That explains why the Rams released Mikell in a move ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Sunday night.
Pro Bowl Safeties on Market
Mikell was set to earn $6 million in salary. Releasing him means the Rams will not have to pay that money or count the salary against their cap. However, the team still must absorb $3 million in annual bonus-related cap charges for 2013 and 2014 that they previous paid him.
Had Mikell remained on the roster, St. Louis would have taken a $9 million cap hit this season. That figure reflects the $6 million salary and the $3 million bonus charge scheduled to hit in 2013. Releasing Mikell forces the Rams to account for all $6 million in bonus money this year even as the salary vanishes from the books.
The net savings against the cap is $3 million for 2013. The net savings for 2013 could grow to $6 million after June 1 if the Rams elected to use their lone annual post-June 1 designation for Mikell. In that case, the team would absorb one $3 million bonus charge this year and another in 2014.
Mikell joins a crowded safety market featuring San Francisco 49ers projected free agent Dashon Goldson and former longtime Arizona Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson. Ed Reed, Charles Woodson and LaRon Landry are also on the market or scheduled to become free agents.
The chart lists Pro Bowls for some of the notable safeties on the market or expected to hit the market. Woodson converted from cornerback. Houston's Glover Quin is another notable safety on the market.
The Rams have options, in other words. Another projected free-agent safety, Louis Delmas, was with new Rams defensive coordinator Tim Walton at Detroit.