It won't come as a shocker, given the recent reports, but the 49ers trade of Alex Smith to the Kansas City Chiefs may have serious implications for the Rams.
Given the recent reports coming out of the combine, it isn't a surprise the Alex Smith was sent packing to the Chiefs. Sure, you could blame the Rams for ending his time in San Francisco, but the 49ers certainly aren't complaining after receiving a second round pick and a "similar pick" in 2014.
For starters, the 49ers now have a boatload of draft picks. This could allow them to go after players the Rams (and us fans) covet, like Tavon Austin in the draft. It would also easily put them in the running for trades. PFT linked them to Darrelle Revis, which would certainly give any wide receiver the Rams have on the team fits during divisional play.
They have the ammo to make big moves, but they might prefer to load up in the draft given this year's depth at key positions. Most of their defensive players play every snap of every game, so adding depth might improve what is an already elite unit.
Oh, but it can get worse. Take a gander:
In general terms, this puts the Rams at a serious disadvantage. The 49ers will have an insane amount of draft picks this year, and with the team already so close to the Lombardi trophy, you can't help but wonder if the NFC West is pulling way ahead of the pack at this point.
The Rams gave the 49ers everything they could in 2012, and came away with the upper hand. It's quite a bit murkier now that the 49ers have the power to pick up marquee trade-bait players in addition to top picks in the draft. Could Chris Givens hold his own against Darrelle Revis? Could Janoris Jenkins stop Percy Harvin? These are questions the Rams might have to face in 2013.
The NFL Draft
In more detailed terms, the Rams could now be on the outside looking in when it comes to offensive line talent in the draft. Many expect Luke Joeckel to be taken first overall now, and not needing a QB gives Kansas City a huge amount of breathing room- no quarterback was worth the top pick this year anyway.
For instance, a needy team like the Titans may take Chance Warmack at 10 and the Chargers would likely take Lane Johnson at 11 (as is what happened in Walter Football's latest mock). The Rams would be left with Jonathan Cooper, a worthy consolation prize, or bust.
Still, missing out on a player of Warmack's caliber hurts big time.
Another scenario, which is so dastardly I don't want to write, but must, has to do with the 49ers now deeper pocketbooks (Smith was owed 7.5 million this year). You remember how I talked about Tavon Austin? Replace that name with Danny Amendola.
What would you do if the 49ers signed Steven Jackson? Why play for the Falcons when you could join a team that actually went to the Superbowl last year? Can you imagine the nightmare teams would have preparing for Frank Gore, Steven Jackson and LaMichael James? It's not a rosy thought, but if anyone knows what Jackson or Amendola is capable of, it's the team that faces them twice a year, every year.
Hypothetical scenarios suck. One more reason to hate the 9ers. At least there is always Arizona!