Tuesday night, it was reported that the Detroit Lions have signed Rams restricted free agent running back Malcolm Brown to an offer sheet. Los Angeles now has five days (until Monday) to decide whether they are going to match the offer and retain Brown or decline and allow Brown to become a Detroit Lion.
Initially, we didn’t know the terms, but thanks to a report from MMQB’s Albert Breer, we now know the specifics of the decision the Rams must make. According to Breer, it’s a two-year contract worth $3.25 million with $1 million guaranteed and comes with a $100,000 signing bonus.
That’s a pretty modest contract, but there are reasons to believe the Rams may or may not match it. On one hand, the Rams gave Brown an original-round tender, worth $2.025 million, meaning they were willing to pay that much for him had he not gotten offers anywhere else. Depending on how the Lions’ contract offer is structured, it could potentially be cheaper than that in Year 1 of the deal.
On the other hand, the Rams are extremely tight on cap space right now. Spotrac estimates they have around just $8 million in cap room, and that’s not even factoring in Clay Matthews, who reportedly signed a two-year, $16.75 million deal with the team on Tuesday night. The Rams may have been willing to pay Brown over $2 million at the beginning of free agency, but the situation has changed. Though we’ve seen the Rams work some cap magic before, this may be a little too extreme.
Regardless, we’ll have to wait to see what the Rams do. Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see what happens to Spencer Ware, another running back the Lions showed interest in. Could the Lions possibly be interested in adding both? Is Ware simply their backup plan? What if the Rams retain Brown and Ware signs elsewhere? We’ll know the answer to these questions by Monday.