I hate to be the guy who ruins your day with a 'Wudda, Cudda, Shudda' story about the LA Rams. So I won't be THAT guy. Instead, consider this a tale of opportunities and events that might have been had the LA Rams pulled the trigger at the 2023 NFL Trade Deadline
This is an NFL season that is unlike any other in recent history for the LA Rams. The team is struggling with injuries, but the Rams front office is not loading up on impact players. Not this year, at least. You see, the Rams have adopted the strategy of building a solid foundation, a basic back-to-football-fundamentals type of Rams roster that can make plays consistently on the football field.
The kind of team whose addition of key impact players can get them to and through the NFL Playoffs. Right now, the LA Rams do not appear to be at that level. But have the Rams become too conservative in the process. Does this team have any chance that they will regret not participating in shopping for roster upgrades at the 2023 NFL Trade Deadline? Perhaps, and here are three players who the Rams may regret not making an effort to acquire:
Regret III: Not trading a 2nd round pick for Commanders OLB/DE Montez Sweat
While the LA Rams have committed to a young pass-rushing group, there is always room for a veteran of a high caliber like Washington Commanders DE/OLB Montez Sweat. Much like the pursuit of Panther DE/OLB Brian Burns one year ago, Sweat is a young and talented pass rusher who could immediately come in and start for the Rams.
Sweat is a consistent and dominating force off the edge, the type of player who would immediately force offensive coordinators to think twice about double-teaming Aaron Donald, and committing one blocker to handle Sweat. He was traded to the Chicago Bears for a second round pick.
While that is a pricey payment for a partial year rental, the LA Rams had gone down that path for veteran OLB Von Miller. And Sweat's numbers this season, 32 tackles and 6.5 quarterback sacks in just eight games suggests that 2023 will be the best season of his NFL career.
The LA Rams appear to have enough cap space to have a contract extension option for Sweat at the end of the 2023 NFL season.
Regret II: Not trading 3rd round pick for Packers DB Rasul Douglas
The LA Rams are in need of secondary help, but they just missed a golden opportunity to upgrade their impressive secondary with a Green Bay Packers veteran defensive back, Rasul Douglas. Douglas is an ideal solution to the young and erratic play of the Rams young secondary so far this season. Douglas stands 6-foot-2, weighs 209 pounds, and has a solid reputation as a cutpurse in pass defense.
In 6.5 NFL seasons, Douglas has 15 interceptions and two pick sixes. Right now, the Rams secondary needs helps. DB Cobie Durant left the game against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 8 with a shoulder injury, and Derion Kendrick has been committing far too many penalties at the worst possible moments to be counted on.
The Buffalo Biles acquired Douglas for a reported third-round pick.
While the LA Rams have proven in the 2023 NFL Draft to make worthwhile selections of rookie prospects, Douglas is a solid NFL starter at an affordable price who is under contract through 2024. Historically, he allows fewer than two of every three passes thrown to his receiver to find their mark. Douglas, like Ahkello Witherspoon, could have become a solid tandem in the LA Rams secondary for DB coach Aubrey Pleasant.
Now? Not so much.
Regret I: Not trading a 3rd round pick for Commanders DE Chase Young
The LA Rams may really kick themselves for not pursuing Washington Commanders DE/OLB Chase Young. Considering that the San Francisco 49ers were able to pick him up for a very late third-round pick, you have to wonder if the Rams may have made a mistake by allowing him to be added to one of the Rams most competitive NFC Western Division rivals?
Much like his teammate, Montez Sweat, Young is only under contract for the remainder of the 2023 NFL season. Unlike Sweat, Young has not been a consistent performer in the NFL
Things appear to be aligning for Young this season. In seven games, he has 15 tackles and 5.0 quarterback sacks. Standing 6-foot-5 and weighing 264 pounds, Young has the ability to play either with his hand in the dirt or upright in a two-point stance. But let's be clear, he earns his keep by getting after the quarterback.
Three free agents, all of whom were affordable to the LA Rams this season. Did the Rams make the right decision? You decide. But there were bargains to be found at the 2023 NFL Trade Deadline. The Rams simply made no effort to find them.