As Aaron Donald negotiations continue, Rams create $7 million in salary cap space

Excited comments from coach Sean McVay and light-hearted jokes from Rams executives this week hinted that the Rams were close to signing holdout defensive tackle Aaron Donald.

The Rams and two of their players made financial moves that provide more evidence.

Offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth and receiver Robert Woods agreed to restructure their contracts, creating about $7 million in cap space, Kevin Demoff, the Rams’ executive vice president of football operations and chief operating officer, said Thursday.

Field Yates of ESPN, citing a source, first tweeted about the restructuring of the two players’ contracts.


Demoff declined to comment on the Donald negotiations. But he said the contracts were not restructured “solely” because of that situation.

To this point in the NFL’s league year, only the top 51 salaries count against the salary cap. Next week, when rosters have been set, all 53 salaries, practice squad and injured reserve count against the cap.

“We needed to create extra room to handle all those charges, plus leave us some room going into the season,” Demoff said.

He also cited the recent $80-million extension signed by receiver Brandin Cooks, the $60-million extension for running back Todd Gurley and the $32-million extension for offensive lineman Rob Havenstein.

“We had not moved around any cap space through the Cooks, Gurley and Havenstein extensions, so this was always a move that was contemplated as we got close to the season, Demoff said.

Whitworth, the starting left tackle, signed a three-year, $33.75-million contract before the 2017 season. He has a base salary of $8 million and a salary cap number of $12.6 million this season, according to

Woods signed a five-year, $34-million contract before the 2017 season. He has a base salary of $5.5 million and a salary cap number of $9 million.

The Rams play their final preseason game against the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night.