Cortland Finnegan's tenure in St. Louis is over after just two seasons with the Rams. Within the past 24 hours, coach Jeff Fisher and executive vice president Kevin Demoff spoke with Finnegan, both informing him that he was being released.
The official paperwork has not yet been sent to the NFL office, but will within the next week.
As soon as that happens, Finnegan's release will save the Rams $4 million in immediate salary cap money. He was due to make $6 million in base salary, plus a $3 million signing bonus due the third day of the league year (or by March 13), and count $10 million against this year's Rams salary cap.
The signing bonus of $3 million is guaranteed, but it includes offset language. In other words, if Finnegan signs with another team for $2 million this year, the Rams get $2 million in additional cap space. If he signs for $1 million with another team, the Rams get $1 million of cap space back. Etc., up to a maximum of the $3 million.
Finnegan "broke" the news himself on his Twitter account this afternoon:
"St. Louis thank you for your letting me play for a classy franchise and coach fish nothing but love thank you all. #Motivation"
Fisher later told the Post-Dispatch that the team remains interested in re-signing Finnegan at a later date.
"We've expressed interest in him coming back to our football team," Fisher said. "We appreciate what he's done for us. I know he was personally disappointed the way last year ended up for us. But as we told him, he can help win football games for us next year."
Implied but not stated is the fact that that will happen only at a much lower rate than his soon to be terminated contract. Compounding matters is the fact that Finnegan currently does not have an agent.
Finnegan was brought in to be a cornerstone of the Rams' defense in 2012 _ the first free agency period for Fisher. He started out with a bang, with an interception in the Rams' first three games of 2012.
But his played leveled off late in the season when Finnegan was bothered by a nagging leg injury. He got off to a poor start in 2013 and then suffered a fractured orbital in Game 4 against San Francisco.
After missing several games, he returned to the lineup, but still suffered from blurred vision and other symptoms, and eventually was placed on the season-ending injured reserve list. The eye injury did no require surgery.