The Los Angeles Rams won Super Bowl LVI and will be looking to #RunItBack With Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Donald in their primes. With not a lot of cap space and limited draft capital, however, repeating will be more difficult that usual.
This is a team without a selection in the top-100 in the upcoming draft and currently the one of the lowest cap numbers in the league heading into free agency.
Below, I’ll attempt to predict how the Rams will approach the next two months by laying out a full-scale mock offseason that includes potential extensions, free agency signings, and draft picks, all while keeping a running log of the team’s cap space.
Los Angeles Rams Salary Cap Room, before the NFL Combine: ~$-20 million
Current Los Angeles Rams depth chart
QB – Matthew Stafford, John Wolford, Bryce Perkins
RB – Cam Akers, Darrell Henderson, Xavier Jones, Jake Funk
WR – Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Van Jefferson, Ben Skowronek, Brandon Powell, TuTu Atwell, Landon Akers
TE – Tyler Higbee, Brycen Hopkins, Kendall Blanton, Jacob Harris
RT – Rob Havenstein, Bobby Evans, Alaric Jackson, Adrian Ealy
LT – Andrew Whitworth, Chandler Brewer, Max Pircher
RG – Bobby Evans, Jamil Demby
LG – David Edwards, Tremayne Anchrum, Jeremiah Kolone
C – Coleman Shelton, Drake Jackson
DE – Aaron Donald, A’Shawn Robinson, Earnest Brown IV, Jonah Williams, Marquise Copeland, Michael Hoecht
NT – Greg Gaines, Bobby Brown III
OLB – Leonard Floyd, Terrell Lewis, Justin Hollins, Anthony Hines III, Chris Garrett
ILB – Ernest Jones, Travin Howard, Christian Rozeboom
CB – Jalen Ramsey, David Long, Robert Rochell, Tyler Hall, Kareem Orr, Grant Haley
S – Taylor Rapp, Jordan Fuller, Terrell Burgess, Nick Scott, Jake Gervase, Antoine Brooks
P – Johnny Hekker,
K – Matt Gay, Austin McGinnis
LS – Matt Orzech
*Note: The offseason salary cap uses the team’s top 51 cap hits, which factors into how much cap room new contracts will take off the books. For example, if the Rams sign a player that has a $1 million cap hit, you subtract the 51st-highest cap hit (e.g. $500,000) from the $1 million, equaling an additional ~$500,000 on this year’s cap from the new contract. All contract information comes from Over The Cap.
Rams’ top needs: C, G, S, LB, TE, RB, DL, EDGE
Work the Cap
Restructure Jalen Ramsey
This is a must this offseason if the Rams are to get under the cap. A base salary restructure would save the Rams $10M. That gets the Rams within $10M of being under the cap. This isn’t a team that has obvious cap casualties. Therefore, restructures are going to be the way to go.
Restructure Cooper Kupp
A fourth restructure. This is the year however to restructure Cooper Kupp. Doing this, would open up $10M in cap space. This gives the Rams above the cap, but they’ll need to do more if they want to bring in free agents.
Restructure Leonard Floyd
The Rams need to bring back Von Miller. They can save $10M by restructuring Leonard Floyd’s contact. This is money that they can use to sign Miller who played a crucial role in the team’s Super Bowl run.
Extend Matthew Stafford
Some might look at this move and consider it too early to extend Matthew Stafford. While Stafford taking something around $30-$35M would be nice, that’s unlikely. Spotrac predicted a 4-year, $168M extension which seems more realistic. With that being said, the Rams can reduce the number this year which would save the Rams $17.5M here.
Extend Aaron Donald
Aaron Donald wants and has earned a contract extension that keeps him among the top paid defensive players in the NFL. According to Spotrac, the Rams can re-work Donald’s contract as three years, $60M which would give him $20M/year and save the Rams $9M this season.
Andrew Whitworth Retires
While it would be nice to see Andrew Whitworth return to the Los Angeles Rams, it just doesn’t seem likely. Whitworth will ride off into the sunset with a Super Bowl win against his former team. This will open up $16M in cap space.
Running Cap Total: $53.4M
There are other things that the Rams could do to save some money such as cut Johnny Hekker or Tyler Higbee. However, the net gain of losing those players isn’t enough to justify losing them. It doesn’t make sense to open up cap space for the sake of opening up cap space.
Stay or Go: Impending Los Angeles Rams Free Agents
Place Original Round Tender on K Matt Gay
After what the Rams went through in 2019, they won’t let Matt Gay leave the building. He made some big kicks for them last season and has been a bright spot on special teams.
Place ROFR Tender on Travin Howard
Travin Howard started last season hurt, but played a role down the stretch. It wouldn’t be surprising to see his role expanded this season. He’s worth bringing back for only $2.4M.
Place ROFR Tender on Coleman Shelton
Shelton at the very least provides the Rams some depth on the offensive line. In games he appeared in last season, he showed that he was someone worth keeping around.
Re-Sign EDGE Von Miller
Contract: two years, $25M
Estimated 2022 cap-hit: $12.5M
Von Miller will be the top priority for the Rams this offseason. They didn’t trade draft picks for him just to be a one-year thing. He may want to go back to the Broncos, but the Broncos may not be able to afford or want to bring him back. A two-year deal makes the most sense for Miller and he makes $10+M per year.
Re-Sign WR Odell Beckham Jr.
Odell Beckham Jr. wants to return to Los Angeles. There’s no doubt that the fit was there down the stretch. He and Stafford were hitting on all strides. My guess is that this is also a two year deal that’s heavily incentivized with a boost in 2023.
Contract: two years, $18M, $8M guaranteed
Estimated 2022 cap-hit: $5M
Re-Sign C Brian Allen
Allen will also likely be a priority for the Rams. He played well for the most part at center last season and is someone that Stafford has a connection with. With that said, other teams could price the Rams out of his market as he’ll be a hot commodity. They didn’t want to play Blythe $2.5M last offseason and they won’t pay Allen his projected $7M this offseason.
Contract: two years, $11M, $6M guaranteed
Estimated 2022 cap-hit: $5.5M.
Re-Sign LT Joseph Noteboom
Contract: One year, $4 million, $2.25 million total guaranteed
Estimated 2022 cap-hit: $4M
Noteboom is a curious case. Could he get upwards of $10M per year? Definitely. Pro Football Focus has has value at four-million per year right now. He’ll likely need a prove it year of him starting before cashing in on left tackle money.
Let Austin Corbett, Darious Williams, Sony Michel, Troy Reeder, Sebastian Joseph-Day, Donte Deayon, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Johnny Mundt, Brandon Powell, Jamil Demby, John Wolford, and Brandon Powell hit free agency.
It’s going to be difficult for the Rams to do a lot in free agency and that applies to bringing back some of their own. It wouldn’t be surprising if they try to bring back guys like Sebastian Joseph-Day, Sony Michel, and Austin Corbett. However, those are players they may get priced out of.
Draft pick allotment
Before the Los Angeles Rams dive headfirst into free agency, we need to account for how much their 202s draft class and the signing bonuses for undrafted free agents will count against the cap. After looking at the money tied to each selection that the Rams have they will need to set aside $4M-$5M. We set the draft allotment at $7 million, just in case.
Rams’ Salary Cap room before free agency: ~16M
Unrestricted free agency
*Begins March 16 at 4:00 p.m. ET
Sign CB Stephon Gilmore
Contract: Two years, $25M, $17.5M guaranteed)
Estimated 2022 cap-hit: $12.5M
The Rams need to add a cornerback opposite of Jalen Ramsey. Gilmore had a down year in Carolina and is coming off of injury. Ramsey tried to recruit Gilmore last summer and there’s no doubt he’d love to have him join the Rams secondary. This would give the Rams a veteran opposite of Ramsey much like Aqib Talib in 2018.
Sign RB/WR Cordarrelle Patterson
Contract: two-years, $12M, $8.25M guaranteed
Estimated 2022 cap-hit: $3M
This one may be more unlikely, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Los Angeles Rams go after a running back. Patterson isn’t even really as much of a running back as he is an offensive weapon. Sean McVay saw Kyle Shanahan use Deebo Samuel last season with a lot of success. That would be the pitch to Patterson to get him to come to Los Angeles.
2022 NFL Draft
*Draft simulation completed using The Draft Network’s Mock Draft Simulator.
Now that the Rams have taken care of some of their own and addressed a need in free agency, it’s time to look at the draft. The Rams don’t have a selection until 57 overall, therefore, the focus will be to get players who can come in and play a role early while developing into future starters.
Rams’ top needs, post-free agency: iOL, OT, EDGE, DL, LB
The Pick at 103: TE Cade Otton, Washington
Do the Rams need a tight end? Not really. However, they lost Johnny Mundt in free agency and Tyler Higbee’s contract is up after the 2023 season. The Rams also took Jacob Harris last season, but he has more of a wide receiver build. Otton is a good route-runner who was limited in Washington’s offense. He could develop nicely with McVay.
The Pick at 141: S Sterling Weatherford, Miami (OH).
Sterling Weatherford is a very underrated prospect and hits measurables that the Rams care about. GPS captured Weatherford running 18.99 mph at the Senior Bowl, which is just below Kyle Dugger’s GPS (19.07). He has good length and ball skills which the Rams value at the safety position. At the very least, he provides good depth as a rookie.
The Pick at 174: iOL Cam Jurgens, Nebraska
The Rams will need to add players on the interior of the offensive line after losing Austin Corbett in free agency. Cam Jurgens would be a good fit and a steal at this spot. He was a three-year starter and is a smart player. He’s not versatile which the Rams do value, but the talent here is too good to pass up.
The Pick at 209: CB Damarion Williams, Houston
Williams is likely a nickel cornerback at the next level. However, the Rams could use some depth at corner and a nickel cornerback. David Long has been up and down and the Rams didn’t re-sign Donte Deayon. Williams replaces Deayon as a developmental cornerback with upside.
The Pick at 210: LB Joshua Ross, Michigan
The Rams need to add some depth at linebacker and Ross shows strong leadership and fits nicely in a 3-4. Ross would replace Troy Reeder’s role in the Rams defense.
The Pick at 212: DL MarQuan McCall, Kentucky
Marquan McCall had a very good Shrine Bowl and is your typical NFL nose tackle. With the Rams losing Sebastian Joseph-Day, McCall makes a lot of sense late in the draft.
The Pick at 235: S Verone McKinley III
At this point in the draft, the Rams will be looking for potential special team players or guys with upside. McKinley doesn’t have the size or length, but he has a nose for the ball. He was tied for the nation lead in interceptions last season.
The Pick at 250: EDGE Amarè Bruno, Virginia Tech
Amarè Bruno is a very good athlete and is exactly the type of player that you take late in the draft. He could be a very good special teams player to start and develop into a rotational pass rusher in a year or two. His athleticism is off the charts.
Los Angeles Rams Depth Chart Post-2020 NFL Draft
QB (2) – Matthew Stafford, Bryce Perkins
RB (5) – Cam Akers, Darrell Henderson, Cordarrelle Patterson, Xavier Jones, Jake Funk
WR (8) – Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Odell Beckham Jr., Van Jefferson, Ben Skowronek, Brandon Powell, TuTu Atwell, Landon Akers
TE (5) – Tyler Higbee, Brycen Hopkins, Cade Otton, Kendall Blanton, Jacob Harris
RT (4) – Rob Havenstein, Bobby Evans, Alaric Jackson, Adrian Ealy
LT (3) – Joseph Noteboom, Chandler Brewer, Max Pircher
RG (1) – Bobby Evans
LG (3) – David Edwards, Tremayne Anchrum, Jeremiah Kolone
C (4) – Brian Allen, Cam Jurgens, Coleman Shelton, Drake Jackson
DE (6) – Aaron Donald, A’Shawn Robinson, Earnest Brown IV, Jonah Williams, Marquise Copeland, Michael Hoecht
NT (3) – Greg Gaines, Bobby Brown III, Marquan McCall
OLB (7) – Von Miller, Leonard Floyd, Terrell Lewis, Justin Hollins, Anthony Hines III, Chris Garrett, Amarè Bruno
ILB (4) – Ernest Jones, Travin Howard, Christian Rozeboom, Joshua Ross
CB (7) – Jalen Ramsey, David Long, Robert Rochell, Damarion Williams, Tyler Hall, Kareem Orr, Grant Haley
S (8) – Taylor Rapp, Jordan Fuller, Terrell Burgess, Sterling Weatherford, Verone McKinley III, Nick Scott, Jake Gervase, Antoine Brooks
P – Johnny Hekker,
K – Matt Gay, Austin McGinnis
LS – Matt Orzech
This gives them 73 total players, with the ability to add 17 undrafted free agents to fill out their training camp roster.