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The Los Angeles Rams must really value OLB Robert Quinn

Yesterday’s trade for Marcus Peters offers us some insight on the Rams view of their pass rusher.

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NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Los Angeles Rams Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams offseason got kicked off in a huge way yesterday when the Rams completed a trade to bring Pro Bowl CB Marcus Peters out West. That move alone sent shock waves through the Rams fan base and the NFL. While we still don’t know exactly what the compensation was for the star cornerback, we did learn about one piece the Kansas City Chiefs asked for in return.

Ian Rapoport revealed that the Chiefs inquired about OLB Robert Quinn before ultimately settling on draft picks (allegedly). This can be considered big news for a multitude of reasons. I’ll try and break it down from every angle.

First, it shows how valuable even average edge rushers can be to teams in the NFL, regardless of contract numbers. The Chiefs already have Justin Houston under contract who had a remarkable comeback season and figures to be around a few more years but yet at least asked about Quinn. And the Rams said no.

The moment the Rams season ended, fans turned their attention to free agents, draft prospects, contracts etc. And Quinn and his potential $11.4M in cap savings via release soon became a fan favorite idea despite his late season surge (seven sacks in final seven games played including playoffs). If the Rams were serious about moving on from Quinn and saving all that cash, a trade package including Quinn to acquire Peters offered the Rams the easiest of outs while reducing the draft capital required to get a deal done with K.C. After all, the Rams are already without a 2nd-round pick due to the Sammy Watkins trade.

To me that says a few things about the former 19.0-sack man. One, other teams at least are testing the waters on Quinn due to his contract status (overblown). While the $12 million figure Quinn presents in 2018 might seem too much to some, there’s teams out there willing to take that on considering the free agent EDGE class looks really weak.

Secondly, the Rams are more comfortable relinquishing draft assets than dealing away one of the only pass rushers the Rams have with experience and saving a lot of money. The Rams have young rushers in Samson Ebukam and Ejuan Price, but they’re likely not ready to take on full time roles just yet. Restricted free agent Matt Longacre is also recovering from back surgery while Connor Barwin is a free agent.

Finally, the Rams quite possibly believe the Quinn in the second half of the season and vs Atlanta is the Quinn they’ll get in 2018. A possibility that rarely gets talked about it seems, and one that is worth every bit his cap hit relative to the EDGE rusher market. To give a quick example of how messed up one team can make it for the entire market, the New York Giants are on the hook for paying DE’s Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon a combined $34.5M (two of the five richest EDGE contracts) in 2018. Whew. Neither one of those players have outproduced Quinn but cashed in at the perfect times in an era where the salary caps go up and up.

Its an interesting wrinkle to the Peters trade and one that I don’t think many people would have trouble seeing the logic in if the Rams included Quinn, considering the team’s contract situations. But for the time being, the team values Robert Quinn as a member of the 2018 Rams opposed to finding alternatives that are on the roster, in free agency, and the NFL draft. And next year is already looking like the Rams are all in.