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Predicting what Jalen Ramsey's next contract could look like

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  • Predicting what Jalen Ramsey's next contract could look like




    Cameron DaSilva
    May 28, 2020 10:05 am ET


    After a few years of being aggressive and making high-profile additions, the Los Angeles Rams took a step back this offseason and played it more conservatively by shedding bloated contracts instead of bringing more in.

    It was all in an effort to balance the salary cap out ahead of the 2021 offseason, which comes with even more important decisions than the ones they had to make this year. Jalen Ramsey headlines a free agency class that also includes Cooper Kupp, John Johnson, Gerald Everett, Troy Hill, Austin Blythe and Leonard Floyd.

    Ramsey is set to make $13.7 million in 2020 on the fifth-year option and has already said he won’t hold out if he doesn’t get an extension this offseason. That doesn’t mean the Rams should put off signing him for another year, though.

    He’s made his stance on the matter very clear and says the Rams know where he stands. Sean McVay said “there’s a lot of dialogue” between the team and Ramsey’s agent regarding a new contract, but the two sides haven’t come to an agreement yet.

    After giving up two first-round picks and another fourth-rounder, the Rams would be foolish to let Ramsey leave after just a season and a half – which makes signing him to an extension all the more likely. But what might that contract look like? One thing’s for sure: It’ll reset the cornerback market and make him the highest-paid player ever at the position.

    Here’s a look at the current cornerback market in terms of the highest salary, signing bonus and guaranteed at signing.

    Highest-paid per year: Darius Slay, $16.68 million per year
    Largest signing bonus: Denzel Ward, $19.29 million
    Most guaranteed at signing: Byron Jones, $46 million

    Assuming Ramsey wants to eclipse all of those numbers, his contract is going to be a hefty one for the Rams. Here’s a simple projection of what his extension with the Rams could look like.
    • 5 years, $90 million ($18 million per year)
    • $20 million signing bonus
    • $50 million guaranteed at signing

    It’s unclear how long of a contract Ramsey wants, but five years would make sense for the Rams. It would fall right between the six-year deal Aaron Donald got and the four-year extension given to Jared Goff.

    In this scenario, we’re assuming the contract gets done before the season starts. That way, it could replace his current contract and allow the Rams to lower his 2020 cap hit from $13.7 to something more manageable.

    So in essence, it would be an additional four years on top of this coming season, keeping him under contract until he’s 30 years old through the 2024 season.

    Now let’s get to the nuts and bolts of the deal.

    The annual value of Ramsey’s contract will be somewhat difficult to project. He’ll certainly go above Darius Slay’s $16.7 million per year, being three years younger. But how much higher will the Rams go? Could Ramsey be the first $20 million-per-year cornerback? It’s possible, but probably only if he takes a shorter-term deal in the range of three or four years. At five years, it’s more likely to be around $18-19 million per year.

    Because signing bonuses are prorated across the life of the contract, the Rams would be smart to make it a five-year deal rather than a three- or four-year extension, allowing them to spread the money out over a longer period of time. The $20 million signing bonus would be the most of any active cornerback – slightly above Denzel Ward’s $19.3 million – and tied with Earl Thomas among all defensive backs.

    It would be $1 million less than Todd Gurley got from the Rams, and also less than Donald’s ($40 million) and Goff’s ($25 million). Ramsey’s camp might aim to go above Gurley’s signing bonus, but he won’t top Goff’s or Donald’s.

    The $50 million guaranteed at signing would also top all cornerbacks, going above Byron Jones’ $46 million – which is $15 million more than any other cornerback. For comparison, Goff got $57 million guaranteed at signing, while Donald got $50 million, Gurley got $21.9 million and Brandin Cooks got $20.5 million.

    The $50 million would include his $20 million signing bonus, leaving $30 million left as guaranteed salary – which the Rams could decide to spread out over Years 2-4 instead of front-loading it in 2020 when their cap space is limited. In order to lower his cap hit in 2020, the Rams could drop his base salary to about $5 million and tack on $4 million from his prorated signing bonus, putting his cap hit at $9 million next season instead of $13.7 million.

    The Ravens did something similar with Earl Thomas last year, giving him a base salary of $2 million in 2019 with his prorated signing bonus adding on $5 million to bring his cap hit to $7 million. His salary spikes to $10 million in 2020 with a cap hit of $15 million, which increases by $1 million in each of the next two years.

    This deal for Ramsey would obviously give the Rams three huge contracts to manage for the next five years, including Donald and Goff, both of whom are signed through 2024. However, the Rams knew when they acquired Ramsey that he would require a new contract, and the moves they made to dump Gurley and Cooks free up money in the next few years.

    At $18 million per year, it’s manageable for Los Angeles. Combined, Gurley and Cooks were earning more than $30 million per year in base salary. Yes, it would reset the cornerback market, but the Rams knew that’s been Ramsey’s goal dating back to last year.

    Los Angeles typically hands out extensions between July and September, so it’s possible nothing will happen on the Ramsey front until this summer. But needless to say, this is a situation worth monitoring throughout the offseason.

  • #2
    One huge question hovering around all contracts, not a Rams specific point. The key to the teams signing these big contracts has been the assumption that the cap will continue to go up over time because of ever increasing revenues. Is that a safe bet right now in the context of covid? Unclear in so many different respects. Will tv ratings go up? What is the impact of lost revenues if fans are not in the stadiums, luxury box, parking, beer revenues? Are those impacts this season only or do they linger on?

    If it is no longer a given that the overall cap will continue to increase every year, how does that impact guys like ramsey and clowney who are looking to get paid right now? Short answer, not well! Will teams be a little more cautious about taking the plunge on big free agents and will teams be more willing to wait until a player is in the contract year before signing a long term deal rather than signing a year or more in advance (ie the gurley issue).

    Time will tell, but the overall size of the cap is a critical component in determining salaries and we are now in an era of the most uncertainty in recent history.

    ramming speed to all

    general counsel

    Comment


    • #3
      Fair point GC. A rising cap each year has been a yearly certainty... but perhaps no longer. If that's a concern, I would not doubt the team would write in a clause that should the cap not increase by x%, on any given year, then his salary would dip in a corresponding manner. That would at least give them a safety valve. Most monstrous contract I ever worked on was for a designer and a parachute and extreme sports manufacturer.... I'm sure NFL contracts are just as beastly.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by general counsel View Post
        If it is no longer a given that the overall cap will continue to increase every year, how does that impact guys like ramsey and clowney who are looking to get paid right now? Short answer, not well! Will teams be a little more cautious about taking the plunge on big free agents and will teams be more willing to wait until a player is in the contract year before signing a long term deal rather than signing a year or more in advance (ie the gurley issue).
        There is a story on NFL.com today talking about this matter. Although nothing is set in stone the NFL & NFLPA wants to flatten the movement of the cap as much as possible so as not to harm teams or the players. Stay tuned, this could cause problems for both sides in this matter.

        Update: Just saw Nick has posted the article on the NFL Talk Forum of this site.
        Last edited by mde8352gorams; -06-02-2020, 04:14 PM.

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        • Nick
          How can the Rams configure Jalen Ramsey, Cooper Kupp deals? An expert weighs in
          by Nick
          How can the Rams configure Jalen Ramsey, Cooper Kupp deals? An expert weighs in
          By Jourdan Rodrigue Jun 9, 2020 17

          With the Rams’ eyes on the full return of personnel to team facilities in late July, two likely massive contracts loom on the horizon.

          Cornerback Jalen Ramsey is prepared to give the Rams a little wiggle room when it comes to the timeline of his next contract, saying last month that he would participate in training camp without an extension that undoubtedly will reset the market at his position. Ramsey added that his agent, David Mulugheta, and the team have been on the same page since last season’s trade regarding a new contract.

          The contract of receiver Cooper Kupp, who just recorded his first 1,000-yard season, also is set to expire after the 2020 season. Kupp isn’t likely to hold out of camp either, but the Rams still should lock him in before regular-season games are played this fall.

          Both players have emerged as leaders on their respective sides of the ball. Both will have huge roles in 2020. Both are priority contracts. And yet the Rams are hamstrung, with approximately $6 million in current cap space (after gaining $5.5 million on June 1 for cutting Todd Gurley), and need to sign their draft picks from this April.

          How can the Rams get both deals done? Michael Ginnitti, the co-founder and senior editor of Spotrac, a leading website for contract information, thinks the first step for general manager Les Snead is a restructure of defensive tackle Aaron Donald’s contract to free up money. The caveat? That likely would only make room for Ramsey’s new contract and the draft class. Donald signed a six-year, $135 million extension in August 2018.

          “Donald has yet to be restructured, and I give the Rams a lot of credit for not doing that, because it’s kind of like an ace in the hole that they haven’t been using yet,” he told The Athletic.

          “To me, they’re going to have to use it, because of the dead cap they have accrued, like we mentioned before, because they’re not getting rid of Ramsey. They’re going to pay Ramsey. Like I said, his fifth-year option is a little over $13 million right now. If we’re looking at other cornerback contracts — for instance, the Byron Jones contract with Miami that was signed this free agency. He carries a first-year cap hit of about $17 million. So if we just use that model, we’re talking about four to five million of increased cap for Ramsey, if and when they extend him this year.”

          Ginnitti added that one option for the Rams may even be to wait until after the 2020 season to extend Ramsey, due to the combination of their financial limitations and the uncertainty surrounding the regular season because of the pandemic.

          “But if they’re going to go that route, they need about $4...
          4 weeks ago
        • r8rh8rmike
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          18 hours ago • By Jim Thomas [email protected]

          One year ago, the Rams spent a potential $98 million in the opening days of free agency by signing cornerback Cortland Finnegan (Tennessee), center Scott Wells (Green Bay) and defensive tackle Kendall Langford (Miami).

          This year was a tight salary cap year for the Rams, but over the first six days of free agency, they have still spent a potential $79.35 million on left tackle Jake Long (Miami) and tight end Jared Cook (Tennessee), and in re-signing defensive end William Hayes.

          Throw in incentives and escalator clauses for Long, Cook and Hayes, and those three contracts could max out at a combined $87.65 million. Say what you will about Stan Kroenke, but he hasn’t been shy about committing dollars to improve the team.

          Long was widely considered the top offensive tackle on the market; Cook was considered one of the top — if not the best —of the tight ends available. So they were big “gets,” but those two moves have all but tapped out the Rams on the salary cap.

          Latest figures from the NFL Players Association show the Rams with 50 players either under contract or tendered as restricted or exclusive rights free agents. And the money expended for those 50 players, plus dead money (money that counts against the cap for players no longer on the team), leaves the Rams with a little over $1 million in cap room.

          So except for some veteran minimum contracts, the Rams are pretty much out of the free agent business for 2013. Even so, they will need to do something — most likely restructure the contract of one of their big-money players — in order to have enough cap room to sign their draft picks.

          Even though Long’s contract averages $8.5 million a year, and Cook’s averages $7.02 million a year, they were structured to be cap friendly in 2013. Long counts a modest $4.25 million and Cook counts only $4 million against the cap in ‘13. Otherwise, the Rams wouldn’t have been able to sign them both.

          Here’s a thumbnail look at the contracts of the new Rams and re-signed Rams, as well as those of Rams who signed elsewhere in free agency:


          NEW RAMS

          JAKE LONG, OT (Miami)

          Basics: 4 years, $34 million. (Includes $5 million signing bonus, $15 million guaranteed.)

          Extras: An additional $2.5 million via incentives and escalator clauses could max out the contract at $36.5 million.

          JARED COOK, TE (Tennessee)

          Basics: 5 years, $35.1 million. (Includes $5 million signing bonus, $19 million guaranteed.)

          Extras: An additional $3.5 million via incentives could max out the contract at $38.6 million.



          RE-SIGNED RAMS

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          -03-28-2013, 07:04 PM
        • Rambos
          Breaking down Saffold's contract
          by Rambos
          By Nick Wagoner | ESPN.com


          EARTH CITY, Mo. -- The drama that unfolded last week surrounding offensive lineman Rodger Saffold's return to the St. Louis Rams after a failed physical with the Oakland Raiders certainly cost Saffold money on the open market.

          Saffold
          Instead of the five-year, $42.5 million contract that included more than $21 million in guaranteed money, the reality of Saffold's deal with the Rams comes in well below that. But Saffold does have plenty of opportunity to land in the ballpark of the guaranteed dollar figure Oakland would have given him by staying healthy and productive and remaining on the Rams roster over the course of the first three years of his contract with St. Louis.

          On the surface, Saffold's deal with the Rams checks in at five years for $31.347 million with a true full guarantee of $11 million. That $11 million includes a fully guaranteed 2014 base salary of $3 million, a $5 million signing bonus and a $3 million 2015 roster bonus.

          There are, however, relatively easy ways for Saffold to earn an additional $8 million-plus. Saffold's $4 million base salary in 2015 and $4.5 million base salary in 2016 become fully guaranteed if he is still on the roster on the third day of the league year in each of those seasons or based on injury guarantees. If Saffold is healthy, the Rams would have the ability to release him before the third day of the league year in 2015 and/or 2016 and not have to realize those guarantees.

          Beyond that, Saffold's contract has its share of built-in escalators in the final four years of the deal. If Saffold doesn't void the final two years and hits all of the incentives and escalators, the deal could climb beyond the $31.347 million total from above.

          2014

          Base salary: $3 million (fully guaranteed)

          Signing bonus: $5 million (fully guaranteed, spread out in $1 million increments over life of contract)

          Roster bonus: $0

          Cash value: $8 million

          Cap value: $4 million

          2015

          Base salary: $4 million (Guaranteed for injury only but becomes guaranteed on third day of league year)

          Signing bonus: $0 ($1 million count against cap)

          Roster bonus: $3 million (Fully guaranteed, to be paid on third day of league year)

          Cash value: $7 million

          Cap value: $8 million

          2016

          Base salary: $4.5 million (Guaranteed for injury only, becomes guaranteed on third day of league year)

          Signing bonus: $0 ($1 million count against cap)

          Roster bonus: Up to $375,000 (Bonus of $23,438 per game active)

          Cash value: $4.875 million

          Cap value: $5.875 million

          2017

          Base salary: $4,722,233

          Signing bonus: $0 ($1 million count against cap)

          ...
          -03-18-2014, 01:31 PM
        • MauiRam
          Gurley's entire contract with Rams is guaranteed ..
          by MauiRam
          By Jim Thomas

          lThe contract for Rams first-round draft pick Todd Gurley, the running back from Georgia, calls for him to make $13.823 million dollars over four years.

          The entire contract is guaranteed, with the Rams even including language in which they agree to pay his full base salary in 2015 and 2016 if Gurley's on the non-football injury list in either or both of those seasons.

          (That's a worst-case scenario guarantee if he has further issues due to the knee injury suffered late last season with the Bulldogs and subsequent surgery.)

          Included in the overall contract is a signing bonus of $8.313 million. Gurley, the 10th overall pick in the draft, counts a modest $2.513 million against the salary cap this season. His cap number never is higher in any one year than $4.398 million over the life of the contract.

          With the Rams announcing the signing of their entire draft class last week, all those contracts are now on file with the NFL Players Association.

          Other than the top two picks, Gurley and right tackle Rob Havenstein, the only guaranteed money for each member of the draft class is signing bonus money. In addition to his signing bonus money, second-rounder Havenstein has his base salary guaranteed in both 2015 and '16.

          Here's the contract breakdown for the 2015 draft class. In some cases, numbers are rounded off:

          RB Todd Gurley Georgia 1st round (10th overall)

          4 years, $13.823 million; $13.823 million guaranteed; $8.313 million signing bonus.

          OT Rob Havenstein Wisconsin 2nd round (57th overall)

          4 years, $3.970 million; $2.198 million guaranteed; $1.147 million signing bonus.

          OG Jamon Brown Louisville 3rd round (72nd overall)

          4 years, $3.251 million; $764,816 signing bonus.

          QB Sean Mannion Oregon St. 3rd round (89th overall)

          4 years, $3.251 million; $626,796 signing bonus.

          OT Andrew Donnal Iowa 4th round (119th overall)

          4 years, $2.777 million; $496,936 signing bonus.

          OG Cody Wichmann Fresno St. 6th round (215th overall)

          4 years, $2.370 million; $90,484 signing bonus.

          LB Bryce Hager Baylor 7th round (224th overall)

          4 years, $2.352 million; $72,140 signing bonus.

          DE Martin Ifedi Memphis 7th round (227th overall)

          4 years, $2.351 million; $71,096 signing bonus.

          In addition, the Rams signed sixth-round wide receiver Bud Sasser of Missouri to a four-year, $2.393 million contract which included a signing bonus of $113,736.

          When Sasser was waived off the non-football illness list because of a heart condition, the team agreed to let him keep the signing bonus. But the rest of the contract was voided once he was released and not claimed by another team.

          So the only part...
          -06-18-2015, 11:13 PM
        • RebelYell
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          I was wondering, what's a pro-bowl DT make? So I went to the 2010 starting lineup for the pro-bowl and then looked at their contracts:

          Haloti Ngata $3 million per year
          Vince Wilfork $8 million per year (high end current estimate of new contract extension)
          Kevin Williams $6 million
          Darnell Dockett $4.5 million

          How about backups?

          Casey Hampton - $7 million (just signed extension)
          Jay Ratliff - $4 million
          Justin Smith (they have him as a DT for the pro-bowl) $8 million

          Pro-bowlers aren't always the best, they are usually seasoned veterans at the top of the game and several of these guys just got extensions.

          If the Rams draft Suh, he'll be paid higher than any of the 2010 pro-bowlers at his position.
          -03-11-2010, 01:50 AM
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