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“The Rams are paying 1/5 of their salary cap to players that are no longer on their roster”

All in an attempt to extend Jalen Ramsey, who may not even sign

Los Angeles Rams v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Wide receiver Brandin Cooks has been on the trade deadline for the better portion of a month. When the Los Angeles Rams traded Cooks, that wasn’t much of a surprise. Then we found out the Rams traded Cooks to the Houston Texans. Right away, everyone figured head coach, and somehow general manager Bill O’Brien gave up too much. Sure enough, O’Brien traded a second-rounder in exchange for a 2022 fourth-round pick and Cooks. The Texans now have Will Fuller, Kenny Stills, Randall Cobb, and Cooks as their receivers. O’Brien is playing Madden.

Don’t let any of this distract you from the Rams struggling to climb out of salary cap hell. Los Angeles originally traded a first and fourth-round pick for Cooks. Their return on investment was the pick from the Texans and had $17.8 million in dead cap on the Cooks deal. Add in the Rams having to pay Todd Gurley $20.2 million to pay for the Falcons this season, and that’s not even the best part. Throw in Jared Goff’s contract, and Los Angeles is paying $74 million to three skill players, and two of them aren’t on the roster. Goff’s $36 million cap hit is the highest in the NFL and still unbelievable to type out. The Rams keeping Cooks past April 1 cost them $4 million in roster bonuses. What are they doing?

Ben Allbright tweeted that the Rams are paying roughly 20% of the Rams salary cap this season will be dedicated to players not playing for them. Wow. All of this unloading of bad contracts is likely to extend star cornerback Jalen Ramsey before free agency next offseason. When Ramsey walks in free agency, the Rams will be the new Texans. If you’re a general manager—looking at you, John Lynch—why wouldn’t you call the Texans and try to get over on Houston? I’ve seen some trade tweets about swapping quarterbacks. I’d offer any combination of Pettis/Solly for one of those star players in Houston. Further proof that you don’t know unless you pick up the phone.

Are the Rams going to finish last in the NFC West?