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Christian McCaffrey among RBs Rams should ask about before trade deadline

LA desperately needs to shake up one of the league’s worst rushing attacks

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Very little has gone right for the Los Angeles Rams this season. The team sits at 2-2 in a division that’s pretty much up for grabs.

With the team floundering after a rough 24-9 beatdown against the 49ers Monday night, the Rams should be looking to make a move before the November 1st trade deadline.

Last season, LA acquired Von Miller from the Denver Broncos and that move appeared to work in their favor. Something has to give for a team that’s eerily similar to Sean McVay’s other Super Bowl team.

LA has a glaring number of needs to address by the deadline including an O-line that can’t block and a receiving corps that has become the Kupp and Higbee show (coming to a streaming service near you!)

Besides offensive line which is a more dire need at the moment, the Rams need to address their rushing attack. Through four games, LA ranks 30th in rushing yards and 29th in yards per carry.

Cam Akers has just 118 yards on the season to go with his 3.1 yards per carry. Darrell Henderson has been the better option but not by much as he has 138 yards on four fewer carries than Akers. Henderson has also been the back more involved in the passing game at times too.

Los Angeles needs firepower at the position and these guys aren’t going to cut it. Yes, the line has been a problem to run behind but more effective backs still find a way. That shouldn’t be an excuse every time a carry goes for negative yardage.

Who could the Rams attempt to trade for by next month? Well, James Robinson will be off the table which is unfortunate since I wrote before the season that LA should try to trade for him. With the Illinois State product firmly entrenched as the starter in Jacksonville, this option is no longer realistic. If only Urban was still around I know he’d be willing to deal.

According to an article from Bleacher Report, writer Kristopher Knox has the Rams in the mix for Panthers star Christian McCaffrey and Browns backup D’Ernest Johnson.

Carolina has been a disaster under Head Coach Matt Rhule and he’s favored to become the first coach fired this season. Whenever this ends up happening, the Panthers will begin yet another rebuild and could sell off valuable assets including McCaffrey.

Out of any running back options, this is the most unrealistic. Even though the Rams seem to have an infinite amount of cap space, CMC would take up quite a bit as he’s in the first year of a four-year, $64.1 million extension that he signed in 2020. In Knox’s words, this will be the best way to trade the star:

“To trade him, Carolina would have to restructure his deal or find a way to absorb the $27.1 million in dead money remaining on his contract. If Carolina can do that, McCaffrey’s $8.8 million 2022 cap hit could be tradable.” per Bleacher Report

Just to be clear, McCaffrey isn’t officially on the trade block. As of now, everything regarding his availability is speculation. There are other issues besides cost for the Rams. LA would most likely lose a bidding war to teams with more cap space and the draft capital to acquire him. Prior to this season, CMC has played in a total of 10 games since 2020 so durability is a concern as well.

Still, it’s fun to dream about all the ways McVay work this guy into the offense:

Moving on to more plausible options for LA, D’Ernest Johnson would be a lot easier for the Rams to obtain. Currently, Johnson sits behind Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt in Cleveland. If the Browns were to trade him, they still have plenty of depth with Demetric Felton and Jerome Ford waiting in the wings. Johnson hasn’t been a factor in their offense as he saw his first offensive snap just this past week against the Falcons.

LA would hardly have to give up anything to get him. It’s tough to see a player who filled in admirably in 2021 being primarily reduced to special teams duty.

Another option on the table is Chicago’s Khalil Herbert. Unfortunately, this is a long shot as Herbert has been stepping in for the injured David Montgomery and has a significant role carved out in the Bears offense. Chicago couldn’t afford to get rid of him as the running game is the only thing saving their bad news offense each week.

It’ll be interesting to see what moves LA has in the works by the trade deadline. I can’t imagine the team standing idlily by in a division that no one wants to have with a quarter of the season already gone.

What running back would you like to see the Rams try to acquire before the trade deadline?