Rams Rumors

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/19/20

Here are Saturday’s minor moves. There are many, as teams take advantage of the rule change allowing 55-man rosters ahead of regular-season games. Teams can dress 48 players for games this season, up from 46.

Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Latest On Rams' Deals For Woods, Kupp

  • Despite eating a stunning $21.8MM in dead money from their Brandin Cooks trade, the Rams dived back into the fray of high-end receiver contracts. Their three-year, $47.25MM Cooper Kupp deal includes $35.1MM guaranteed and $20.3MM in full guarantees, according to OverTheCap. Woods’ four-year, $65MM pact, which comes with $32MM guaranteed, will only pay him $4.5MM over the next two years — which were part of his previous Rams contract. However, the deal’s first new year (2022) comes with $13.5MM, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Rams, Robert Woods Agree On Extension

After Sean McVay hinted at a Robert Woods extension Thursday, the Rams have agreed to a deal with their dependable wide receiver.

Woods agreed to terms on a four-year extension Friday, Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). The pact includes $32MM guaranteed, per Thiry, and can max out at $68MM. It is a four-year, $65MM deal, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter).

The Rams have tweaked their receiving corps this offseason but determined they want Woods and Cooper Kupp to form a long-term duo. Teammates since 2017, Woods and Kupp are now signed at $16.25MM per year and $15.75MM per year, respectively.

Kupp agreed on a new deal earlier this month and is now signed through 2023. Woods’ new contract is stacked on top of his previous through-2021 pact, per Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic (on Twitter). That means the elder of the Rams’ starting wideouts is signed through 2025.

These deals emerged months after the Rams ate a sizable chunk of dead money to get off Brandin Cooks‘ $16.2MM-AAV contract. The Rams traded Cooks to the Texans this offseason, shipping out their nominal No. 1 wideout after two seasons. Woods and Kupp each surpassed 1,100 yards last season, however, while Cooks’ concussion concerns worsened. The current Rams starters are now the NFL’s highest-paid receiver tandem.

Woods, 28, broke out after signing with the Rams in 2017 — to the point his deal quickly became a bargain for the recently relocated franchise. A moderately productive Bills receiver, Woods has topped 1,100 yards in back-to-back seasons. His 176 receptions in that span rank sixth in the NFL. While Woods only scored eight touchdowns in those seasons, he has been essential in McVay’s attack. The Rams gave Woods two modest pay bumps for his work but now have renewed their commitment to the former second-round pick.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

C.J. Anderson Announces Retirement

Veteran running back C.J. Anderson will retire after seven NFL seasons, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

Best known for his five-year run with the Broncos, the 29-year-old back played for three other teams — the Rams, Panthers and Lions — and was briefly a Raider. He last worked out for the Seahawks in December.

A former Cal-Berkeley contributor, Anderson did not rush for more than 800 yards in his two seasons at the Pac-12 school. But he fared better as a pro, becoming a key cog with the Broncos after catching on as a 2013 UDFA. Anderson operated as Denver’s starter for the better part of four seasons and rushed for 3,051 yards — ninth in Broncos history — and 24 touchdowns during his time with the team.

The Broncos initially turned to Anderson as a starter late in the 2014 season, after injuries to Ronnie Hillman and Montee Ball, and the 5-foot-8 back ended that campaign as a Pro Bowler. A year later, his walk-off overtime run against the Patriots ended up securing the Broncos home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs. Anderson shined that postseason, rushing for 234 yards and two TDs in three playoff games to help the Broncos to their third championship.

Former Broncos OC Adam Gase attempted to bring Anderson to the Dolphins in 2016, but the Broncos matched a four-year, $18MM offer sheet. Anderson finished the 2017 season with his only 1,000-yard showing, but Denver cut him in 2018. This move, however, preceded Anderson helping the Rams to Super Bowl LIII. Playing at a slightly heavier weight, Anderson filled in for an injured Todd Gurley before working in tandem with the All-Pro back in the playoffs. The former cleared 100 yards three times in five games with Los Angeles, doing so despite being cut by the Panthers and Raiders that year.

Anderson plans to move into the coaching ranks, with an eye on one day being a head coach, and is eyeing a potential gig at a Power 5 conference, via Mike Klis of 9News (Twitter links).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams Plan To Extend Robert Woods

The Rams appear to have identified their long-term wide receiver plan. Shortly after extending Cooper Kupp, they want to give Robert Woods another contract.

Sean McVay said Thursday a Woods extension will happen sooner rather than later. Woods has two seasons remaining on his deal, but the Rams have adjusted his earnings multiple times. A Los Angeles native, Woods has said he wants to be with the Rams long-term as well.

We want to get him extended, too,” McVay said, via SI.com’s Eric Williams. “He’s a huge part of what we’re doing. That’s something I think is definitely important. You absolutely talk to your players about that. Robert and Cooper have been pillars of what we’ve done the last, few years.

“It’s great to get Cooper under contract; I’m so happy for him. And you can expect to see something similar down the line here very shortly we’re working toward for Robert.”

Woods, 28, counts barely $8MM against Los Angeles’ 2020 salary cap. He is set to earn a $9MM base salary in 2021. The former Bills second-round pick signed a five-year, $39MM deal with the Rams in 2017 but enhanced his stock considerably in Los Angeles, turning in back-to-back 1,100-yard seasons. His 176 catches since the start of the 2018 season rank sixth in the NFL.

The Rams gave Woods a modest bonus in 2018 and added $1MM to his 2019 base salary as well. Now, after trading Brandin Cooks and giving Kupp a $16MM-per-year deal — which was Cooks’ price on that 2018 extension — the team is turning its attention to Woods. The Rams are one of several franchises that project to be well over the 2021 cap, which could drop by a record margin. But extensions have picked up around the league, after a quiet several months, and the Rams seem confident they can finalize a deal with Woods.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2020 NFL Cap Space, By Team

Cap management has been extra complicated in the NFL this year. After ~70 NFL players opted out of the 2020 season, teams were left with holes and plenty of available dollars to fill the gaps. At first, the ongoing uncertainty over next year’s salary cap had teams nervous about large-scale commitments. Now, it seems like we’re getting back to business as usual.

Recent deals for Saints star Alvin Kamara, Vikings running back Dalvin Cook, Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey, and others demonstrate the league’s long-term confidence. In turn, we’ve seen cap figures change dramatically in September.

Here’s the rundown of each team’s estimated cap space for the 2020 season, via Over The Cap:

  1. Cleveland Browns – $33.4MM
  2. New York Jets – $28.6MM
  3. Dallas Cowboys — $27.5MM
  4. New England Patriots – $26.3MM
  5. Washington Football Team – $25.8MM
  6. Denver Broncos – $25.7MM
  7. Jacksonville Jaguars – $25.2MM
  8. Philadelphia Eagles – $20MM
  9. Detroit Lions – $18MM
  10. Miami Dolphins – $16.7MM
  11. Baltimore Ravens – $14.2MM
  12. Los Angeles Chargers – $11.8MM
  13. Cincinnati Bengals – $11.6MM
  14. Arizona Cardinals – $11.4MM
  15. Indianapolis Colts – $11.3MM
  16. San Francisco 49ers – $11.2MM
  17. Pittsburgh Steelers – $10.9MM
  18. Chicago Bears – $9.9MM
  19. New York Giants – $9.6MM
  20. Houston Texans – $9.6MM
  21. Tennessee Titans – $9.4MM
  22. New Orleans Saints – $8.8MM
  23. Green Bay Packers – $8.7MM
  24. Los Angeles Rams – $7.7MM
  25. Las Vegas Raiders – $7.4MM
  26. Carolina Panthers – $6.9MM
  27. Kansas City Chiefs – $6.6MM
  28. Buffalo Bills – $6.5MM
  29. Seattle Seahawks – $6.2MM
  30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – $3.7MM
  31. Atlanta Falcons – $3.3MM
  32. Minnesota Vikings – $2MM

Latest On Jalen Ramsey's Rams Deal

Here is the latest from the NFC West, moving first to the Rams’ resetting of the cornerback market.

  • The Rams were slightly over the 2020 salary cap earlier this week, but their Jalen Ramsey extension solved that problem. They created $7.5MM through the Ramsey deal, Joel Corry of CBS Sports tweets. Ramsey’s cornerback-record five-year, $105MM contract calls for only a $1.2MM base salary in 2020 — down from $13.7MM. The ensuing years, however, include base salaries of $17.5MM (2021), $15MM (’22), $17MM (’23), $14.5MM (’24) and $15.5MM (’25), Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. This contract’s rolling guarantee structure will convert injury guarantees to full guarantees the year before, essentially tying Ramsey to Los Angeles’ payroll through at least 2024, Garafolo adds (via Twitter).
  • Rams free agent signing A’Shawn Robinson qualified for the high-risk $350K stipend as an opt-out player, but his agent and the team reached a compromise that allowed the defensive lineman to avoid the opt-out list. The Rams instead placed Robinson on the non-football injury list and are paying him $500K this year, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. Robinson was on track to opt out. Even though he did not officially do so, his two-year contract will toll to 2021 if he does not play this season. Robinson will keep his $6MM signing bonus, but his $3MM 2020 base salary will toll to 2021, Breer adds. Robinson could, however, come off the NFI list and play by Week 10.

Rams, WR Cooper Kupp Agree To Three-Year Deal

Cooper Kupp is sticking around Los Angeles for at least the next few years. The team announced that they’ve signed the wideout to a three-year extension. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the deal is worth up to $48MM.

Earlier this week, there was some pessimism surrounding a Cooper Kupp/Rams extension, but the two sides apparently made up some ground. Earlier today, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reported (via Twitter) that the organization and the wideout had “made significant progress on a large new contract extension.

We heard on Wednesday that the Rams were still pushing for a deal, but reports indicated that there was still “a lot of work to be done.” It was always going to be tough for the Rams to give Kupp a significant pay increase on his $2MM salary for the upcoming season. The organization is right against the cap, especially after they inked cornerback Jalen Ramsey to a new deal. Of course, the Rams have some flexibility to pay Kupp in future seasons (although they were projected to have just $9MM in space in 2021 prior to this extension).

While the Rams’ lack of cap space was a concern, it was also going to be tough to settle on a final number. As our own Dallas Robinson noted earlier this week, Jarvis Landry is the only slot receiver to be in the top-15 highest-paid players at his position ($75.5MM). Kupp could probably argue for more than that, but you’ve got to assume that the front office was wary of overspending on the wideout.

The 2017 third-round pick has been a productive member of the Rams offense since his rookie season, but he took it to a new level in 2019 after appearing in 16 games for the first time in his career. The 27-year-old set career-highs in receptions (94), receiving yards (1,161), and touchdowns (10). With Brandin Cooks now out of the picture in Los Angeles, Kupp will have a chance to build off those numbers in 2020.

Latest On Rams WR Cooper Kupp

While the Rams are working on an extension for wide receiver Cooper Kupp, it doesn’t appear that a new contract will be in place before Week 1, according to Steve Wyche and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (Twitter links).

Los Angeles is hoping to get a fresh deal finalized for Kupp before the Rams open their season on Sunday Night Football, per Wyche, but there is “a lot of work to be done” before an extension is complete. Garafolo adds there’s “not a lot of optimism” that a deal is inked this weekend, but that obviously doesn’t mean an extension couldn’t be worked out in-season.

The Rams are already in a tight position from a salary cap perspective. Los Angeles extended star cornerback Jalen Ramsey earlier today, and that move should help them financially — the Rams had been roughly $600K over the cap before Ramsey’s new deal, but the ability to spread out his signing bonus should actually reduce his 2020 cap charge.

Kupp, on the other hand, is only making a tad over $2MM in 2020, so it could be difficult to reduce his 2020 cap figure. A substantial signing bonus would add to his cap number, and new salaries for Kupp over the next few seasons could also do harm to LA’s budget, as the club is only projected to have ~$9MM in cap space in 2021.

Projecting a Kupp extension is difficult given that the majority of top-end pass-catcher deals have been handed to outside receives. Among the top-15 highest-paid wideouts, the only player who spends most of his time in the slot is Browns receiver Jarvis Landry, who inked a five-year, $75.5MM deal in 2018. Kupp, who has arguably been more productive than Landry was at the time of his extension, would likely aim to top that annual value.

Kupp, a third-round pick in the 2017 draft, has been a key part of LA’s offense over the past three seasons. 2019 marked his best campaign to date, as the 27-year-old posted 94 receptions for 1,161 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.