Not long ago, the Saints had the worst 2021 salary cap situation in the league. But the Saints systematically have chipped away their excess cap dollars. Currently, the Rams have the worst cap situation.
Via spotrac.com, the Rams exceed the 2021 cap by more than $32 million. G.M. Les Snead has said that the Rams will try to get in line with the cap by restructuring contracts, not cutting players.
The candidates for a simple restructuring, which entails converting 2021 compensation items into a signing bonus and spreading the cap charges out over multiple years, are obvious. The Rams have only 11 players due to make $2.5 million or more in 2021. Those are the guys who likely will be asked to agree to a reshuffling of cash that gives them the same money now, but that drops their cap number in the current year.
The candidates for a restructuring are: defensive tackle Aaron Donald ($19.982 million salary); cornerback Jalen Ramsey ($17.5 million salary), quarterback Matthew Stafford ($19.5 million compensation); receiver Cooper Kupp ($13 million compensation); receiver Robert Woods ($12.5 million compensation); tackle Andrew Whitworth ($9.5 million compensation); defensive lineman Michael Brockers ($8 million compensation); tackle Rob Havenstein ($6.75 million salary); tight end Tyler Higbee ($6.5 million compensation); punter Johnny Hekker ($3.75 million salary); defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson ($2.75 million compensation).
A restructuring, obviously, kicks cap dollars into future years. At some point, there will be a reckoning. Of all years, however, this is the year to consider moving cap dollars out of 2021. The cap is down now, it will go up later.
However the Rams do it, they’ve got four days to figure it all out.