Salary cap ramifications if Rams trade or cut Jared Goff this offseason

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Cameron DaSilva
·4 min read
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For the next few months, there will be endless speculation and discussion about what the Los Angeles Rams are going to do at quarterback. It’s a controversy they brought on themselves when Sean McVay and Les Snead chose not to endorse Jared Goff as their quarterback, so the questions will be running rampant about their plan under center for 2021.

Of course, making a change at quarterback will require the Rams to either A) bench Goff, B) trade him to another team, or C) cut him outright. The first two options are possible, but releasing the five-year veteran is not financially viable.

While nothing will happen before the new league year begins in March, below are the salary cap ramifications of the Rams moving on from Goff – either by cutting him or trading him, with pre- and post-June 1 designations.

Note: Goff has a cap hit of $34.625 million in 2021 if he’s on the roster, according to Spotrac.

Pre-June 1 cut

2021 dead cap: $65.525 million 2021 cap savings: -$30.9 million A quick glance at the above numbers makes it very clear that the Rams are not going to cut Goff. If they keep him on the roster, he'll cost them $34.625 million – still a hefty figure. If they cut him before June 1, he will cost the Rams $65.525 million. So why would they pay $30.9 million more to cut him than to just keep him on the roster? So do not expect the Rams to even slightly consider cutting Goff before June 1. It's not happening.

Post-June 1 cut

2021 dead cap: $50.125 million 2022 dead cap: $15.4 million 2021 cap savings: -$15.5 million If the Rams wait until after June 1 – or simply cut him before that date with a post-June 1 designation – they'll still be paying a hefty amount to lose their starting quarterback. The only difference with a post-June 1 cut is that the dead money gets spread out over the next two years instead of just in 2021. So they would pay $50.125 million in dead money this year to cut him, and then another $15.4 million. The Rams would still take on $60.525 million in dead money, but they would be able to spread it out through 2022 to lessen the pain next season. Still, this isn't a feasible move for the Rams to make. Doing so would not only destroy their cap situation in 2021, but also hurt it in a big way the following year.

Pre-June 1 trade

2021 dead cap: $22.2 million 2021 cap savings: $12.425 million Here's where it becomes more possible to move Goff. If they were to trade him before June 1, they would actually save some money – which wouldn't be the case with cutting him. Their savings would only be $12.425 million, essentially paying Goff $22.2 million to be off the roster instead of $34.625 million to keep him in 2021. That's not a big savings, but considering the Rams are projected to be more than $25 million over the salary cap if it drops to $175 million, every penny counts – and that's a lot of pennies. By trading Goff, the Rams would still have to pay him any bonuses owed, but they wouldn't pay his base salaries; that obligation would go to the team that acquires him. Goff's 2021 and 2022 roster bonuses of $18 million combined was already guaranteed last March.

Post-June 1 trade

2021 dead cap: $6.8 million 2022 dead cap: $15.4 million 2021 cap savings: $27.825 million If the Rams really wanted to save money, they could wait until after June 1 to trade Goff. However, that's a risky proposition. By that point, teams would have already drafted quarterbacks, signed them in free agency and begun to lay out their plans for the upcoming season. How many teams would be interested in Goff after the draft and free agency? Trades just before and during camp do occur, but rarely for quarterbacks. If the Rams were to wait until after June 1 to trade Goff, they would save $27.825 million. The total dead cap hit would still be $22.2 million, just as it would be with a pre-June 1 trade, but $6.8 million would go toward the 2021 cap and another $15.4 million in 2022. This would be the most financially beneficial move for the Rams, but they would also have to wait a year to use any draft capital that might come in exchange for Goff.