- The Los Angeles Rams have had a busy offseason, acquiring three star defensive players, and they may not be done.
- The Rams’ general manager, Les Snead, says the team has a two-year window to build a contender because Jared Goff is still on his cheap rookie deal.
- Once Goff is due for an extension, the Rams will have some tough decisions to make about whom to pay, whom to keep, and whom to release.
The Los Angeles Rams have made headlines this offseason by making several big moves designed to beef up a defense that could terrify opponents next season.
The Rams traded for the top cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib while also luring the star defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh with a one-year, $14 million contract.
In doing so, a Rams team that went 11-5 in 2017 may be even better in the stacked NFC.
And the Rams may not be done. The draft is still to come, and rumors are swirling about their potential interest in New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who may be on the trading block. If the Rams could land Beckham (who surely would come at a high price), they could have one of the best receiver-running back tandems in the NFL by pairing him with Todd Gurley.
Of course, all of this is possible because of the third-year quarterback Jared Goff. The Rams, like the Seattle Seahawks before them, are reaping the benefits of drafting a capable quarterback who is still on his rookie deal.
The Rams’ general manager, Les Snead, told Sports Illustrated’s Peter King in an article published Wednesday that the Rams had a two-year window to make big trades and signings. King explained:
“Rams GM Les Snead told me Tuesday the next two years are when the team can fit a mega-salary or two into its salary cap. Quarterback Jared Goff is due to make $7.6 million and $8.9 million in years three and four of his rookie contract, both of which will be 5 percent or less of the Rams’ cap each year. That’s great for quarterback cost control. While the quarterback is making reasonable money, Los Angeles could load up in 2018 and ’19 by front-loading mega-deals with defensive tackle Aaron Donald and/or an expensive important addition like Beckham.”
The Seahawks went a similar route several years ago when they were able to re-sign their best defensive players and add pieces on offense because of quarterback Russell Wilson’s cheap rookie deal. When Wilson was due for a new contract, however, it made the entire operation more complicated.
The Rams will hit that point soon. They already have to extend Aaron Donald, who held out for a portion of last season for a new contract before returning to the team. He’ll be a free agent at the end of the season. Suh has only a one-year deal, and Gurley is due for a fifth-year option next season.
The Rams’ cap figures to explode as they retain these players and add pieces around them. When Goff is due for an extension, they’ll have some tough financial choices to make.
In the meantime, the Rams’ window is open for building a contender around a young quarterback and one of the best defensive players in the NFL. It will get costly, but if they do it correctly, they could land themselves in Super Bowl contention as their young team continues to improve.