Los Angeles had been the most cap-strapped team in the league, and remain so even after reworking Hekker’s contract. By converting $1.21MM of Hekker’s 2018 base salary into a signing bonus, the Rams created $968K in cap space. However, the move only barely brings Los Angeles into cap compliance, as the club now has just ~$337K worth of cap room, per Joel Corry of CBSSports.com (Twitter link).
In order to reduce Hekker’s 2018 cap charge, the Rams used a simple restructure. Hekker will now earn the veteran’s minimum base salary during the upcoming campaign, and his cap number will increase by $242K from 2019-22. It’s a negligible sum for most teams, but the Rams don’t have any room to spare after making expensive additions such as defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and wide receiver Brandin Cooks over the past month.
Hekker, 28, is considered the best punter in the NFL, as he’s been named first-team All-Pro in four of the past five seasons. In 2018, Hekker ranked second with a net punting average of 44.3 yards, while Los Angeles finished third in points created via its punt team, per Football Outsiders.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.