Rams have plenty of cap space in 2019, and they’ll need it

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The Rams are building a team designed to go for broke in 2018, with the offseason acquisitions of players like Brandin Cooks, Ndamukong Suh, Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib. But can they afford to keep all of those players in 2019?

The good news is, the Rams are in great salary cap shape for 2019: According to Spotrac.com, the Rams have $81 million in 2019 cap space, the second-most of any team in the NFL.

The bad news is, the Rams are going to need every penny of that cap space in 2019 to keep their top players in Los Angeles.

The top priority will be defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who is heading into the final season of his contract. He’ll want a new deal that makes him the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL, and he’s certain to have a big cap hit in 2019.

Cooks is also going into the final year of his contract. You don’t trade a first-round draft pick for a player just to let him walk away after one year, so the Rams will surely work on getting Cooks done, with a pricey deal that will chip away at that 2019 cap space.

Suh is on a one-year deal. With all the Rams’ cap space, perhaps they can afford to sign him to another deal next year, but that cap space will dry up once they start getting deals done with Donald, Cooks and other players. There’s a good chance Suh will head elsewhere in a year.

Talib still has two more years on his contract, but he’s 32 years old and may no longer be worth his $11 million base salary. There’s a reason the Broncos made it known they were looking to trade Talib and could only get a fifth-round draft pick for him in return: He’s old and expensive. He’s a player you acquire to win now, but not a player you build around.

Peters, as the Chiefs’ 2015 first-round draft pick, has an affordable salary of $1.7 million this year. But that salary will skyrocket to $9.5 million when the Rams pick up his fifth-year option for 2019. Ditto for the Rams’ own 2015 first-round pick, Todd Gurley, who whose salary likewise skyrockets from $2.3 million this year to $9.6 million next year.

Rams safety Lamarcus Joyner is on the franchise tag this year, which means he’s not under contract in 2019, which means the Rams are either going to lose him or pay him a whole lot of money a year from now.

And one other position the Rams need to be thinking about is left tackle, where last year’s acquisition of Andrew Whitworth was a great move in the short term but not a solution in the long term. Whitworth will turn 37 this year and realistically won’t be around much longer. Left tackles are expensive, and the Rams will need to go shopping for a new one to protect Jared Goff sooner rather than later.

All of these old and/or expensive players can’t be replaced easily in the draft because the Rams have traded away so many picks: They sent their first-round pick to New England for Cooks, their second-round pick to Buffalo for Sammy Watkins, their fourth-round pick this year and second-round pick next year to Kansas City for Peters, their fifth-round pick to Denver for Talib and their seventh-round pick to Washington for Derek Carrier. The Rams have added some draft picks in trades as well, but those are late in the draft: The Rams’ first draft pick is 87th overall, and that’s their only pick in the Top 130.

So it’s fun to watch the Rams go all-in for 2018. But this whole thing could go south quickly. Adding players in the last years of their contracts and trading away high draft picks is a good way to fall off a cliff in 2019.

57 responses to “Rams have plenty of cap space in 2019, and they’ll need it

  1. Goff is also a huge question mark. Yes, he was much better last season but is he good enough for the long term? If not, their situation could get even more dicey rather quickly.

  2. The Cooks trade was stupid, but it eliminates draft risk. Cooks is a decent player, who they now have to pay too much for and that just adds to their problem. They could have done better holding that draft pick in both the short and long runs. If Edelman had not been hurt last year, there is no way Cooks would be a thousand yard receiver. The Saints traded him away because they also didn’t see him as a #1 option and they were better without him. You can add veterans and eliminate risk. You can do it better than this.

  3. Of their currently 64 contracted players, only 37 are under contract in 2019 and 27 will be free agents. Cap space will be eaten up quickly with most of the big names on the team due new contracts. BUT; 2018 could be a great year and it’s clear they are “all-in.”

  4. .
    The Rams have secondary agendas besides just winning the Super Bowl.. One is to win the marketing battle of Los Angeles against the Chargers. Another is to sell PSL’s for their new stadium. Having a winner on the field helps both these causes.

    Have the Rams done a good job of creating an NFL buzz in Southern California? I’d say that they have gone far beyond that and created national interest. Who doesn’t want to watch the Rams with all their new, high priced imported veterans?
    .

  5. Is Aaron Donald really worth paying though? He has been training with knives and that could result in a serious long term injury. I would pay Suh (more proven) than Donald (more awards, less proven).

  6. Rams and Vikings are going for it in 2018 but I’ll still take the Eagles as the team to beat in the NFC.

  7. They traded for Cooks because they quickly became smart enough to realize that OBJ isnt getting traded. Rams are going to be very good this year….they have as good a shot at a SB title as anyone. They arent worried about what they have to pay in 2019.

  8. Hahaha is he worth paying because he trains with fake knives? Oh brother. It’s fair to ask since the dollar he’s going to command but for 1) that’s the most ridiculous reasoning to question anything and 2) yes, yes he is worth paying

  9. I recall the Skins doing this for much of the early 2000’s. What did that earn them? Great players don’t equal a championship team.

  10. The Rams and their high priced mercenaries can’t beat the Eagles with their unrivaled team chemistry. There’s no I in team and the Rams didn’t strengthen their team cohesion.

  11. They should also try to get Goff extended before the 2019 season but there’s no way they will have the cap space.

  12. mykelane says:
    April 4, 2018 at 4:55 am

    They should try to emulate the super bowl winning eagles, not the dream team eagles.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Even the iggles aren’t emulating the Superbowl winning iggles… those idiots are about to go down in history as the dummies who benched the Superbowl MVP Winning QB!!! Change what’s working is a great idea… NOT!!!

  13. What does it even matter if they go over the cap? What penalty does the NFL impose when a team goes over? Genuinely asking.

  14. Just for the record you don’t trade a second round pick for a player and let him walk after one year (see Watkins deal). This has nothing to deal with long term success. This is being done so Stanley can sell SSLs at his new palace. Once he has the fan’s money he could care less about the team. Get use to it LA fans! Oh, and by the way, once the teams starts tanking and he starts getting questioned he will disappear.

  15. Last yr’s second on a WR and this yrs first on a WR but leaving you with only one of them. That’s a move that backfires quickly. Nevertheless this is their year SB or Bust!

  16. Christopher says:

    April 4, 2018 at 7:26 am

    DREAM TEAM 2.0

    _____________

    Can we stop with the dumb “Dream Team” comparison, because it’s lazy and shows a lack of knowledge. Nnamdi Asomugha(bad scheme fit), Jason Babin, Ronnie Brown, Vince Young, Cullen Jenkins, and Ryan Harris are nowhere near as good as Peters, Talib, Suh, and Cooks

  17. The Rams will only challenge as long as Andrew Whitworth is starting.

    When Whitworth retires… the dream is over.

  18. bbb82 says:
    April 4, 2018 at 7:51 am

    What does it even matter if they go over the cap? What penalty does the NFL impose when a team goes over? Genuinely asking.

    The NFL’s cap is a hard cap that the teams have to stay under at all times, and the salary floor is also a hard floor; penalties for violating or circumventing the cap and floor regulations include fines of up to $5 million for each violation, cancellation of contracts and/or loss of draft picks. Anything else you want to be know about?

  19. Yep – Kroenke is opening up his purse to generate lots of excitement in LA in order to sell PSLs and luxury boxes for the new stadium – at truly astronomical prices.

    The Rams have a good, young team, sure, but they’re not gonna surprise anyone this year, and every team will have a season’s worth of tape on Goff.

    The thing that Kroenke and the NFL won’t admit – ever – is that the LA market has fickle, front-running fans (if it’s such a great market why have so many other teams left?). Part of that is that so many people from other parts of the country live in LA – and they root for their hometown teams.

    It’s really hard to fill a stadium on a consistent basis, which they need to do to generate income. They’ll get a bump in interest when the new stadium opens, but within a few years even that will be half empty. If the Rams make the playoffs there will be excitement, but even that wont guarantee a full stadium.

  20. The dream team comparison is apt. You could even compare it to when the Lakers brought in Malone and Payton to team with Kobe and Shaq. Pundits talked about them winning 70 games, they didn’t, and got bounced early in the playoffs.

    Rams got a good thing going in a very down year for the Seahawks. They will find it hard to repeat when Seattle is on the rebound and San Fran is looking like they are on the rise. Plus there’s still the Eagles, Falcons, Packers, Panthers, Saints and Vikings looking good, and Giants and Cowboys looking for bounce-back seasons. Tpugh going in the NFC.

    Meanwhile, the friggin Jaguars still look like the only remote threat to the Patriots in the lowly AFC

  21. “Can we stop with the dumb “Dream Team” comparison, because it’s lazy and shows a lack of knowledge. Nnamdi Asomugha(bad scheme fit), Jason Babin, Ronnie Brown, Vince Young, Cullen Jenkins, and Ryan Harris are nowhere near as good as Peters, Talib, Suh, and Cooks”

    Yes, but the moniker was in reference to the Eagles entire roster of that year , which also included Vick, McCoy, DJax, Maclin, Celek, Peters, Kielce, Trent Cole, Asante Samuel, and Rodgers Cromartie… a roster absolutely loaded with names. But just names. The Eagles won the SB last year with incredible depth and cohesiveness . The Rams model may in fact pan out tt his year- they have incredible front end talent – but there really isn’t an example I can think of where it did .

  22. I understand why the Pats did the deal- Cooks wanted to get paid and receivers are getting a ton this year and the Pats were not going to go there with him. The Rams are the question for me. They paid a 2nd round draft pick for one year of Sammy Watkins and now they paid a first rounder for a good receiver who will want Watkins money (probably more) to sign long term as he is in his contract year. If you don’t meet his demands, he plays for a year and then hits free agency. Not sure I agree with giving the player all of the leverage but hey, I’m not a football guy

  23. like the Eagles, they are going all in knowing there will be a few down years once they have to pay their QB.

  24. The Rams do look like the team to beat next year, but like they said these guys were made available because their own teams didn’t want them. Peters became a headache in Kansas City, same thing for Talib and he was getting old. Suh, everybody knows his history. The Patriots giving up Cooks is surprising, but they have Edelman coming back so they didn’t think too much of Cooks. Let’s see if these guys don’t implode the team.

  25. bbb82 says:
    April 4, 2018 at 7:51 am
    What does it even matter if they go over the cap? What penalty does the NFL impose when a team goes over? Genuinely asking.

    8 3 Rate This

    ———————-

    Depends how cushy the owner of a team is with Goodell. When Denver cheated the cap 3 straight years in 1995, 1996 and 1997, they only got a slap on the wrist with a 3rd rd pick and some other minor draft pick later on after the audits were run after the 1998 season.

    Only SF and Pitt were also caught cheating the cap, but it was only for 1 season so it may have been more of a mistake at the dawn of the cap era, as opposed to intended cheating.

  26. Wahhhh im a fan of another team and I hate the Rams so much for trying to win! Wahhh, wahhh.

    Listen up losers – tomorrow isn’t promised. Can’t win with human beings. Ever. Rams get crap for being listless, and perennial nobodies – now they get crap for stockpiling talent. Pick a side and stay on that side.

  27. “like the Eagles, they are going all in knowing there will be a few down years once they have to pay their QB.”

    Bad comparison . Eagles have their young core locked up and are combining them with cheap draft pick salaries and veterans on cheap, team friendly deals

  28. sceaglesfan says:
    April 4, 2018 at 8:50 am
    I understand why the Pats did the deal- Cooks wanted to get paid and receivers are getting a ton this year and the Pats were not going to go there with him. The Rams are the question for me. They paid a 2nd round draft pick for one year of Sammy Watkins and now they paid a first rounder for a good receiver who will want Watkins money (probably more) to sign long term as he is in his contract year. If you don’t meet his demands, he plays for a year and then hits free agency. Not sure I agree with giving the player all of the leverage but hey, I’m not a football guy

    —————————

    Les Snead is a moron, plain and simple aka Kroenke is going wild to generate PSL interest for greed.

    This is what Woody Johnson did with the Jets in 2008 and 2009. The Jets still haven’t recovered.

  29. They are loading up to make a run for the sb in 2018. If they fail, they may “reset” or “rebuild” and just trade or cut the players with the expensive contracts.

  30. @TaeCH326 says:

    Can we stop with the dumb “Dream Team” comparison, because it’s lazy and shows a lack of knowledge. Nnamdi Asomugha(bad scheme fit), Jason Babin, Ronnie Brown, Vince Young, Cullen Jenkins, and Ryan Harris are nowhere near as good as Peters, Talib, Suh, and Cooks
    ======================================================================================
    Upon further review of your statement, your post is reversed because:
    Suh is the equivalent of Babin/Jenkins combined.
    Talib is the equivalent of Asomugha (it wasn’t scheme, his ass was old like Talib).
    Ronnie Brown and Vince Young were 3rd stringers.

  31. If buying a Super Bowl was that easy don’t you think the Redskins and Cowboys would’ve won a few this century?

  32. So, they will have a bunch of cap room and fewer draft picks. Then, you make the assumption that they will spend most of that money on the guys you refer to as old and expensive. If they will have money and not picks, why would they not let the old guys walk, and use that pile of money to sign some younger players to fill those spots? Just because they are trying to build a team in a different way than other teams does not mean their play cannot work.

  33. sceaglesfan says:
    April 4, 2018 at 5:53 am
    Rams and Vikings are going for it in 2018 but I’ll still take the Eagles as the team to beat in the NFC.
    _________________________________

    One win does not create a dynasty, and you’ll be lucky enough just to make it out of the division in 2019.

  34. bigblue00 says:

    April 4, 2018 at 10:45 am
    sceaglesfan says:
    April 4, 2018 at 5:53 am
    Rams and Vikings are going for it in 2018 but I’ll still take the Eagles as the team to beat in the NFC.
    _________________________________

    One win does not create a dynasty, and you’ll be lucky enough just to make it out of the division in 2019.
    ==============================================
    All dynasties begin with ONE WIN! Can’t have a dynasty without that first one…

  35. LA is doomed but that’s their own doing. Going all out for a short time buzz? LA has already proven they may not support even one NFL team. So what do greedy shortsighted “go all out now” owners do? Put TWO teams there and build a 2 billion dollar stadium. Rich people being stupid, sort of like building the Revel casino in Atlantic City which cost mega millions, lasted a year, went bankrupt and is now shuttered. How long before the Rams and Chargers cannibalize and annoy their frail market and wear people out so that they won’t even drawn fans or interest to their 2 billion dollar stadium? Talk about embarrassing. To the pit of misery, dilly dilly!

  36. The Rams are putting themselves in quite a precarious situation a year from now and then 2 years from now. They are certainly looking good this year, but is a 1 year gamble worth it when mortgaging the next 3-4? Gurley, Goff, Donald, Cooks, Peters are all younger guys who are facing big paydays in the next 2 years.

    They better not botch a Donald extension due to their carelessness.

  37. The Rams own LA. The Chargers are a step child, afterthought with no fan base. They are renting everything…playing space, practice space, administrative space, you name it. The Chargers have no identity, no home. Sadly, we’re watching the disintegration of a franchise that the NFL/Goodell and it’s owners allowed to happen. What a mess! They don’t talk about it.

  38. As now constituted the Rams have a lot of high end talent. But with the inevitable injures that will occur, the real question is how much depth do they have?

    They are certainly the team to beat in the NFCW and quite possibly the NFC in general. Beyond 2018…who knows. They certainly will be challenged to keep all of this talent together.

  39. When all those egos get in a room after a loss, how long before the whole thing implodes. There is a reason you build your team through the draft and why the NFL is NOT like baseball, you can’t buy an NFL championship, the NFL is still the ultimate team sport.

  40. Actually the Rams are in pretty decent shape moving forward. They have a lot of salary cap space as mentioned which will allow them to sign the key guys like Donald, Peters and now Cooks. Talib’s contract drops to 8 mill next year so that won’t be a burden. Suh is a one year rental. I don’t see him being in their long term plans unless they decide to go with him and cut Brockers. The largest contract on the books for next year is Whitworth who depending on how he plays this year may be off the books or restructured. Austin is the 3rd largest contract at 9.3 mill which will be gone. They will have to make a decision on Gurley of course but any RB not named Leveon Bell is going to come in at 8-9 mill so that is doable. They have a year before redoing Goff’s contract as well so they can control how much of a hit he brings in his option year.

    No the Rams are actually doing this pretty smartly. You can question the draft picks they’ve given up, but they got good players for those picks who they can keep long term. They aren’t on the hook for any money beyond this year, and have put together a team they can keep most of the core of for the foreseeable future.

  41. I love all the non Ram fans who have no idea what they’re talking about. Calling Snead a moron? They acquired Peters, Talib, Suh, Cooks to go with Goff, Gurley, Donald, Joyner, etc…..and have the second most cap space in the league in 2019.

    I’ll take that kind of moron any day.

  42. Good moves by the Lambs, go for it I say. They have the cap space and the window of opportunity. Tomorrow ain’t promised. It’s going to be a great season for true rabid football fans. Multiple much watch games. DirectTV will be utilized to record. My Vikes, as are several teams, are locked and loaded also. Let the games begin!!!!

  43. I guess many forget they couldn’t even win one playoff game last season and they don’t have the good fortune of playing a last place schedule in 2018. It’s not going to be as easy for them this upcoming season. Everyone will be better prepared for the 2nd coach and his Rams team.

  44. GOAT says:
    April 4, 2018 at 12:00 pm
    Injuries to Goff or Gurley would derail their whole season.

    ——————————————–
    agree, but I would take that a step further. Gurley is the straw that stirs the drink IMO, if he gets injured I predict you see a fall back to mediocrity for Goff the same way you saw Dak look very average last year.

  45. fballguy says:
    April 4, 2018 at 12:50 pm
    I love all the non Ram fans who have no idea what they’re talking about. Calling Snead a moron? They acquired Peters, Talib, Suh, Cooks to go with Goff, Gurley, Donald, Joyner, etc…..and have the second most cap space in the league in 2019.

    I’ll take that kind of moron any day.

    Sure, they have cap space…to sign their own ridiculous amount of free agents… Your narrative misses that truly key point. $90 mil will go fast when Donald is getting $20-$25, Cooks $13-15, Peters $15-$18, etc. That cap space you see also does not factor in the team options on those last year deals. The Rams will have approximately $20 mil to play with after alotting $ to the 2019 draft.

    That is not a lot of cap room to add to the team. That scenario also takes into account letting Suh and Joyner walk. So by doing the math. The team gets weaker, has less depth and will truly rely on if Goff is a franchise qb or a just a poor man’s Alex Smith. We will see.

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