It is Rivalry Week at SB Nation and I wanted to throw a thought experiment at the Turf Show Times readers:
What if you could make three trades within the NFC West, not involving the Los Angeles Rams, that would most help the Los Angeles Rams?
These trades would include:
That’s it. What if you could force deals between these teams and what would you do to most hurt each roster in order to help raise the Rams to the top of the NFC West?
For example, we know that Russell Wilson is the key to everything for Seattle so it may behoove LA to send Wilson to Arizona without sending Kyler Murray back to the Seahawks. This deal would not only leave Seattle with Geno Smith as the starter immediately following the deal but it could stunt the growth of Murray, assuming that Wilson starts.
For the sake of not overthinking a thought experiment, I recommend against extended fantasy trades such as, “But then the Cards could flip Kyler for Yannick Ngakoue and a first round pick!” Let’s just stick with how the division would look after these three deals and assume they are cemented for a year.
So the Cards would then have Murray and Wilson and Seattle is worse off but Arizona improved. What can we do to make it offset the gain without helping the Seahawks too much? Perhaps one idea is sending Larry Fitzgerald back to Seattle, taking a key leader off of a contender and putting him in a locker room for a team that likely won’t win many games without Wilson anyway. It also means that Wilson/Murray have one less key weapon to throw to for the Cardinals.
Then you would have to make a deal between Seattle and San Francisco. We know the 49ers are the favorites to win the division and without Wilson, the Seahawks aren’t looking well off anyway. Perhaps in the case, send Trent Williams to Seattle and remove a key piece of Kyle Shanahan’s offensive line while logjamming the Seahawks, who already have Duane Brown. Would Williams even report? Seattle could send back a veteran player who is past his prime and won’t help fill a need, like K.J. Wright perhaps.
Finally, the Cardinals and 49ers must make a trade. These would still be the two division favorites, I imagine, after the previous two trades. I don’t think taking Jimmy Garoppolo off of San Francisco does much but they did struggle in 2017-2018 with their backup QBs and can you imagine all three QBs in Arizona? (Yeah, gotta make some salary cap concessions here for this thought experiment.) Another consideration is Nick Bosa, but putting him on the Cards just makes them a Super Bowl favorite. Would Jimmy Garoppolo for DeAndre Hopkins make Arizona’s offense too weak for the QBs they have while also making San Francisco’s quarterbacks too weak to take advantage of having George Kittle, Hopkins, Deebo Samuel, and Brandon Aiyuk?
So I’ll leave you with that as an example:
- Seahawks trade Russell Wilson for Larry Fitzgerald
- Cardinals trade DeAndre Hopkins for Jimmy Garoppolo
- 49ers trade Trent Williams for K.J. Wright
I’m not sure how well that stacks up against some other answers, so let me know if you’ve got some other answers and we’ll figure out the best way to sabotage the NFC West rivals through three intradivisional trades.