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Rams trade Will Witherspoon to the Eagles

The St. Louis Rams made a big move at the NFL trade deadline, sending one of their top linebackers to the Philadelphia Eagles for a much-needed wide receiver and a 2010 draft pick.

Since coming to the Rams in 2006, LB Will Witherspoon had been miscast as the team's middle linebacker. This season, he was moved back to the weakside to take advantage of his speed and athleticism. The Rams linebackers have been much better this season thanks in part to the decision to move Witherspoon and the emergence of 2009 second round pick James Laurinaitis, the team's first true MLB since London Fletcher. Ironically enough, it sounds like the Eagles will move Spoon to the middle.

In exchange for Witherspoon the Rams get WR Brandon Gibson and a fifth-round pick in the 2010 draft. It sounds like Gibson is not without talent. By all accounts he's said to have a great work ethic and dedicated to his team, i.e. he meets the "four pillars." To me, he seems like a decent enough complement to Avery's deep speed and Amendola in the slot. Could Gibson be the Laurent Robinson replacement the Rams need? He was a sixth round pick in this year's draft. I can't imagine that he won't suit up with the receiver depleted Rams.

I'm shocked by this move. Witherspoon has been among the Rams better defensive players in recent seasons. Of course, for a defense that's set records for their ineptness, that means nothing. Witherspoon will be 30 next season, and the Rams don't have many players left on the roster over 30, an intentional move on the part of the team's leadership. This leaves a hole on defense right now. Paris Lenon most likely takes over on the weakside once David Vobora returns after this week's game against the Colts.