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Dynasty Fantasy Football: LA Rams Nothing Gold Can Stay

Fresh off a Super Bowl appearance and stacked with a roster that looks poised to dominate for years to come, the Los Angeles Rams find themselves at a crossroads. Time waits for no man and this passage of time is going to result in bloated salaries for the boys in blue and gold. What does this mean for the future of this Rams team and more importantly for all dynasty fantasy football managers that heavily rely on Jared Goff & friends for championships? Let’s dig in to find out.

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Excuse me Rams, Check Please…

The Rams’ front office was universally praised for their attempts to spend whatever necessary to bring a championship home in 2018. The additions of Brandin Cooks, Aqib Talib,  and Ndamukong Suh exemplified GM Les Snead’s intent to inject expensive talent into the team this past season. Big time extensions to Cooks, Aaron Donald, and Todd Gurley were further evidence to this point as seemingly no expense was spared to give McVay and co. the tools to capitalize on Jared Goff’s rookie deal. The costs weren’t born in-season. Now, after the dust has settled the bill is set to come due. Though a reported $22M in cap space may not seem like an issue at first glance, the Rams only roster 48 players (T2nd least NFL) and costs will start to add up.

Todd Gurley

With reports of arthritis present in Gurley’s left knee, the Rams may be fearful of the long term implications of such a situation. While reports of diminished effectiveness may be overblown, it is clear that the financial side of Gurley’s deal will be of concern to Los Angeles’ front office for years to come. Signed through 2023 with a dead cap number that makes it cost prohibitive to get out of the deal before 2022 at the earliest, Gurley will be a drain on the Rams cap space for some time.

Marcus Peters

Peters had a rough year in 2018. His coverage rating per was -1.5, a mark that was only good enough for 65th leaguewide. Though it should be noted that he spent most of the season working his way back from a lower leg injury, his past performance should still warrant a contract in the range of $10M a year. If the Rams decide to keep him they would first have to pick up his fifth-year option at a $9.1M cap hit. This move alone would cost 32% of the Rams free salary for 2019.

Aqib Talib

Talib is signed through the 2019 season at an $8M cap hit. Though the guarantees in his contract have expired, Talib should expect to be part of the Rams team for one more season. With both CBs set to command a significant portion of the salary cap, Los Angeles may be forced to choose to retain just one of the two.

Ndamukong Suh

The tandem of Donald and Suh on the same defensive line made the Rams pass rushing unit one to be feared last season. Unfortunately, keeping Suh beyond the 2018 season doesn’t seem feasible. Over the past five seasons, Suh has demanded a cap hit of just under $15M a year. Even if Suh decides to take a significant pay cut, his $10M+ salary is unlikely to fit into the Rams’ long term plans.

Jared Goff

Goff’s deal is the big fish on the horizon. To date, the Rams have had the benefit of an above-average QB on a rookie deal. That reality is set to end in 2019. Goff has a fifth-year option at a cap hit of $8.9M yet to be exercised. This below-market cost will be short-lived however as Goff will almost certainly be extended this season at an average annual cost of over $28M. In this way, it is easy to see just how close the Rams are to the salary cap line in reality.

What does this mean?

Cuts are coming. Dante Fowler is unlikely to be back with the squad as it stands in 2019 and more will have to be jettisoned to stay within league rules. A man who has clearly outperformed his current deal in Robert Woods may also soon face the ax as the Rams stand to save approximately $4M this season by walking away from his deal. While his top-12 PPR performance in 2018 showcases his value, increased savings of $5M in 2020 and $8M in 2021 may be too much to turn away from when the bill for all this success comes due.

Keep this in mind as a dynasty manager when investing in these Rams long term.

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