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How can the Rams configure Jalen Ramsey, Cooper Kupp deals? An expert weighs in

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  • How can the Rams configure Jalen Ramsey, Cooper Kupp deals? An expert weighs in

    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 million in additional money to go,” he said. “Not to mention they haven’t signed any of their draft class yet, which is another seven to eight million dollars of cap right there. So if you’re talking about $12 or $13 million you need to free up, all you really need to do is do a full base-salary restructure on Donald this year, which drops him from $17 million to a little over a million of salary and turns the rest into bonus, and you save just under $13 million of space right there.”

    Ginnitti joined the 11 Personnel podcast to talk about the Ramsey and Kupp deals — and how another receiver is also tied into the equation. The full episode is below, followed by highlights of the conversation.


    On how much money Ramsey could command:

    “To me, his price point is a little over $20 million. It’s not even approaching $20 million. It’s got to be over $20 million. If you’re paying the second-tier wide receiver, which is Amari Cooper or Michael Thomas right now — if you’re putting Julio Jones on his own plane, which I think is probably fair right now — the second-tier wide receiver is Amari Cooper at $20 million. The guy guarding Cooper — that’s generally how it works. You’ve got a quarterback and then you’ve got a guy who rushes the quarterback. That pay, for a long time, aligned itself, and the same goes with the top wide receiver and the top cornerback to shut him down.

    “So $20 million has to be the number for guys like Ramsey, Quinton Dunbar, Tre’Davious White. I don’t know that they all get there. I think maybe the first person to sign of that group comes in at $18 million, and then they step up from there, but when you’re talking about the trade haul and his production and what he’s worth to the Rams right now, from a defensive standpoint, $20 million is the number.”


    On what guarantees Ramsey could command:

    “The percentages are decent. Jones … just locked in a little over 55 percent of his contract, guaranteed at signing. That’s a pretty scary number, when you’re talking about a possible $100 million, $105 million total contract for Ramsey. You’re talking north of $50 million, fully guaranteed, has to go in escrow immediately. So then if you’re tacking on another $20 million for maybe a third year that hasn’t locked in yet, now we’re talking close to $70 million in total guarantees, and that’s a big number. The max right now is $55 million of practical guarantees on a cornerback contract. So it’s possible that Ramsey’s deal, because of how it is on a total value, blows away these guaranteed numbers in terms of $50 million versus $70 million over the next three seasons.”


    On Kupp’s potential money:

    “There’s really two factors that temper his calculated value in our system right now. No. 1 one is the games missed because of injury. Two is, when I put him up against, like, the Thomases and the Tyreek Hills of the world, he’s a couple targets short, on an average basis. And you can understand that, because (the Rams) had three to four weapons leading up to this year, and Brandin Cooks took a lot of those targets away. That’s not going to be the case this year. He’s going to get nine targets a game. It’s going to happen. He may get 10 targets a game. He might be more in Jarvis Landry’s world right now, which is kind of the ‘target king’ right now. Those two things — and they’re small factors in our calculations.

    “He’s still got a really nice number with us right now. But those are holding him back from being into the $19 million, $20 million mark right now. He’s at $17 million right now, which is a huge number when you talk about the fact that he’s about to make two (million) right now with the Rams. So it’s a gigantic leap forward, and oh, by the way, we just had a 20-minute discussion on how the Rams really, we don’t even know if they should be paying players top-market contracts right now, because their (championship) window might be closing. So all of those things will come into play with Kupp staying with the Rams on a long-term basis. But just from a straight, nerdy numbers take at it, he’s valuing at $17 million a year right now.”


    On how Kupp and receiver Robert Woods may be tied together:

    “To me, the X-factor is Woods (who is signed through 2021). I hate to bring him into this, because he is cost-controlled. He was cost-controlled from day one. The production you’ve gotten from him on an $8.5 million contract has been absurd. And I realize that he has missed some time as well, but he’s essentially entering a contract year, in my opinion, because they’re going to have to rip up next year for one or two reasons. Do you extend him as well, on a more cost-controlled extension, or do you have to look to trade (him) this offseason, or maybe during this season, depending on how it goes?

    “That’s a big part of this, because if you’re leaving Kupp as kind of the only guy in the room at the end of the day, and then you’re going to fill in with rookies or some smaller free-agent acquisitions to go behind him, now we’re talking about legitimate WR1 money for Cooper Kupp going forward, and we’re talking about a take above even a Thomas contract, because Thomas, he’s the $19.5 million dollar man — but that was a year and a half ago. So we’ve got to adjust everything for cap adjustments. So we’re going to push ourselves into a $20 million conversation with Kupp, if they decide that he is the singular figure going forward.”


    On whether either player could be a franchise tag candidate:

    “It’s a really good question. I think that would be playing with a ton of fire with Ramsey. Of course, I mean, we saw what happened with Jacksonville, and he has so much leverage with this trade, with the trade haul. So I don’t think he’s the right player for that. But is Kupp the right player for that? That’s a really interesting question, because you’re talking about a franchise tag that should be about $18 million, which sounds familiar, right? That’s exactly what we’re talking about on a multi-year deal for him. So I guess it’s possible that if they don’t get there, and they find themselves in a situation where he does have a monster 2020, like we all kind of think he might, then you do slap that on him, because it’s at least a respectable dollar figure as a placeholder for a couple months, to see what you can do.

    “And look, at that point you might have two more, three more receivers that are north of $20 million. So that’s a bit of a value if you have to look to trade him at that point as well. A tag and trade, which is becoming more and more popular. So it’s not a terrible question. I do think Kupp is the more likely candidate there, though.”

  • #2
    This is an interesting article and focuses on the 2 key players the Rams must re-sign. It's disappointing that the salary cap can force a team to sacrifice a key player who contributes game changing plays but becomes unaffordable as a result. I believe Cooper Kupp will not put the Rams in a bind to re-sign as he exhibits a team first attitude on the field. Ramsey offers real opportunities for Staley to use in multiple defensive schemes, so there is likely some untapped potential. They are essential to re-sign.

    Beyond these 2 there are other players that the Rams may want to re-sign as well. John Johnson at safety and Gerald Everett and Josh Reynolds at TE and WR are the others that come to mind. This recent draft may provide some insight into how the Rams plan to handle those situations. Van Jefferson, Bryson Hopkins and Jordan Fuller each play those positions so there is leverage or replacements for the Rams on the roster.

    A key salary cap matter that doesn't get mentioned is the fact that this is likely Andrew Whitworth's final season, thus adding @$11m to next season's cap. That is my approximation based on my limited knowledge of the salary cap.

    Comment


    • #3
      Let's say they sign both. Then what? The Rams have little to no flexibility with neither of them signed. They're going to have to shed players just to sign one of these guys. Shed more to sign the next guy. And so on. Pretty soon you have 4 big contracts with taxi squad players supporting them.
      :helmet:

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by mh-i View Post
        Let's say they sign both. Then what? The Rams have little to no flexibility with neither of them signed. They're going to have to shed players just to sign one of these guys. Shed more to sign the next guy. And so on. Pretty soon you have 4 big contracts with taxi squad players supporting them.
        I mean, isn't this life in the NFL? You identify the guys who are key to your success, you secure them for the long term, and then you hope your talent evaluators can find replacements for the guys you had to let walk in the process.

        I get that we're talking about big contracts and that can make things more challenging, but all successful teams have to go through this. When KC finally breaks the bank to sign Mahomes to his extension, they're going to say goodbye to some guys they may have otherwise been able to retain. It's the price of having talent.

        Comment


        • #5
          Everything you said is true. Last years Oline is an example of dumming down the talent pool. Don't sign vets from the year before because we couldn't afford them due to Huge contract to Goff an Donald and a sizable contract to Gurley. They were replaced by rookies and maybe types with no depth. Next season we're going with the same group due to lack of funds. This year the LB core is going to get the same treatment for the same reason. The starting crew ends up being a roll of the dice with no cash for anything that looks like depth. That's the real killer. The further we get past the SB year I have to question exactly if Snead and the Rams have a plan to what they are building or is the plan now to just react to the cap and staying under it.
          :helmet:

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by mh-i View Post
            Everything you said is true. Last years Oline is an example of dumming down the talent pool. Don't sign vets from the year before because we couldn't afford them due to Huge contract to Goff an Donald and a sizable contract to Gurley. They were replaced by rookies and maybe types with no depth. Next season we're going with the same group due to lack of funds. This year the LB core is going to get the same treatment for the same reason. The starting crew ends up being a roll of the dice with no cash for anything that looks like depth. That's the real killer. The further we get past the SB year I have to question exactly if Snead and the Rams have a plan to what they are building or is the plan now to just react to the cap and staying under it.
            I would disagree to some extent about the depth. Injuries to the offensive line allowed guys like Edwards and Evans to get on the field, and now the Rams know those two guys can compete for starting spots this year because they held their own in spot time, particularly Evans.

            Also, the LB corps added Leonard Floyd, so I don't think you can really say they're getting the same treatment in terms of not getting guys due to lack of funds. They didn't retain Fowler, which I think can be debated as to whether or not he was worthy of a sizable extension. They're also getting Kiser back, which isn't a new signing but is an addition compared to last year's unit since he was injured.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Nick View Post

              I would disagree to some extent about the depth. Injuries to the offensive line allowed guys like Edwards and Evans to get on the field, and now the Rams know those two guys can compete for starting spots this year because they held their own in spot time, particularly Evans.
              If I may interject, I think one of the players mh-i is alluding to Rodger Saffold and the thinking is we couldn't afford to pay him the $44m he got from Tennessee, given the other priorities. John Sullivan the other departure retired. We did what you alluded to as the way of life in the NFL.

              I look forward to learning how our O-Line is coming together this season. Every pundit loves to point at the O-Line as the Rams vulnerable point, but it is in a transition and we'll have some wins and some losses, but every team has some of this going on. No one can afford 5 all-pros on the O-Line. Hopefully Krommer and the experienced players will coach-up and mentor the younger players so we get the blocking and protection needed.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by mde8352gorams View Post
                If I may interject, I think one of the players mh-i is alluding to Rodger Saffold and the thinking is we couldn't afford to pay him the $44m he got from Tennessee, given the other priorities. John Sullivan the other departure retired. We did what you alluded to as the way of life in the NFL.
                I figured as much. Saffold was signed to a deal that made him one of the Top 15 highest paid guards in the league, Top 10 when you look at guaranteed money. The problem here isn't so much losing Saffold but rather failing to adequately replace him. Noteboom looked like a bust at the position, maybe Corbett will get a shot this season. The "life in the NFL" mantra as it relates to churning the roster only works when you replace the talent you lose, which the Rams have not done a good job when it comes to LG and C.

                Nevertheless, the part of mh-i's response I was addressing was the line, "They were replaced by rookies and maybe types with no depth." I don't think depth was the issue, because injuries allowed us to get a glimpse at Edwards and Evans and they played well enough. Right now, I could make a case for eight OL that could win starting jobs on this line. That's not a depth issue; that's a top end talent issue. Literally every position besides Whitworth at LT could be contested. That happens when you don't have quality, established starters on your roster. The depth is fine.

                Comment


                • #9
                  How about linebacker depth? We lost 3 starters and signed 1. We'll see if Kiser and Okoronkwo can play. We don't know if either can step up. Who's behind them? Again a case of no ability to even consider resigning Littleton, Fowler and Matthew's due to the cap. Depth at corner and safety? Can only be described as thin. Troy Hill a starter? Let's say he can hang somewhat for 16 games. But if he can't who's behind him. Behind Ramsey? Behind the safeties? No depth on defense generally adds up to poor punt and kick coverage on special teams.

                  Don't get me wrong, I hope they can figure out a way to sign both Ramsey and Cupp. But the way I see it it we end up with Donald, Goff, Ramsey, Cupp and cap hell for the foreseeable future. If any of Goff, Donald and Ramsey go down we literally have nobody behind them let alone the behind Kiser and Obo if they do come out the other end and land starting jobs who is behind them?

                  The question is, is it better to have 3 or 4 guys who are at top of their positions or is it better to build a balanced roster with legit guys behind who can step in and stem the tide in case of injuries?
                  :helmet:

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by mh-i View Post
                    How about linebacker depth? We lost 3 starters and signed 1. We'll see if Kiser and Okoronkwo can play. We don't know if either can step up. Who's behind them? Again a case of no ability to even consider resigning Littleton, Fowler and Matthew's due to the cap.
                    This... isn't a very accurate description of what's happened.

                    First, the Rams released Matthews. That was their choice. You've phrased it as if he walked in free agency and they didn't even have the chance to try and keep him. But they did. He was under contract, and they preferred to cut him. Second, by phrasing this only in the context of signings, you ignore the fact that the Rams spent a third round pick on a pass rusher who is widely considered to have first round ability. So really, it would be more accurate to say the Rams lost three (Littleton, Fowler, and Matthews) and added two (Floyd, Lewis).

                    As for who is behind them? The Rams currently have 17 linebackers signed to their offseason roster. It's a bit premature to suggest the fourteen guys who won't be named starters have no chance to provide adequate depth.

                    Does this mean they're fine at that unit? We don't know. Again, this goes back to how successful your personnel department is. Teams can afford to lose talent to free agency if they're able to groom and replace that talent through other signings or through the draft. It remains to be seen if the Rams have done that, but they're hardly the only team in the league that has to go through this. Every team does.



                    Originally posted by mh-i View Post
                    Depth at corner and safety? Can only be described as thin. Troy Hill a starter? Let's say he can hang somewhat for 16 games. But if he can't who's behind him. Behind Ramsey? Behind the safeties? No depth on defense generally adds up to poor punt and kick coverage on special teams.
                    I have to be honest, I think the secondary actually has pretty good depth.

                    Ramsey is an elite #1, and Troy Hill is a fine #2. Behind them, you've got quality players in David Long and Darious Williams, both of whom are guys who IMO could compete for starter openings on other teams. At safety, Johnson and Rapp are emerging young talents, and the Rams just spent additional draft capital to add to the depth behind them. Burgess is going to command some snaps either as a back-up safety or in the nickel rotation.

                    After the starting four, I believe the Rams have 12 defensive backs on their roster. Again, seems very premature to argue there's no depth there.



                    Originally posted by mh-i View Post
                    Don't get me wrong, I hope they can figure out a way to sign both Ramsey and Cupp. But the way I see it it we end up with Donald, Goff, Ramsey, Cupp and cap hell for the foreseeable future. If any of Goff, Donald and Ramsey go down we literally have nobody behind them let alone the behind Kiser and Obo if they do come out the other end and land starting jobs who is behind them?

                    The question is, is it better to have 3 or 4 guys who are at top of their positions or is it better to build a balanced roster with legit guys behind who can step in and stem the tide in case of injuries?
                    Based on these comments, I don't believe there is a team in this league with the kind of depth you're asking for. If you disagree, point me to the roster you'd like the Rams to emulate, the team that can lose an elite player or two without missing a beat because of their excellent depth.

                    You're right that if Goff or Donald or Ramsey go down, then the Rams are probably in trouble. Again, that's life in the NFL. What would have happened to the Chiefs last year if Mahomes went down? To the Ravens if Jackson went down? What would Carolina's offense look without McCaffrey? Who do the Eagles have that could step in and replace the loss of Fletcher Cox? What stud linebacker is Seattle hiding away behind Bobby Wagoner, just in case? Who is stepping in to keep Chicago's pass rush going if Khalil Mack were sidelined?

                    The reality is the salary cap prevents professional rosters from looking like college rosters. Whereas a stud college program may be two-deep with blue chip players at numerous positions, you simply can't afford to do that in the NFL. You have to make sacrifices at some spots when you elect to keep elite talent, and yes, the good teams have elite talent. Look at the two defending conference champions; I could argue the Chiefs have five guys among the top players at their positions, and the ***** have at least three.
                    Last edited by Nick; 3 weeks ago.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      As Ram fans we have to accept the reality of the Cory Littleton situation. He was a great player for us, but his skillset was not compatible with our run defense needs thus paying a player $12m for that deficit makes no sense. An interesting question posed about Littleton and Fowler is how good they will perform without Aaron Donald in front of them. The Raiders and the Falcons do not have a DL anywhere near Donald's talent.

                      Comment

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

                        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...
                        -06-01-2020, 10:38 AM
                      • r8rh8rmike
                        Rams Still Spendimg, Even With Tight Cap
                        by r8rh8rmike
                        Rams still spending, even with tight cap

                        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

                        WILLIAM HAYES, DE

                        Basics: 3 years, $10.25 million. (Includes $3.75 million...
                        -03-28-2013, 07:04 PM
                      • Rambos
                        Potential Cap Casualties
                        by Rambos
                        Cap casualty season: Here are some likely big-name victims

                        By Jason La Canfora

                        The Ravens were still busing downtown to City Hall this morning, preparing for their victory parade through Baltimore, but even as they basked in the hometown celebration of the Lombardi Trophy, they realized change is afoot.

                        The focus is already on the 2013 season, the waiver period has begun, and that means teams are already starting to churn their rosters.

                        Undoubtedly, some big-name, big-money players are soon going to be hitting the street as free agents. For the 31 other teams in the NFL, the process has already begun; and for the champions, the process begins Wednesday when the Ravens' front office convenes with owner Steve Bisciotti to begin the difficult process of reshaping their roster for the future.


                        Teams have already started to contact agents for their players, needing to get hefty contracts restructured to create cap room -- for example, the Vikings can't carry Jared Allen at a $17 million cap hit, and the Lions can't do the same with Matthew Stafford at over a $20 million hit; both will get new deals. The Ravens don't have anything that glaring, although finding a way to create additional space by lowering the base salaries of guys like Terrell Suggs ($6.4 million) and Anquan Boldin ($6 million) is likely.

                        Teams now have just over a month to be cap compliant, and franchise tags will begin being applied in just two weeks. So the business of football is back in full swing, and the future starts now.

                        Later this week, the Titans will make it official and announce they are bringing back running back Chris Johnson -- $9 million of his $10-million salary for 2013 becomes guaranteed if he is on the roster five days after the Super Bowl. But other high-profile players will be looking for a new employer, beginning shortly. The Lions got it started with malcontent Titus Young on Monday, and there will be plenty more to come.

                        Here is a look at some players who could be contract/salary cap casualties, by position:

                        Quarterbacks

                        Michael Vick, Eagles ($15.5 million): He won't be making that kind of money, but something around $10 million isn't out of the question. The Eagles want to keep him at the right price, and I'd expect the Jaguars, Cardinals and Browns to also have interest if he hits the market or is trade bait.

                        Carson Palmer, Raiders ($13 million base salary): There is no way Oakland is going to pay him that kind of money to stay, sources said, and Palmer will have to decide how much cash he's willing to walk away from to stay.

                        Kevin Kolb, Cardinals ($9 million salary, plus $2 million roster bonus): He won't make that kind of money to stay, and I can't imagine Kolb getting the roster bonus, though if he's willing to settle for more like $5 million there could still be an opportunity for him in Arizona....
                        -02-11-2013, 08:24 AM
                      • Nick
                        At 35, Andrew Whitworth sought security that Rams offered
                        by Nick
                        At 35, Andrew Whitworth sought security that Rams offered
                        6:41 PM ET
                        Katherine Terrell
                        ESPN Staff Writer

                        CINCINNATI -- The departure of Cincinnati Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth essentially came down to long-term security, according to his agent Pat Dye.

                        Whitworth agreed to a three-year deal Thursday with the Los Angeles Rams. The deal is worth $36 million with $15 million guaranteed.

                        The Bengals' best offer was a one-year deal worth $10 million, Dye said, refuting reports that the Bengals were willing to go as high as $11-12 million. The possibility of a second year was not on the table.

                        Whitworth will make $7.5 million in base salary in Year 1 with a $5 million signing bonus up front, essentially giving him almost $13 million in salary in 2017. He has the opportunity to make up to $24.5 million over the first two years of the deal.

                        What interested Whitworth the most was the stability of a longer deal in what could be his last contract. At 35, Whitworth is the oldest left tackle in the league.

                        The Rams were willing to guarantee $2.5 million in the second year of his contract, giving him a much better chance of being on the team by then. By guaranteeing a portion of his 2018 salary, the Rams would have to absorb several million if they released him after only one year, including the prorated portion of his signing bonus, which would immediately accelerate into that year's cap.

                        That would mean around $5.8 million in dead money for the Rams if Whitworth is cut in 2018, which is a significant investment.

                        It was clear there was no such job security with the Bengals, who drafted two tackles in the first two rounds of the 2015 draft in preparation for Whitworth's departure. The Bengals have preferred to go year-to-year on Whitworth's contract due to his age. His last contract extension was a one-year deal signed in 2015 worth $9 million.

                        The Bengals will now move on with Cedric Ogbuehi at left tackle. The Bengals will lose a team captain who was second only to Andy Dalton in the amount of offensive snaps taken since 2012.

                        The Rams were interested in obtaining Whitworth for not only his play on the field, but for his off-the-field impact as well, seeing him as a mentor to their young offensive linemen.

                        "They really made him feel wanted," Dye said.

                        Dye said it was a difficult decision for Whitworth, who has been in Cincinnati since they selected him in the second round of the 2006 draft and has raised his family there. If the contract terms had been close to what other terms offered, Whitworth would have accepted Cincinnati's deal. However, the Rams' offer was significantly more competitive.

                        "Andrew loves it there, loves the Bengals organization, he loves [coach Marvin Lewis], the fans, the city," Dye said. "If this thing had been equal or...
                        -03-09-2017, 03:50 PM
                      • RamWraith
                        Less still is more for Long
                        by RamWraith
                        By Jim Thomas
                        ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
                        07/31/2008

                        MEQUON, WIS. — There's less than meets the eye with defensive end Chris Long's contract. But the No. 2 overall pick from Virginia still is a very rich man.

                        Technically, Long's contract is worth $60 million over six years. But in truth, it will end up being a five-year, $48 million deal. That's because the sixth year of the deal voids if Long participates in 35 percent of the Rams' defensive plays this year. Or 45 percent of their defensive plays in any subsequent year (years two through five). Barring a series of injuries, Long should easily reach the playing time level. He is, after all, the Rams' starting right defensive end, and was so from the day they drafted him.

                        First-round contracts, particularly for those players drafted in the top 10, have become extremely complicated in today's NFL. In the case of Long's deal, he does not receive a traditional signing bonus.

                        But in lieu of a straight signing bonus, Long gets a whopping $22.385 million in guaranteed money. In addition, he received a $2.605 million roster bonus, just a couple of days after signing his contract. And, Long also is eligible for a one-time incentive bonus of $4.01 million if he reaches a combination of relatively easy to reach playing time, team goals, and individual incentives. So you could make the case that Long basically will receive $29 million in guaranteed money by adding the three figures above.

                        According to league sources and the NFL Players Association, the rest of the contracts in the Rams' 2008 draft class are pretty much standard fare. Second-round draft pick Donnie Avery's four-year deal includes $2.77 million in combination signing bonus and guaranteed money.

                        The team's other six contracts are all three-year deals that include straight signing bonuses plus minimum base salaries in all three years.
                        -07-31-2008, 04:20 AM
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