EARTH CITY, Mo. -- The departure of cornerback Cortland Finnegan to the Miami Dolphins will not yield anything in terms of compensatory picks for the St. Louis Rams next year because the Rams released Finnegan on the first day of free agency.
Instead, the Rams will receive their parting gift much sooner from Finnegan's departure. Details of Finnegan's two-year, $11 million deal came out Monday afternoon. The contract includes $5.5 million in guaranteed money including the entirety of his $3.5 million 2014 salary.
Put simply, that contract will save the Rams an additional $3 million in salary-cap space. It's unclear when that cap credit will be officially applied for the Rams.
Taking it a little further and into the details of the cap, the Rams will receive the "full offset" of a $3 million roster bonus he had in his contract with St. Louis. That bonus had offset language surrounding it which allowed the Rams to recoup that money if and when Finnegan signed elsewhere.
In this case, Finnegan's 2014 guaranteed salary in Miami is $3.5 million. The bonus with the Rams was $3 million. Obviously, the guaranteed salary in Miami exceeds the bonus from the Rams so they realize all of that $3 million in savings.
If, for example, Finnegan had signed for $2 million, that money would have gone back to the Rams but the additional $1 million from the bonus would have counted against St. Louis.
At the time of Finnegan's release, the Rams immediately saved $4 million in salary-cap space. Finnegan's deal with Miami brings that total to $7 million in savings.
Offset language is more commonly associated as something teams and draft picks haggle over but the idea of it is to prevent players from double dipping from two teams. Finnegan actually acted as his own agent in his free-agent venture.