“This is the time of year when all NFL teams are faced with difficult decisions regarding their veteran players,” Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher said. “Chris and James are the epitome of what it means to be a pro in this league and it’s been an honor to coach them both. They’ve been the pillars of our defense for many years and not enough can be said of their love for the game and for their teammates. Beyond the field, they took pride in mentoring the younger players and doing their part to make a real difference in the St. Louis community. We will always be grateful for James and Chris’ unselfish commitment to the Rams and wish them the best moving forward.
“Jared made an immediate impact when he joined the team in 2013. It’s been a pleasure watching him grow from the time I drafted him in Tennessee to seeing him set franchise records in St. Louis. Like Chris and James, he’s been a mainstay in the community and his contributions are commendable. We hope for the best for Jared and his family as he embarks on the next steps of his career.”
According to OverTheCap.com, releasing these three players will free up $22.974 million in cap space while also creating close to $9 million in dead money. OTC’s calculator has the Rams with over $58 million in available cap space.
Long, 30, was in the final year of his five-year, $60.31 million contract that includes $36.76 million guaranteed. He was set to make a base salary of $9.75 million for the 2016 season.
In 2015, Long appeared in 12 games and recorded 19 tackles, three sacks, and a forced fumble for the Rams.
Cook, 28, was a big-ticket free agent signing back in 2013. He was entering the fourth year of his five-year, $35.11 million contract that included $19 million guaranteed and would have made $7 million for the 2016 season.
In 2015, Cook appeared in all 16 games for the Rams and recorded 39 receptions for 481 yards receiving and no touchdowns.
Laurinaitis, 29, was entering the fifth year of his six-year, $42.12 million contract that included $23.62 million guaranteed. He would have made a base salary of $5.775 million for the 2016 season.
In 2015, Laurinaitis appeared in all 16 games for the Rams and recorded 109 tackles, one sack, an interception, a forced fumble, a pass defense and a safety.