Years of playing fast and loose with draft picks and the salary cap have finally caught up to the Los Angeles Rams, who find themselves $15.02M over the cap in 2023.
The team has 10 players who carry a cap hit of $9M or more next season, including five players with a cap hit of $20M or more.
Los Angeles may be forced to make some tough cuts to become cap compliant by the start of training camp.
Below are three potential players the Rams could cut to create more cap space:
Leonard Floyd, defensive end
Only 30 years old, Floyd led the Rams in sacks (nine), pressures (54), hurries (33) and hits (12), and he hasn’t missed a game in his three seasons with the team.
But his $22M cap hit is exorbitantly high, and the $15.5M the Rams would save by cutting him post-June 1 would essentially get them out of the red.
Michael Hoecht (24 pressures, five sacks) had a solid season coming off the edge and pairing him with either a bargain free agent like Justin Houston, Samson Ebukam or Arden Key, or a 2023 draft pick, and the Rams may be able to find enough production that cutting Floyd may not seem like such a bold move.
Bobby Wagner, linebacker
Wagner is another one of those pricey free agent contracts the Rams handed out in their pursuit of a Super Bowl repeat this season.
And while he actually had a good season—140 tackles, six sacks, two interceptions—he comes with a $12.5M cap hit in 2023.
A post-June 1 cut would cost $4.5M in dead money but it would save L.A. $8m. The Rams could skate by with Ernest Jones, who’s only 23 and had a breakout season with 114 tackles last year taking on more of a leadership role while replacing Wagner with a less expensive LB in free agency like Devin Bush or Denzel Perryman.
Joseph Noteboom, tackle
Noteboom allowed the second-most hits, and the third-most sacks and pressures on the team in 2022, and he played in just six games.
Rob Havenstein had a solid season and although Ty Nsekhe is 37 and a free agent, he could be brought back on a team-friendly deal. With a $15.5M cap hit, Noteboom could be the odd man out on L.A.’s offensive line.
The $8.5M the Rams would save from cutting Noteboom post-June 1 could be reinvested in another tackle. There’s also sure to be plenty of reasonably-priced free agents to think about as well including Andre Dillard, Isaiah Wynn and Riley Reiff.