No takers for Rams Akers at deadline. Can this be fixed?
By Bret Stuter
The LA Rams, for the second season in a row, have had a dispute with an offensive skill player over his workload and position in the team’s offensive scheme before the NFL Trade Deadline. And for the second season in a row, that dispute devolved into the LA Rams stating that they would be open to trading that player.
In 2021, that player was a veteran wide receiver, DeSean Jackson, whose role that was pitched to him as he signed an incentive-laden contract with the team never materialized. He was targetted just 15 times in eight games but managed to convert those targets into eight receptions, 221 yards, and one touchdown. The Rams never did find a trade partner, and eventually released the veteran to sign with another team.
In 2022, that player is veteran running back, Cam Akers. Akers has appeared in five games, starting two, and rushed 51 times this season for 151 yards and one touchdown. But from the moment he and head coach Sean McVay reached a disagreement about his workload, he was benched and has remained inactive as the LA Rams sought another team.
No takers for Akers
With the lapse of the NFL Trade Deadline, and the Rams receiving no satisfactory offers, the team must now find a way to salvage this relationship. Personally, I’m not so sure that is an option:
Whatever created the fiction initially has not been corrected. The Rams still cannot run. The Rams still favor the pass. And the Rams’ offensive line is still starting only two of the original players who began the season in their respective positions. And what of the money owed to Akers on his current contract? None is guaranteed.
All of this is still the reality for the LA Rams running game. All of these conditions are both frustrating and disappointing to the young Rams running back, Cam Akers. And the Rams have a proven track record for releasing players who are dissatisfied with the team. While that may be the wrong term that applies to the Rams-Akers situation right now, it’s clearly close enough to what is truly going on.
Can Cam Akers be happy with 10 carries a game? I don’t see how. By not offering any contract to RB Sony Michel, the Rams endorsed Akers as the 2022 feature back by default, and in the process may have inadvertently jumped the gun. Akers may or may not be the same back as the one who shocked the NFL in 2020. But it’s clear that he has been far less effective for the Rams this season.
The Rams have done all but anoint rookie RB Kyren Williams as the future featured RB in the Rams offense. Both RB Darrell Henderson and RB Malcolm Brown are projected to become free agents in 2023.
Yes, the LA Rams have plenty of drama at the running back position in 2022. But you might as well get used to it. No matter how the Rams resolve their relationship with RB Cam Akers this season, the drama at that position will likely remain for months, if not years, from now.