The Los Angeles Rams have wasted little time in making use of their excess of salary cap space this offseason by adding several high-caliber players to the mix. All of this movement has pushed the Rams closer to the salary cap limit.
Following this handful of trades and free-agent signings, the front office has left just over $5 million in financial flexibility ahead of the upcoming draft. According to Field Yates of ESPN, the Rams have made a little more extra space by converting Johnny Hecker’s base salary for the 2018 NFL season into a signing bonus:
Source: the Rams converted $1.21M of All-Pro P Johnny Hekker's 2018 base salary into a signing bonus, creating $968,000 in cap space. Some wiggle room.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) April 11, 2018
Since being signed as an undrafted rookie from the 2012 NFL Draft, Hekker has been arguably the league’s best punter as he is coming off yet another highly productive campaign that saw him earn his fourth-career Pro Bowl selection, which marked his third straight overall. He was also selected to the Associated Press First-Team All-Pro for the third consecutive year and the fourth time in his career.
In the 2017 campaign, he had 30 of his 65 punts inside the 20-yard line, which was the third-highest mark in the league. Hekker is the only punter in Rams’ history to be named to the PFWA All-NFL Team multiple times and he is only the third punter in team history to receive that honor joining Dave Chapple in 1972 and Dale Hatcher in 1985.
The ability to create more cap space with Hekker’s contract is another impressive move by the Rams front office that has been able to increasingly work around their salary cap space to secure additional talent this offseason. General manager Les Snead has been able to add several highly talented players to the roster such as All-Pro cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib along with Pro Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and wide receiver Brandin Cooks.
Ultimately, these splashy additions will be determined on the field if they were the right moves that push the franchise toward competing for the Super Bowl in the 2018 campaign.