The Los Angeles Rams will officially be ex-champs Sunday evening as either the Chiefs or Eagles are covered in confetti and Gatorade. The off-season started for them in January following Sean McVay’s coaching purge but after the Super Bowl, the real work begins with Rams free agency opening in about a month.
LA is currently $13 million over the salary cap. However, that number will come down significantly once the cap hikes up in March. Fear not, even though the Rams are still going to be over, there’s always money in the banana stand.
Les Snead is (in)famous for doing contract restructures with star players. If he plays his cards right he could free up as much as $60 million. Cap Kama Sutra aside, he’ll also have to make some tough calls on which in-house free agents he decides to bring back.
Unfortunately, he will also have to look at his roster and see which players become cap casualties. Much like James Gunn’s DC Universe, this isn’t a reboot so much as a hard reset and there definitely will be collateral damage. There are three big names the Rams could let go in order to free up more money and make the team better.
Leonard Floyd might be a candidate for a contract restructure but if the Rams can’t make that work his name will likely be on the June 1st cut list. As awesome as Floyd was during their title run, his extension made him the fourth biggest 2023 cap hit at $22 million. Which is a tough pill to swallow.
He played all season with injuries and it showed. He had zero sacks in the first six games of the year and as he got healthier he managed to record nine sacks but by then it was too late. The Rams pass rush careened into a ditch following the departure of Von Miller and still, Floyd couldn’t adequately fill the void.
Releasing him in June frees up about $15.5 million and only has a dead hit of $6.5. That could go towards finding their own Hassan Reddick or a few guys who can take the pressure off, Aaron Donald. Perhaps they can trade him for some picks or a younger piece but either way, he’s most likely gone. No one will forget Floyd’s contribution to winning a title but unfortunately, he became expendable.
Fans have been long clamoring for this one. Brian Allen was a homegrown guy who started the last three years and became a guy Matthew Stafford loves. The reason why there’s a disconnect between fans and Stafford on Allen comes down to health. He’s missed a ton of time the last few years and even when he played he was getting beat.
Now that the Rams have hired Bills Assistant offensive line coach and possibly Wildling Ryan Wendell as their new line coach the identity of the line is going to change. Allen’s release would free up $4.4 million which can go towards picking up a veteran lineman to go along with the inevitable offensive line picks they make in April.
The line needs an overhaul and Allen no longer fits into what they want to do mostly because he’s not dependable to suit up every week. Aside from Stafford, the person most hurt by this would be Rams beat writer from The Athletic, Jourdan Rodrigue who enjoyed seeing Allen walk around the field barefoot on gameday.
This one hurts. On one hand, Tyler Higbee caught a career-high 72 passes last season and is a favorite target for Stafford. He’s been reliable for years and was rewarded with a $29 million extension in 2019. The fans love him and he’s adept at stretching the field.
So beyond saving $6.75 million with a dead-cap of $2.3 million, why cut/trade him? Well, last year might have seen an uptick in catches (largely by necessity) he also had a lot of drops. He got injured early in the season and seemed to be hampered by it all year. No matter who was under center Higbee dropped several crucial passes that would’ve extended drives and perhaps gotten them an extra win or two.
It could be looked at as a piece of bad luck on the tapestry of their season from hell or a sign that he’s beginning to decline physically and it’s better to reconfigure their tight end room. Higbee’s had some extraordinary moments with the Rams but unfortunately, all good things must come to an end.
Rams Free Agency: Potential Cap Casualties
No matter what, the Rams will be purging every piece they can, trying to reconfigure their roster to maximize their superstar pieces. This current window is on borrowed time, which sadly means tough calls must be made. Hopefully, these three moves and other Snead gymnastics will make it all worth it.