This post contains affiliate links. “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”
THOUSAND EGE, California – It didn’t take long after the Los Angeles Rams won the Super Bowl LVI for the front office trio of general manager Les Snead, COO Kevin Demoff and vice president of football and business administration Tony Pastoors to turn to the task front: Keep as much of this championship list together as possible.
The first big move was to sign quarterback Matthew Stafford for a contract extension in March, tying him to the franchise through the 2026 season. And so last week, Ram’s defensive tackle revised Aaron Donald’s contract to give him a big pay rise and signed wide receiver Cooper Kupp to a three-year contract extension that pairs him with Stafford for five more seasons.
Following the Donald and Kupp agreements, the Rams still have $ 7.6 million in cap space, according to Over the Cap.
And while those are the three long-term deals the Rams have made this offseason, there is plenty of talent next to them. The Rams are now the only team in the NFL with two players – Stafford and Donald – who have an average salary of at least $ 30 million a year in their current contracts. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who signed a five-year, $ 100 million contract extension in 2020, has a cap hit of $ 23.2 million this season. Wide receiver Allen Robinson II signed a three-year, $ 46.5 million contract this offseason.
So how did they do it?
With a top-heavy list containing so many star players, the Rams have to rely on their draft picks to add cheaper talent. For it to work, they have had to find young talents to fill around around the main names. The Rams have done well despite not having a first-round draft pick since 2016. The Rams have 11 expected starters they have selected on the second or third day of the draft since 2017, led by Kupp (a third-rounder in 2017).
Recent contract extensions also helped the Rams’ cap place for this season. Coups cap numbers for this season fell with the extension, from $ 18.3 to $ 17.8 million, according to the OTC.
The expansion of Stafford in March also gave the Rams some cap flexibility this year.
While Stafford’s contract averages $ 40 million per season, his 2022 cap hit is $ 13.5 million, which is 6.71% of the Rams’ salary cap and a significant reduction from the $ 23 million cap hit he would have had before the extension. Stafford’s deal jumps to $ 20 million in 2023 and then $ 49.5 million the following season, which is when many people around the league expect the ceiling to explode with the potential for huge TV deals.
But it’s a coup right now. By comparison, Green Bay Packers ‘Aaron Rodgers has a $ 28.5 million ceiling in 2022, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has $ 37.8 million and Buffalo Bills’ Josh Allens $ 16.4 million.
According to the OTC, the Rams are currently $ 2.5 million above the expected ceiling for 2023 and $ 7.8 million below for 2024, but these ceiling numbers will not be set until after each previous season and may change drastically.
One player that the Rams did not retain was outside linebacker Von Miller, who signed a $ 120 million six-year contract with the Buffalo Bills in free agency. The Rams also have not re-signed wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who tore the ACL in his left knee during the Super Bowl.
The Rams were able to re-sign Beckham, who attended head coach Sean McVay’s wedding earlier this month. McVay joked that Beckham knew the expectation was, “You’re coming to the wedding, you have to sign with the Rams.”
After signing his contract, Donald said it was not his top priority to become the highest paid non-quarterback in the NFL. Instead, he said one of the “most important things for me was to feel that the pieces we brought in would still be here.”
With the core tied together for at least the next three seasons, the Rams were able to extend their Super Bowl window.