Rams, Lions' Updated Salary Cap After Reported Matthew Stafford-Jared Goff Trade

Blake SchusterSenior Analyst IIJanuary 31, 2021

General interior view of SoFi Stadium, the future home of the Los Angeles Rams, Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)
Kyusung Gong/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Rams' acquisition of quarterback Matthew Stafford may actually help the team's long-term salary-cap situation more than holding on to Jared Goff's contract would have over the next few year. 

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

Detroit is dealing QB Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for two future first-round picks, a third-round pick and QB Jared Goff, per sources. Two former No. 1 overall picks trading places in the first blockbuster NFL trade of 2021.

Los Angeles sent Goff, two first-round picks and a third-round pick to the Detroit Lions in order to land Stafford, but their contracts are strikingly similar. 

The Rams' total cap for 2021 now sits at $216.9 million, according to Spotrac—fourth-highest in the NFL behind the New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers. Detroit's 2021 payroll remains about league average at $184.9 million, 17th-highest in the league. 

According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, by shedding the remainder of Stafford's contract (two years, $43 million), the Lions will hold $17.8 million in dead cap next season. Conversely, the Rams will take on a $22.2 million dead-cap hit by sending Goff and the remaining four years, $106.6 million left on his deal to Detroit. 

Spotrac @spotrac

Highest Single-Season Dead Cap Hit Taken On by a Team 2021: J. Goff, LAR, $22.2M 2020: B. Cooks, LAR, $21.8M 2019: A. Brown, PIT, $21.2M 2021: M. Stafford, DET, $19M 2010: J. Russell, $18.9M

Goff has $43 million guaranteed still to come as part of that deal: $25 million in base salary, a $2.5 million roster bonus in March and $15.5 million roster bonus next March. 

Yet that still didn't make Goff the highest-paid player on the L.A. roster. 

Albert Breer @AlbertBreer

Rams salary cap figures for 2021 ... DT Aaron Donald: $27.892M CB Jalen Ramsey: $22.5M QB Matthew Stafford: $20.0M WR Cooper Kupp: $14.5M WR Robert Woods: $13.875M LT Andrew Whitworth: $11.167M Total for Top 6: $109.934M Rams will have to keep hitting on middle-rounders.

Defensive tackle Aaron Donald will earn $27.9 million in 2021, while cornerback Jalen Ramsey will collect $22.5 million.

Stafford is now the third-highest-paid Rams player at $20 million in 2021. 

Los Angeles clearly sees this as a vital maneuver to keep its Super Bowl window open.

Goff's declining performance left the Rams with the 13th-best passing offense in 2020 (250.6 yards per game) and the seventh-fewest touchdown passes thrown (20).

With L.A. looking to make a run in the NFC West, that had to change. It certainly has with Stafford now in the fold.