The LA Rams are pioneers of sorts, an organization that is as innovative in the construction of a championship NFL roster as it is in constructing championship-winning plays. This is the LA Rams front office, an innovative group led by a savvy GM Les Snead. A riverboat gambler at heart, Snead is the data analytics and roster extension of head coach Sean McVay. Or is McVay an extension of the risk-taker NFL general manager?
Who’s to say?
Daugherty points to the LA Rams trade for veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford as the key to the top spot. But the dynamics of that blockbuster trade are as much about the conviction of head coach Sean McVay as the savviness of GM Les Snead.
Snead snaps the NFL’s traditional methods
But there were plenty of insightful transactions that proved the mettle of Snead as the top GM in the NFL throughout the season. Let’s start with that COVID-19 outbreak when Snead had to lead a mass hiring of more than a dozen free agents as emergency replacements for players who were quarantined due to positive COVID-19 testing? Not only did the LA Rams survive the outbreak, but they did so while continuing to win.
When the LA Rams needed a return specialist, it was Les Snead who signed WR Brandon Powell, an under-the-radar free agent who literally and single-handedly carried the Rams return game back to respectability.
It was Les Snead who traded for RB Sony Michel, a player whose north-south running would be desperately necessary to keep the team winning on the road in Minnesota and Baltimore. It was Les Snead who pried the face of the Denver Broncos franchise, OLB Von Miller, in a trade that not only landed the Rams a quality edge rusher but had the Broncos paying the majority of his salary in the process.
It was Snead who signed free agent WR Odell Beckham Jr., a receiver who signed for a contract that was incredibly team friendly but was so incentivized with postseason bonuses that OBJ was ultimately paid quite handsomely.
No, the LA Rams do not have or use first-round draft picks. But if the results are two Super Bowl appearances, and one Super Bowl victory, in just five years, I’d say that the Rams are onto something. Based on the fact that seven other teams entered the 2022 NFL Draft without a first-round pick suggests that other NFL front offices believe so as well.