Why LA Rams whiff for Panthers DE Brian Burns is serious

Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports /

The ability of the LA Rams front office to deliver exactly what the team needed when the team needed it has been legendary. When the Rams needed offensive line help in 2019, the Rams were able to trade for Cleveland Browns OL Austin Corbett and sign OL Coleman Shelton from the practice squad of the Arizona Cardinals.

Perhaps the most impressive run on mid-season additions occurred in 2021, when the Rams traded for New England Patriots RB Sony Michel, and Denver Broncos OLB Von Miller, and signed FA WR Odell Beckham Jr. to a roster that would win nine of their last ten games, including all four post-season contests to win Super Bowl LVI.

Curiously, not one of those additions is on the LA Rams roster today. One player signed elsewhere, one player’s contract expired, and has yet to sign with an NFL team, and one player was never offered a contract to return to the LA Rams. But that was not as concerning to the team as the latest set of events proved to be.

Panthers reject 2 generous Rams offers

The LA Rams tried to pry at least two key players from the Carolina Panthers. The first attempt was the well-documented bid for RB Christian McCaffrey, a player whom the Rams offered plenty:

But the Rams also packaged a seriously valuable ransom for pass-rusher Brian Burns.

Ultimately, the Rams emerged empty-handed. Now, here’s why that could be more important than you think. Here’s why:

The LA Rams have long held to the practice of trading valuable but uncertain draft picks for certain NFL talent. That practice was successful as recently as 2021. But many NFL teams took notice and have since adopted that practice to build their own roster.

The Rams may need to reformulate their strategy

The Rams clearly need help at the running back and pass rush position. But unlike in the past, where the front office was able to deliver players to fulfill the greatest needs on a timely basis, the Rams were unable to upgrade either position at the trade deadline. While you could argue that the offensive line needed help, the Rams had already added three free-agent offensive linemen to the roster.

Had the Rams secured either McCaffrey or Burns or both, the team may be looking at 5-3 right now rather than 3-5. The San Francisco 49ers might be 3-5 instead of 4-4, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers might be 3-6, rather than 4-5.

Wudda? Cudda? Shudda? No, I’m not here to argue some made-up scenario of what might have been. But it’s quite clear that a primary method of the LA Rams restocking this roster, exchanging valuable draft picks for game-changing players, is no longer as easy or as effective as it was as recently as one year ago.

At a minimum, it could mean that the LA Rams must improve their ability to successfully draft in the early rounds. At worst, it could mean that the Rams can no longer pry key contributors from other failing NFL teams. Can the Rams build a championship roster solely from the NFL Draft? We’ll examine that soon, but for now, it appears as though the Rams truly may need to develop a new strategy to build a strong roster.

It’s not for the lack of success at doing so. In fact, it’s quite the contrary. The Rams were so good at it that far too many NFL teams have adopted the same strategy.

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