The Los Angeles Rams made it clear that this offseason would look a little different than the ones of years past. They no longer could afford to go big-fish hunting in the hopes of building a star-laden roster. Instead, Les Snead and the Rams front office had to get creative just to get below the salary cap.
L.A. has already made four major money-saving moves to begin the free agency period. The first was releasing both Bobby Wagner and Leonard Floyd, neither of whom has signed elsewhere yet. They also let go of kicker Matt Gay, who signed a historic deal with the Indianapolis Colts.
Finally, they traded All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey to the Miami Dolphins for a third-round draft pick and tight end Hunter Long. Ramsey still has a significant amount — $26 million in guaranteed money — owed over the next two seasons, and the Rams felt it was best to move off of him and get some draft capital as opposed to having to cut him and suffer a dead cap hit of over $30 million.
So now that all of those moves have been done, the question becomes where the Rams stand as they progress through the offseason. All salary cap figures are via OverTheCap.
Unfortunately, the team still does not have enough money to make any significant improvements. They have the sixth-lowest available cap space in the NFL, with just about $8.4 million. That by itself might be enough to get a solid player, but that’s before accounting for draft picks and reaching the roster minimum.
That category — known as effective cap space — has the Rams in fourth-to-last. They have just $1.2 million in effective cap space, with only the Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a worse position.
There is good news for Rams fans who are hoping to build a contender in the near future. This cap misfortune may only be a one-year issue. If the Rams do not make any more moves that affect the 2024 salary cap sheet — such as signing a player to a multi-year contract — they are currently projected to have $55.5 million in cap space next offseason.
They will also have $38.8 million in effective cap space. And there is still room to clear more space if needed by doing moves like trading Allen Robinson and restructuring a few of the top-end contracts.
The Rams could be sitting in a very good spot just one year from today, but it may be at the cost of another difficult season if the Rams remaining stars cannot turn things around.
Taylor Rapp and Nick Scott visiting other teams
A couple of free agent secondary pieces for the Rams are reportedly going on visits to potentially sign with other teams. Taylor Rapp, the one-time standout safety, is visiting the New England Patriots. Meanwhile, cornerback Nick Scott is meeting with the two-time AFC Championship Game participant Cincinnati Bengals.