Trade scenario III: Cory Littleton
The LA Rams have lost former inside linebacker Micah Kiser and now traded inside linebacker Kenny Young to the Denver Broncos. Curiously, the Broncos just placed Kiser on injured reserve, placing them on the phone to trade with the Rams front office for his replacement. While the Rams faced losing Young to free agency at the end of this season, the team is in no position of strength to deal away starting linebackers.
The Las Vegas Raiders made Cory Littleton a very rich man when they signed him in the 2020 NFL Free Agency for over $35 million for three years. He’s in year two of that deal, and he has restructured his original deal once, pushing his 2021 salary cap hit to just $5.9 million. He’s expensive to keep, cut, or trade, thanks to placing $22 million in as guaranteed. But much of that cost stays on the Raiders books.
The trouble is that he has not panned out nearly as well as hoped on their defense. In the Rams defense, he has earned a PFF grade of 79.0. Since arriving for the Raiders defense, he has earned a PFF grade of 47.1 for 2020, and a PFF grade of 48.4 for 2021. To say that he hasn’t delivered for the Raiders is a complete understatement.
Yes, the Raiders are in the hunt for a playoff spot with an AFC leading record of 5-2. But how much of that truly depends upon Littleton’s play? That is certainly a topic we will not debate here.
While he may not be the run-stopping sonofagun that the Rams need in the middle of their defense, he is 6-foot-3 and 221-pounds, and he excels at pass coverage for an inside linebacker. He is also a standout on special teams, earning an All-Pro designation for his special teams’ play for the Rams in 2018.
Yes, the Rams need help on special teams too.
Will the Rams be able to afford trading for all three? Probably not. But they are not panning out for their new teams, and have contributed mightily in the past when playing for the LA Rams. All three have struggled with their new teams. Time to make some calls and see what it would take to bring ’em back. The LA Rams are playing incredible football right now, comparable to the play of their 2018 Super Bowl team. So it makes sense to make the attempt to restore players from that 2018 team.