As the NFL trade deadline approaches, with the LA Rams be players one more in a last-minute deal?
The LA Rams are already in a great position for the upcoming 2020 NFL playoffs. Not only has the team obliterated the entire NFC East division, but in doing so have taken the lead in virtually any tie-breaker in the NFC. Only division leaders, and those who are undefeated, are in a better position for the playoffs at the moment. And yet, here comes a deadline that has played a significant role for the LA Rams in the recent past.
The NFL Trade deadline matters most to two types of NFL teams. The teams that are far below expectations who have signed players to huge contracts seek to trade those huge deals elsewhere for building blocks to assemble a future team. These teams are sellers or the source of good players. Or the teams that are close to a playoff berth, but the roster needs one of two upgrades to ensure success. These teams are prepared to trade for today’s players with future assets. These teams are buyers, and they are often willing to pay a premium for the right player.
Another type of team, roster rearranger
Of course, there are other teams who have a surplus of talent at key spots, and who need help at other positions. Perhaps the team holds the last year of a player’s contract who they will be unable to re-sign the following year. Then it’s a matter of converting a partial season now into a player or draft pick that could benefit the team. Those teams can use the deadline to convert a surplus at one position into roster solutions at weaker positions.
Today, the LA Rams have solid depth at wide receiver, running back, and at tight end. Running back Malcolm Brown, tight end Gerald Everett and wide receiver Josh Reynolds have performed incredibly well for the Rams this season, despite the surplus of weapons. Right now, these players’ contracts will expire at the end of this season. Of course, some will want the Rams to keep all three players in a Rams jersey. And that’s okay.
Reinforcements waiting in the wings
The Rams do have untapped talent on the roster already. The Rams have running back Xavier Jones, wide receivers Van Jefferson and Trishton Jackson, and tight end Brycen Hopkins waiting in the wings. Right now, only Jefferson has had an opportunity to play with the Rams offense. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but after five weeks of practicing, any rookies on the Rams roster should deserve the chance to play. Now it’s a matter of making room in the rotation.
The Rams could use help at inside linebacker right now. Or the team could use draft picks for the 2021 NFL Draft. As of right now, the LA Rams will have four picks in that draft, plus the likelihood of being awarded two additional picks. In total, the Rams will select six prospects from the 2021 NFL Draft.
In or out at the NFL trade deadline?
Of course, any team with surplus talent at the linebacker position is a possible trading partner for the LA Rams. That means that the Rams could be talking to the New York Giants, Arizona Cardinals, or even the Washington Football team right now. Of course, that is just a small sample of the possible trade partners for the Rams this year. Will the Rams be a player at the trade deadline? Rams general manager Les Snead has been rather subdued of late.
Perhaps the best answer is the simplest one. If the Rams can improve the team with a trade before the deadline, they will do so. But this team has a plan in place right now. Even if the Rams make no corresponding move at this year’s deadline, any player signing elsewhere has the potential to trigger a compensatory pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.