The LA Rams may not be podcasting the play-by-play efforts to clear sufficient salary-cap space in time to comply with the 2022 salary cap, but from what we do know, the team may not be doing enough. That doesn’t mean that the team is purposefully trying to fail at complying with the annual exercise of purging current year salary cap expense.
Rather, it’s a clue, a logical indication, that the LA Rams have more going on behind the curtain than meets the eye. The team’s front office typically has a lot more going on behind the scenes than we typically know about. But we do know a few things.
We know several facts:
- The LA Rams are, at a minimum, over the 2022 NFL salary cap by over $13 million from a Top-51 perspective, and over $19 million from a total salary perspective.
- The LA Rams are renegotiating deals for both QB Matthew Stafford and DL Aaron Donald, with the goal to sign both to multi-year deals and elevate their compensation to place them near or at the top paid at their respective position.
- Even with both contracts structured in a team-friendly way, the LA Rams will only have enough salary-cap space to re-sign players to minimal salaries
That means that the Rams front office must know something more than we do. To do a bit of investigative work, hop on over to Spotrac.com and try your hand at making the numbers work.
2022 Rams roster may need a new offensive left tackle?
One key factor is the imminent decision by the LA Rams offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth. Since Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady retired, Whitworth is now the oldest active player in the NFL. And we should mention that an offensive lineman competes at one of the most physically demanding positions in the NFL.
So far, Whitworth has shown no signs of wear-and-tear. Okay, a little. But the fire inside to compete has not burned out yet. Still, he is competing in a young man’s game. And at some point, he will decide to step away from putting on the pads.
When I look at the LA Rams numbers, the team’s salary cap numbers work if Whitworth decides to retire. If not? The Rams will be very hard-pressed to clear enough cap space to re-sign anyone. That’s just the math of the matter. And it’s a point that we pointed out in a recent article indicating that the Rams must be doing more than we know.
If Whitworth retires, that will create a huge vacancy in the Rams roster at the offensive left tackle position but will save a cool $16 million from the team’s salary cap. While the Rams could use some of that savings to extend Joseph Noteboom, I’m concerned that several teams will offer Noteboom money that goes with an NFL starting offensive tackle.
Meanwhile, the Rams would be incredibly wise to employ Andrew Whitworth in some capacity, hopefully as a coaching assistant intern or working with young players. His passion for the game lives on, and he has been incredibly valuable working with his teammates to ensure that they are ready to play. Is this where Whitworth gets off the bus?
Perhaps, but only from donning the pads. He has a great deal to offer the team, I, for one, would love to see the team add him to the coaching staff.