By clearing up salary cap space after trading Aqib Talib, it seemed like the Los Angeles Rams weren’t done making moves before the deadline.
As previously mentioned in the “Trade Frenzy” post a little over a week ago, I didn’t think the Los Angeles Rams were done in the trading block, and the front office hit us again on Tuesday by trading veteran All-Pro cornerback Aqib Talib (and a fifth round pick) to the Miami Dolphins.
Much has been spoken the past few weeks about Talib being a cap casualty and trade candidate after acquiring Jalen Ramsey, but I don’t view it that way, because of two reasons:
For starters, Talib is set to be a free agent this next offseason, so his trade cannot generate new cap space towards the future.
Also, any Ramsey extension would not affect this year’s salary cap.
So, what or why did Los Angeles pull the trigger on yet another trade deadline?
It can’t be draft related for the Rams, not when you are sending a fifth-round pick to get back basically a pick in the same round (or around it).
Future salary cap? Yet again, all of the cap hit that Talib had, was this season, and none afterward.
So, this left me with essentially one more option (or two, depending on how you see it), so let’s explore them.
Option 1 : Rams are eyeing offensive line help:
Who are we lying, the Rams (and any other team for that matter) are at their best when they can open gaps for Todd Gurley to run through, and when they give enough time for the wide receivers routes to develop, in order for them to be found by Jared Goff.
I honestly speculated a lot about acquiring either Trent Williams or Brandon Scherff from the Washington Redskins before the deadline since either one of them would be an immediate upgrade over almost every starting player the Rams have not named Andrew Whitworth.
But, of course, everything comes at a price, and the Rams just didn’t have the firepower to get them done, at least not this season anyway.
It still bugs me that just a few weeks ago, an amazing player like Stefen Wisniewski was still a free agent, and the front office didn’t even try to get him since it would have been an immediate upgrade to the offensive line.
Right tackle Rob Havenstein signed a really nice extension back in 2018, but he hasn’t lived up to expectations so far. Havenstein isn’t a guy you just sit, but I feel that having some help on the inside would make his work a lot easier.
Center Brian Allen, who was drafted in the fourth round of the draft in 2018 was, in my opinion, overhyped this preseason, and even with the slightest of competition, he would be benched.
Les Snead and Aaron Kromer need to find the answer either from within (slim chances) or in the small free-agent market remaining, which we will look more into below.
Jeff Allen (IOL) – Allen is not the flashiest offensive lineman you will see, but he has the experience along almost every position in the trenches to make the unit stronger. He would certainly start as a backup, with the possibility of taking Allen’s spot away.
Blythe did well at center last year, so I would expect him to slide right back at it, with Allen covering the right spot. At worst, this journeyman drafted in the second round of the draft in 2012 by the Kansas City Chiefs would add depth, and put pressure on some of the starting players.
Chance Warmack (IOL) – Some might say he is a bust, and how can you blame them after being selected No. 10 by the Tennessee Titans, only to fail to live up to the high expectations.
But let’s be honest, the Titans have been a bottom-shelf team for a long time. Surely, Warmack is not the same mauling player that came put from Alabama, but he is still young (28) and has the starting experience (51 starts) to turn his career around.
He would be a solid addition to a thin OL corpse.
Option 2: Bump up the defense and make Phillips happy
Sure, the Rams need help with the offensive trenches, but what is a Wade Phillips without a dominant defense?
Chris Harris Jr. was a name I would’ve loved to see in a Rams royal blue jersey, but being an upcoming free agent in 2020, I sure thought his price tag would be low and that John Elway would trade his star cornerback away to help rebuild the Denver Broncos
Harris previously won a Super Bowl with Phillips as his defensive coordinator with the Broncos, and an opportunity on the Rams seem like it could have revived his career.
Plus, Harris knows the grand scheme as good as anyone on the team.
But, as the other players on my wish list, this didn’t happen either.
Honestly, I think that the secondary is the least upgradeable position, especially after acquiring Ramsey, who has already looked amazing on the field and with the Horns.
But the linebackers, well that’s another story.
Sure, we have one of the best in the game in silent Cory Littleton, who will demand big money next offseason. But aside from him, there is not much to be proud of at the interior of the position.
Bryce Hager and Troy Reeder are nothing more than special teams aces, and Kenny Young is an unknown new cheap arrival. Sure, we could slide Clay Matthews III in as he has the experience, but why lose his production on the outside, when we can land someone big that has recently hit the market?
Recently cut in a mysterious manner by the Philadelphia Eagles, Zach Brown still has exceptional tackling skills and sideline-to-sideline speed. He would be an immediate upgrade over at the No.2 inside linebacker starting spot.
Brown’s passing coverage skills are far from where they were on his first couple of seasons, but, that’s where Littleton excels.
The addition of Brown would be an immediate upgrade in a position that lacks depth, and you will also give one of your best players in Littleton the freedom to do what he does best.
One thing is clear to me, which is the Rams didn’t break apart with a locker room and on-field leader like Talib (set to return towards the end of the season) just for nothing.
In my honest opinion, something bigger is yet to come for the Rams, but the clock is ticking since there are only two months remaining in the 2019 season.