he’s released or traded. There were times years ago, when the Rams had millions of dead money counting against the cap.

    As for this year?

    “Right now I think we’re 31st in the league in dead money for 2014,” Demoff said. “I think we have $133,000.”

    As recently as 2009, the Rams had the dubious distinction of leading the league in dead money.

    “I think where people sometimes look at our salary cap situation — and I don’t want to say get confused,” Demoff said. “But just because we’re tighter against the cap than a team, doesn’t mean we don’t have flexibility. All of our contracts are designed for extreme salary cap flexibility. Sometimes we use it; sometimes we don’t.”


  2. #2
    mde8352gorams's Avatar
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    Re: Thomas: No Cap Crisis For Rams

    OK, good news, but if we're cutting Finnegan aren't we destined to have $6 million of dead money in 2014? Maybe I'm misreading something.

    Go Rams!

  3. #3
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    Re: Thomas: No Cap Crisis For Rams

    Cortland will be some dead space, how much is unknown at this time.

  4. #4
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Thomas: No Cap Crisis For Rams

    Quote Originally Posted by RebelYell View Post
    Cortland will be some dead space, how much is unknown at this time.
    Looks like $6 million.

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    Re: Thomas: No Cap Crisis For Rams

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    Looks like $6 million.
    That's a lot of money as I said on another thread yesterday.

    Go Rams!

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    Re: Thomas: No Cap Crisis For Rams

    On the subject of cap though, the advantage of the low cost of QBs for SF & Seattle is about to end. This too is good news for the Rams.

    "Colin Kaepernick won't be signing any contract for $18 million a season. Not for $18.5 million per year, either. The idea he would be happy to land a deal in the range of what Tony Romo or Jay Cutler is earning is a complete and total misnomer. Ain't happenin'.

    So I'll let you in on a little secret: The ***** already know this. Unequivocally. Their negotiations with their young franchise quarterback are still in their infancy, but they are quite aware there aren't any bargain deals to be had here. Far from it. Talks with Kaepernick, if they truly get off the ground, will begin at $20 million a year............" - Jason Canfora, CBS Sports Insider


    And Wilson wants to own a team (baseball) someday, so he needs to get paid soon. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, via the Seattle Times, Wilson said his goal was to “be an owner of a team someday.

    I’m looking to get around as many people as I can,” he said of his baseball drop-in. After playing 20 years, hopefully for the Seahawks, hopefully I can do that.


    6m in dead Cortland money and Bradfords cost are a little easier to swallow knowing that the chickens are coming home to roost soon for our division rivals.
    Semper Fi!

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