LA Rams don't need Aaron Donald trade to finish roster reset

Detroit Lions v Los Angeles Rams
Detroit Lions v Los Angeles Rams / Katelyn Mulcahy/GettyImages

LA Rams' general manager Les Snead has pulled out all the stops to cut costs and help his team get younger this offseason, but trading the LA Rams All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald doesn't need to be part of the roster reset. But oh don't you know that it has been brought up already,.

It means Snead can resist any temptation to deal the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year ahead of the 2023 NFL draft. Even if it would gain the Rams entry to the first round.

That's the reward proposed by ESPN's Bill Barnwell, who outlined a scenario where the Rams send Donald to the Detroit Lions. Snead would get the 18th-overall pick and the 55th in return.

It's a tempting haul, but even Barnwell admits this trade would require everyone involved to "get a little silly," but he did outline why Donald might be keen for this deal to happen:

"At 31 and having already flirted with retirement a year ago, Donald's timeline might not align with L.A. given how the organization approached this offseason. He has a no-trade clause and might not be willing to waive it to go to Detroit, but the Lions have a more credible chance of making a deep playoff run in 2023 than the Rams do with their respective rosters. (If the Steelers hadn't re-signed Larry Ogunjobi, a deal to Donald's old stomping grounds in Pittsburgh would have made plenty of sense.)"

ESPN's Bill Barnwell

It's crazy when the logic finally hits. The LA Rams are further from competing in the NFL playoffs with Aaron Donald than the Detroit Lions are without him?

Trade talks are not trade negotiations

The Rams have been here before with the Detroit Lions, who showed interest in acquiring Donald while working out the trade to send veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford to SoFi Stadium in 2021, per ESPN's Adam Schefter:

This might still work for Donald, but it wouldn't help the Rams this season. Not after the defense has already been stripped of its few top-tier talents after Snead traded cornerback Jalen Ramsey to the Miami Dolphins and released edge-rusher Leonard Floyd.

What Donald needs is help, not pastures new. The Rams can get him some help, simply by standing pat with the 36th pick in this draft.

Making his choice near the top of Round 2 will likely let Snead take his pick from Arkansas blitzing linebacker Drew Sanders, Georgia Tech's versatile defensive lineman Keion White or LSU edge B.J. Ojulari. Any member of this trio would add the oomph the Rams need next to Donald along the front seven, although using a familiar draft strategy might help No. 99 more.

The strategy would involve revisting Donald's alma mata for another Pittsburgh defensive tackle, Calijah Kancey. The 6-foot, 275-pounder compares to Donald as an undersized lineman who wins with quickness and leverage, qualities highlighted by Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus:

Kancey flashes first-round talent, but he recently told NFL Network he hasn't been on a single top-30 visit after not receiving any requests. It means there's a chance teams are overlooking Kancey and he could still be on the board at 36.

Putting Kancey on the same line as Donald would transform the Rams' front and give defensive coordinator Raheem Morris a natural successor for his best player. Unleashing this double act on offenses is better than moving on from Donald and asking a rookie to immediately replace arguably the greatest defensive player of his generation.

It's not as if Snead still needs to cut costs. Not after trading Allen Robinson to the Pittsburgh Steelers helped the Rams go from being the league's big spenders to spendthrifts in the space of a year, according to PFF's Brad Spielberger:

Trending. 3 reasons why LA Rams should develop QBs to trade in the future. dark

Snead has successfully thinned the roster and wage bill after the excesses that made winning Super Bowl LVI possible. Now's the time to begin building a new team around elite holdovers like Donald.