The fun part of the offseason is watching teams add players. When the Rams traded for Matthew Stafford in January, that was fun. When they parted with Jared Goff in that same move, I wouldn’t categorize that as “fun” so much as a necessary admission of fault when it came to the commitment the team had made to him; it was only “fun” for the Rams to trade Goff because of the return they received. Similarly, last year it was only “fun” to see the team trade Brandin Cooks if you are a draft fan and welcomed the second round pick in return.
Will Les Snead trade away any more Rams this year?
For some of you, it will not be fun to speculate around that question. I understand why that is — these players aren’t just members of the Rams, they also represent various amounts of “investment” (which could range from the tangible to the emotional) that will make it that much more difficult to part with them — but given the sheer number of players that he’s traded in the last five years, I can’t rule out that Snead is going to do it again.
In 2017, the Rams included William Hayes, Greg Robinson, and E.J. Gaines as part of trades.
In 2018, the Rams included Alec Ogletree, Robert Quinn, and Tavon Austin as part of trades.
In 2019, the Rams found trade partners for Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters.
In 2020, the Rams traded Cooks.
In 2021, they’ve already traded Goff.
Are there any players on the roster right now who have potential value to other teams while also trending towards becoming obsolete or redundant or expendable on the Rams? I am positive that there are. Could I accurately identify who they are or what teams might be good to speak to about each?
These are not trade suggestions, only five varying levels of possibility and return if Snead decides to keep looking for more a) cap space and b) draft picks.
Trade Darrell Henderson to the —
What incentive would LA have to trade Henderson? Since they have established Cam Akers as the number one back, and appear to be high on Xavier Jones, it seems that the Rams could potentially recoup a day three pick for a running back who showed promise at the beginning of 2020. In fact, I’d go as high as a 2022 conditional fourth, should Henderson meet certain benchmarks for playing time or rushing yards next season.
I know that’s one year down the line, but it would line up with the fact that the Rams already dealt their 2022 fourth rounder to the Texans in the Brandin Cooks trade.
On Sunday, Green Bay reached a new four-year deal with Aaron Jones, taking the top running back option off of the market. Henderson could serve as a viable alternative to any team that was expecting to target Jones or a running back of a similar caliber. But I didn’t remove the Packers from this list because of Matt LaFleur’s familiarity with LA’s offense and because backup Jamaal Williams will be a free agent.
Another destination that makes a lot of sense to me would be Kansas City. He could make a great complement to Clyde Edwards-Helaire and could still prove to be a capable starter should Edwards-Helaire miss time due to injury.
For teams with 2021 cap concerns who are hoping to find an experienced running back to add into the mix, Henderson makes sense. He’d also make sense for the Rams, but should they choose to part with him, I think that LA would have an easier time transitioning to his replacement because they already have Akers.
Trade Rob Havenstein to the —
Teams: Ravens, Bengals, Jaguars, Broncos, Chiefs, Raiders, Giants, Vikings
Baltimore tackle Orlando Brown, Jr. has demanded a trade because he feels that he only belongs on the left side. That job is currently taken by Ronnie Stanley, however, so it seems inevitable that the Ravens will make a move and that means they’ll need a new right tackle. Havenstein has only proven capable of playing right tackle and he was one of the best in the NFL last season. Baltimore would presumably receive a considerable draft pick compensation package for Brown, giving them additional ammo to trade for his replacement.
If they don’t go that route, then there’s still no shortage of other teams who’d be looking for a new right tackle this year. Why should the Rams entertain moving one of their best offensive linemen? Because they’d gain $5.1 million in cap space and potentially a day two draft pick.
The Rams shouldn’t be motivated to trade Havenstein for cap savings alone however, so that means that a team would have to impress them with the return. Teams like Denver, Kansas City, and Las Vegas seem to have the biggest needs on the right side, but they won’t be alone. The Bengals would like to do a better job of protecting Joe Burrow next season and head coach Zac Taylor is quite familiar with Havenstein.
Given the current landscape of free agency and the draft, plus Havenstein’s reasonable contract numbers, I’m not sure that a late second round pick would be too much to ask for.
Trade Robert Woods to the —
Teams: Dolphins, Patriots, Ravens, Bengals, Browns, Colts, Titans, Giants, Eagles, Washington
Despite how many talented receivers have entered the NFL through the draft in the last several years, including another class of exceptional praise in 2021, Woods should represent the most valuable trade chip on this list and there are plenty of teams who could use him. If you wanted to switch out “Robert Woods” for “Cooper Kupp” that would also be acceptable, as they are rough-equals in many ways. But I’m going with Woods for today’s post.
The Titans could give Ryan Tannehill another weapon, with Corey Davis set to hit free agency.
The Ravens could add the established veteran receiver that many are clamoring for in Baltimore.
The Eagles could avoid making the wrong receiver pick in the draft this time.
It wasn’t hard to find teams that don’t have more than one established starting receiver signed for next season. The issue here is that if the Rams trade Woods, they’ll need to replace Woods. A reader suggested swapping Woods and Odell Beckham, which might be fine, but I’d caution against overrating a player’s name. Woods has been a much more valuable player over the last four years than OBJ.
Four years, not four months.
LA does have some hope with regards to Van Jefferson, but also if they receive a second round pick for Woods, that might net them a second round pick and free up $11.9 million in 2021 cap space. That’s plenty of capital to use in the search for a replacement of Woods or Kupp.
Trade Michael Brockers to the —
Teams: Patriots, Browns, Steelers, Titans, Broncos, Raiders, Chargers, Cowboys, Vikings
Based on how free agency went last year, you’d expect that it was Brockers, not A’Shawn Robinson, who barely played because of an offseason battle against injuries. But Brockers was basically healthy all season and played great. Why trade him then? Well, it sometimes doesn’t hurt to “sell high” and moving the 30-year-old Brockers might allow the Rams to re-sign 26-year-old Morgan Fox.
It could be difficult to project which teams see themselves as a scheme fit for Brockers, but I don’t think quantity will be an issue when discussing potential suitors. One team who could be called in the case of nearly all these players is the Las Vegas Raiders and Jon Gruden has appeared desperate in his bids to energize the defense.
That has included signing two former starters from the Rams defense in Lamarcus Joyner and Cory Littleton. They could try Brockers inside, between Clelin Ferrell and Maxx Crosby.
Cleveland could use more help on defense and try Brockers next to Myles Garrett and Sheldon Richardson; the Patriots could use him as a replacement for free agent Lawrence Guy; Denver could lose three defensive ends from their 3-4 defense this month; and Brandon Staley might like to bring him over to the other LA team’s defense.
I’m not sure that Brockers would be worth a lot in trade, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a team was willing to part with a pick in the 5-6th round range as a way to secure him from choosing his own team as a free agent.
Trading Brockers would save the team $6.1 million in cap space this year.
Trade Taylor Rapp to the —
Teams: Browns, Jaguars, Raiders, Bears, Lions, Falcons
In the previous four cases, I was matching players to teams that I mostly felt would be competitive next season, or sometimes I was looking at fits that made sense because it would help a young quarterback like Burrow or Trevor Lawrence. However in Rapp’s case, it would only imply a change of scenery that might benefit all parties.
Rapp doesn’t not appear to be on his way to earning a job as a starting safety or linebacker in LA. The team selected both Terrell Burgess and Jordan Fuller in the 2020 draft, while Juju Hughes and Nick Scott could be adequate depth, if the team loses John Johnson in free agency. As a linebacker, I’m just not sure that Rapp moves the needle enough as compared to the Rams’ other options at the position.
If Rapp is logjammed in LA, perhaps the Rams could receive a late day three pick from a team that is willing to give him the snaps to earn and learn.
Maybe the most obvious fit is a Falcons roster that is set to lose both Keanu Neal and Damontae Kazee in free agency. The Lions, I do not expect to be competitive at all in the next two years, but it would be a perfect place for Rapp to be tested and general manager Brad Holmes seems motivated to make moves with his old team. The Raiders, see above.
Rapp was a late second round pick in 2019, but he may only be worth a day three pick swap in 2021. That’s not that bad, considering that the alternative may be that Rapp simply doesn’t make the roster next season. But if that’s the case, it is possible that LA could hold onto him this month and still find a trade partner before final cuts in September.