Several teams across the NFL have been forced to face some critical decisions involving some veteran names on their clubs for 2013. The salary cap has already caused plenty of discomfort and the St. Louis Rams are no exception to this. With just $1.8 million in space under the current cap, the team needs to cut some dead weight if they want to improve this offseason. Here are some moves that you can expect from the Rams in an effort to create some breathing room heading into free agency.
Obviously the best place to start when attempting to gain more cap space is by making some prudent roster cuts. For the Rams, that certainly begins with safety Quintin Mikell and offensive tackle Wayne Hunter. Combined the two would save the team nearly $10 million against the cap in 2013.
FREE AGENTS TO BE
It’s hard to know exactly where to put Steven Jackson at this point in time. S-Jax has a player option that allows him to void his contract and become a free agent which would wipe $7 million off the books for 2013, but it would also open up a huge hole at the running back position. Jackson still hasn’t made a decision regarding his future and some feel that he may return to the team in hopes of retiring with the organization when his career comes to a conclusion.
Two other prominent names are certain to be free agents in wide receivers Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson. Gibson just continued to improve during the 2012 season, but the Rams have a stable of wideouts now especially with the addition of problem child Titus Young and if he gets a big offer, there’s no doubt he will be elsewhere next season. As for Amendola, clearly the team must do everything it can to keep him around. He is quarterback Sam Bradford’s favorite target and is Mr. Do-it-all for the Rams on offense. There’s no question that Amendola is priority number one in St. Louis this offseason.
The team isn’t trying to push S-Jax out the door, but if he decides to void the final year of his deal, it’s safe to say they won’t be heartbroken. When he was hurt last season, rookie Daryl Richardson flashed some ability and perhaps when paired with a bruising complementary back the running game would flourish. Jackson leaving along with the seemingly inevitable cuts of Hunter and Mikell would free up nearly $17 million. That would provide enough space to re-sign Amendola and perhaps shop for both a complementary back to pair with Richardson and add much needed help at safety.
There are no easy answers when trying to cut budgets to make things fit in the NFL. The Rams are in a feasible position at the moment however, and if things fall the right way, the club could really benefit as a result.