The Los Angeles Rams are facing salary cap issues that could last the team for years. On one hand, the Rams are holding on to key players that may end up retiring with the team. On the other hand, this breaks the bank for the Rams to sign younger talent and upcoming free agents. We’ll call this process the “Les Snead Effect.”
Fans and experts are critical of the work of a general manager in the aftermath of signings, but the “Snead Effect” is a blueprint that many teams try to implement. But like with everything, it’s not without its consequences. Snead tries to keep all of the Rams’ great players signed to long-term contracts. Some examples are: Tavon Austin, Mark Barron, Michael Brockers, Robert Quinn, etc. This is ideally what a GM wants to do, but now that money is locked up for years, and the Rams are beginning to witness the negative consequences of the “Snead Effect.”
The most notable player to feel the presence of the “Snead Effect” is defensive tackle Aaron Donald. In all fairness, Donald threw Snead a curveball when deciding to ask for salary increase with two years left on his rookie contract. The “Snead Effect” doesn’t leave much room for unpredictable demands such as this. Now Snead must scramble to get even more creative with the salary cap, but it isn’t offering much wiggle room. What also is a challenge is determining Donald’s actual worth. He is undoubtedly the best defensive tackle in the league, and some might argue the best defender in the game. In other words, he’ll want big money, and the Rams simply can’t afford him at this time.
Another player going through the same issue is Trumaine Johnson. He currently eats up over 10 percent of the overall 2017 salary cap, earning $16,742,400 courtesy of the franchise tag. It was vital for Snead to sign him to a long-term contract this office season, but both parties could not come to an agreement. The Rams lack of cornerback depth placed Johnson in the best bargaining position, and now he is the top paid CB in the league via the tag. This is only for the 2017 season, so 10 percent of cap space will likely be free in 2018.
The cap is still an issue with upcoming free agents, and there will be some vital players that Snead will have to decide to be a part of the “Snead Effect.” Other than Johnson, Snead must consider big names like: Sammy Watkins, Connor Barwin, Dominique Easley, Lamarcus Joyner among others. All of those players could fetch a hefty price, and it’s doubtful that Snead can hold on to all of them plus other free agents and 2018 NFL Draft picks. Let’s not forget about Donald either. At some point he’ll have to consider Jared Goff as well.
Finding a balance while incorporating the “Snead Effect” will not be an easy task. Snead will likely need to make some tough decisions, such as trades, cuts and contract restructures. If Snead can manage to find a balance that favors the Rams, this will be great news heading into future seasons. Until then, the Rams will be facing major salary cap issues heading into 2018.