Why the LA Rams could be active at the 2023 NFL Trade Deadline

At 1-2, the LA Rams could end up in the NFL Playoffs, or making an early pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Here are some trade options at the 2023 NFL Trade Deadline to help the Rams to that outcome.
Sports Contributor Archive 2023
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Cooper Kupp
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Remodel: Rams trade away WR Cooper Kupp

With the LA Rams offense running on the youthful energy and surprising complementary skills of rookie WR Puka Nacua and WR Tutu Atwell, the Rams offense has been remarkably effective without the injured WR Cooper Kupp. But, the LA Rams traded veteran WR Robert Woods away at 30 years of age after an injury. Will history repeat itself?

Yes, I know, another fan favorite being traded away. I'm not sure what move would hurt more, trading away Rams All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald or trading away Rams All-Pro wide receiver Cooper Kupp. After all, Kupp was one of the biggest reasons the Rams won Super Bowl LVI after the 2021 NFL season and did so while posting historic receiving numbers and winning the triple crown.

Cannot ignore Cooper Kupp's injury history

The problem with Kupp is his extensive injury history resulting in only 2 complete seasons from the star receiver. There is no doubt that his production would be missed, but at this point is he a wise investment for the future? If the Rams wait any longer, there is a chance that Kupp is one injury away from retirement or at least from other teams being interested.

The other negative impact of a Kupp trade would be the Rams taking a $47 million dead cap hit. This shouldn't be too huge of a deal since the Rams would probably be looking for draft capital anyway and by the time 2025 rolls around (when the Rams have an expected $164.7 million to spend) the hit will be almost meaningless. I expect a trade package to be similar to Aaron Donald but include maybe only one first-round pick and several mid-to-late-round picks.

Regardless of how you feel about the trades in this article, there is a high chance that the Rams front office resumes a path of dealing picks for players. The only question is: Will it be to remodel or to compete for a future Super Bowl? Rams fans should have a better feeling of the direction the Rams' strategy will be taking within the next 4 weeks.

Cooper Kupp is still one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in the NFL. But for how long? If the Rams are truly building to compete in 2024 and beyond, can the team rely on Kupp to put in a full 17-game season plus games in the postseason for them? Perhaps, But it's wise to have a backup plan, just in case.