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 by Elvis
7 months ago
 Total posts:  17657  
 Joined:  Mar 28 2015
United States of America   Los Angeles

http://www.espn.com/blog/los-angeles-ra ... bert-quinn

Decision time for Rams with Tavon Austin, Mark Barron, Robert Quinn

8:30 AM PT
Alden Gonzalez
ESPN Staff Writer

LOS ANGELES -- This week, with the Super Bowl in the rearview mirror, the Los Angeles Rams' front office reconvened at the team's headquarters to map out the 2018 offseason. And that process begins by focusing inward. The Rams have as many as 14 potential unrestricted free agents, including the center, a primary receiver and possibly four defensive starters.

But some of their most fascinating decisions could come with players they already have under contract, and we're not even talking about potentially making Aaron Donald the game's highest-paid defensive player. The Rams prefer to pay most of the guaranteed money on their extensions up front, which maximizes their flexibility on the back end. Because of that, they stand to save a significant amount toward the 2018 salary cap -- they have roughly $40 million of space -- by cutting ties with three big-name players.

A look at each case below.

WR Tavon Austin

Cap savings: The Rams can save $3 million in 2018 by parting with Austin, who comes with an $8 million cap hit and a $5 million dead cap, according to Spotrac. If he's still on the team by March 16, Austin is paid a $5 million roster bonus. The sixth-year gadget receiver is under team control through 2021, but the Rams can get out from under his contract without paying him a dime after this season.

Why they might cut him: Austin no longer has a role on this team. He went into 2017 looking to establish himself as a vertical threat, but the Rams traded for Sammy Watkins. Austin remained the team's punt returner, but Pharoh Cooper replaced him after a handful of early-season muffs, and Cooper went on to the Pro Bowl. Austin salvaged his place on the roster -- though it didn't justify his $15 million cap hit -- by serving as something of a decoy, coming in motion to provide the threat of a jet sweep to open holes for Todd Gurley. But that role steadily diminished as the season went on. In the playoff loss to the Atlanta Falcons, Austin played two offensive snaps. Telling.

Why they might keep him: The only reason might be that the team gets only a 37.5 percent savings this year -- it's 100 percent thereafter. There might be some ego involved, too, since it was only 17 months ago that Austin signed a four-year, $42 million extension that caused head-scratching throughout the industry. It might be hard to admit a mistake so quickly. But that is not a sensible reason to keep a player who no longer appears to serve much of a purpose. The Rams praised Austin's unselfishness throughout the season, but they're very deep at receiver. Cooper can do a lot of what Austin does at a much cheaper price.

ILB Mark Barron

Cap savings: By cutting Barron, the Rams save $7 million in 2018, $7 million in 2019 and $8 million in 2020. He carries a $28 million cap hit during that three-year stretch but only $6 million in dead cap. Like Austin, Barron is owed a roster bonus by March 16 -- of $2 million.

Why they might cut him: The Rams might have signaled which inside linebacker they prefer long-term when they signed Alec Ogletree, a two-time captain, to a four-year, $42.75 million extension in October. Ogletree and Barron now combine to make nearly $20 million annually. It's hard to envision the Rams continuing to commit that much to inside linebacker, not when Ogletree and Barron are relatively undersized for the position -- a reason the Rams allowed 4.76 yards per carry between the tackles in 2017, second highest in the NFL. Barron also dealt with a series of injuries last season.

Why they might keep him: Barron is still a very solid player and a major contributor, his athleticism an important weapon when dropping into coverage. If the Rams get an elite, run-stuffing nose tackle -- or simply move Michael Brockers back to that position and find someone else to play the 5-technique -- then perhaps they would be just fine with Ogletree and Barron inside. But those cap savings might prove too difficult to ignore.

OLB Robert Quinn

Cap savings: The Rams can save more than 96 percent of Quinn's salary over these next two years. He is to cost $25.3 million toward the cap in 2018 and 2019 but will cost only $955,354 if he is cut -- all of it this season. The Rams save nearly $11 million by cutting Quinn this year alone. His roster bonuses these next two years -- both, like Austin and Barron, to be paid on the third day of the new league year -- total $2.23 million.

Why they might cut him: Because those are some major savings, and Quinn has a checkered injury history, most notably back surgery in 2015. Quinn racked up 40 sacks while playing in all 48 games from 2012 to 2014, establishing himself among the game's elite edge rushers. But he played in only 17 of 32 games in 2015 and 2016, compiling nine sacks. He managed to stay healthy for most of 2017, thanks to a very conservative maintenance program. But can the Rams really count on that again?

Why they might keep him: Because when Quinn is right, he's still a force, one who can take full advantage of all the attention Donald draws right next to him. The Rams' new coaching staff got a sense of that toward the latter half of the 2017 season, with Quinn totaling seven sacks over his last six games (including the playoffs). Quinn might no longer be the type to consistently generate double-digit-sack seasons. But when healthy and right, he can still take the Rams' pass rush to another level.

 by Hacksaw
7 months ago
 Total posts:  12963  
 Joined:  Apr 15 2015
United States of America   AT THE BEACH

Guesses..
-TA goes for lack of participation, bad hands and goes down if hit by a sneeze.
-Quinn goes because of $$ and he's getting just that much older. (bummer tho, one of my fav's)
-Barron stays because of athleticism and versatility.

 by actionjack
7 months ago
 Total posts:  422  
 Joined:  May 19 2016
United States of America   Sactown

Hacksaw wrote:Guesses..
-TA goes for lack of participation, bad hands and goes down if hit by a sneeze.
-Quinn goes because of $$ and he's getting just that much older. (bummer tho, one of my fav's)
-Barron stays because of athleticism and versatility.


I wonder if TA will be gone. He did help the running game with all of his decoy stuff, also what if Watkins doesnt sign or get tagged?

I would like to see them renegotiate Quinn contract.

Barron, I would like to see them draft his replacement

 by BobCarl
7 months ago
 Total posts:  2009  
 Joined:  Mar 08 2017
Poland   LA Coliseum

Hacksaw wrote:-Quinn goes because of $$ and he's getting just that much older. (bummer tho, one of my fav's)
-Barron stays because of athleticism and versatility.


I'm ok with paying them slightly more than they are worth on the Free Agency market ... but neither of them are worth what their contracts currently are set at.

 by TomSlick
7 months ago
 Total posts:  1666  
 Joined:  Jun 01 2015
Italy   "If you only do what you know then you'll never know what you can do" - Kung Fu Panda 3

Hacksaw wrote:Guesses..
-TA goes for lack of participation, bad hands and goes down if hit by a sneeze.


"Hit by a sneeze"
That's a good one.

Quinn and TA out. Barron on the fence.

 by Hacksaw
7 months ago
 Total posts:  12963  
 Joined:  Apr 15 2015
United States of America   AT THE BEACH

TomSlick wrote:"Hit by a sneeze"
That's a good one.

Quinn and TA out. Barron on the fence.


So on a side note,, total coinkydink,, I was watching TMC last night and the movie Grand Prix came on.. :shock:
Who needs a roll bar?

 by TomSlick
7 months ago
 Total posts:  1666  
 Joined:  Jun 01 2015
Italy   "If you only do what you know then you'll never know what you can do" - Kung Fu Panda 3

Hacksaw wrote:So on a side note,, total coinkydink,, I was watching TMC last night and the movie Grand Prix came on.. :shock:
Who needs a roll bar?


Yeah, a few days ago I put a heads-up in the Bullitt thread in the GD forum that Bullitt was on Tuesday (TMC) and Grand Prix was early Wed am on TMC. Recorded both.

Man, you were up late (or early) today.

Its funny how you get used to things without much thought. Not all that many years ago (OK, maybe a couple of decades) we drove cars without seatbelts and convertibles without rollbars. Now the thought of doing either of these things seems unconscionable. Maybe it is all the crummy drivers we have now...oblivious to traffic laws, smart phones, etc.

 by Elvis
7 months ago
 Total posts:  17657  
 Joined:  Mar 28 2015
United States of America   Los Angeles

Car fatality rates are less than half what they were in the 70's.

My friends and i often laugh about all the crazy unsafe stuff we did when we were kids, at least compared to today's standards, and i always say, "and look at us, we turned out great."

Of course the ones who didn't make it aren't around to tell the other side of the story. We're kind of a self selecting group: People who aren't dead for one reason or another...

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22 posts Sep 19 2018