The NFL trade deadline has arrived. On Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET, any trade that a team makes will need to have gone through. As expected, the Los Angeles Rams have been in the middle of several rumors. Sitting at 3-4 with the fate of their season hanging on a thread, are the Rams in position to be ‘buyers’ at the deadline?
Given where things currently standing coming off of a 31-14 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, should the Rams still make a move? They currently sit at 3-4 and have the 32nd ranked offense and 16th ranked defense in EPA per play. Through seven games, the Rams simply haven’t looked good.
Should the Rams even be in the ‘buyers market’ at the trade deadline or would they be better off standing pat and doing nothing?
The Rams front office and coaching staff are among the best in the league in self-awareness and recognizing their window of opportunity and also when they’ve made a mistake. It’s because of this self-awareness that they’ve had no problems moving on from big contracts like Brandin Cooks, Todd Gurley, and most notably Jared Goff.
In February of 2021, L.A. could have kept Goff and kept getting to the divisional round of the playoffs, hoping that at some point the stars align and they take that next step. Instead, they traded a 26-year old quarterback for Matthew Stafford and the rest is history.
These moves and moving on from these contract are things that most teams wouldn’t be willing to do. However, it’s the self-awareness from Les Snead, Sean McVay, etc. that allow them to do this.
Right now, the Rams rank 24th in overall DVOA. At that spot, it’s hard to say that they are an offensive linemen, edge rusher, or running back away from taking a jump. Certainly, an elite pass rusher would hide some of the deficiencies in the secondary. However, L.A. would still have issues on the offensive line and offensive side of the ball, specifically in the run game.
They aren’t a team that’s one piece away from making a Super Bowl run. At this point in the season, they look like a team that’s three or four or five pieces away.
All of that being said, should the Rams to give up assets just to try to chase something that they can’t catch?
Heading into next April, the L.A. Rams will have second and third round picks, four selections in the sixth round, and two seventh round picks. This doesn’t include their compensatory selections which are projected to be two picks in the fifth round, one in the sixth round, and one in the seventh. That’s a potential total of 12 picks in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Those are picks that can help them get depth at positions where they have none.
The Rams currently sit at 3-4 and at no point this season have looked like a serious contender. It might make more sense to re-tool this year and then use the 2023 season when you have a first round pick in the following year’s draft to once again go ‘all-in’.
Despite not being a contender, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Rams make some sort of move. With no first round pick, it doesn’t make sense to be ‘sellers’ and pack it in for the year. First off, there’s a lot of football left to be played. In the currently landscape of the NFC and NFC West, the division and wild card spots are still completely up for grabs.
The fact that the NFC is so wide open is a reason to make a push. This feels like a year where if you can just get in the postseason and get hot at the right time, you can make a run. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Green Bay Packers are also struggling and were two teams that many saw as preseason Super Bowl contenders.
It’s also worth noting that in 2019, the Rams traded for Jalen Ramsey in the middle of the season and ended up missing the playoffs. Despite missing the postseason, Ramsey became a core piece on the defense. In 2019, the Rams also traded for Austin Corbett who became an important piece on the offensive line for the next three years.
If the Rams do make a move, that’s the type of move that they’ll need to make. They can’t make a move for another one-year rental like they did with Von Miller. It also might make more sense to make a lower-level move that doesn’t cost a lot of draft capital but can help them get through this season.
Coming off of the bye week, the Rams have had plenty of time to discuss strategy and how that might differ with a win or loss against the 49ers. Unfortunately, the Rams lost on Sunday and now sit at 3-4. Now, they’ll need to decide whether or not it’s worth making a move at the trade deadline.