Cam Akers has been taking up a spot on the Rams 53-man roster for the last three weeks without playing or practicing. The L.A. Rams had all but given up hope for Akers and believed that they could probably still trade the 2020 second round pick for something of value. They were wrong and now the clock is ticking: Are the Rams going to keep trying to make it work with Akers after failing to trade for a replacement or will Sean McVay simply release him and move on?
According to a report by Mike Florio, sources told ProFootballTalk that the Rams didn’t turn down any offers for Akers. They kept offering him to other teams and it was them who got turned down. When asked this week if the team would consider releasing Akers, McVay said that is a possibility but that Akers would like to remain with the Rams.
“That’s a possibility, but like I said, I think the first option is weigh some of the different things that we put out on the table in terms of what it could potentially look like, let’s address how we got here and, and where my responsibility falls within the framework of those types of things, and see what’s next,” McVay told reporters.
Why wouldn’t a team want to take Cam Akers, especially if the cost was practically nothing? The most simple answer is probably the correct one: the NFL sees Akers as a Trent Richardson-level value.
Richardson, the third overall pick by the Browns in 2012, rushed for 950 yards and 11 touchdowns as a rookie. His first season in the league was hardly perfect (he averaged 3.5 yards per carry) but he also caught 51 passes and surely there was more development ahead, right?
Except that instead, the Browns traded Richardson to the Colts after two games in 2013 (inexplicably, the Colts gave up a first round pick) and by the end of his third season, the former Alabama superstar was all but finished in the league. It wasn’t that Richardson retired. It wasn’t that Richardson tore his ACL.
He signed with the Raiders, but got released before the season. He signed with the Ravens, but got released before the season. He went to the CFL. We went to the AAF. Richardson wanted to play football. He was once the best running back in the nation at Alabama. He was a highly touted draft pick.
He just wasn’t very good.
Cam Akers has been a net negative value to the Rams since returning from his Achilles injury. And while Akers doesn’t seem expensive as compared to his NFL counterparts, why would a team willingly take on the rest of his $1.1 million salary in 2022 and his $1.4 million salary in 2023 if they feel that Akers can’t even be a third down complement to a starter? Especially if Akers is having philosophical differences with McVay over playing time?
Akers seemingly struggles in most areas of playing the running back position. Pass protection, catching the ball, and right now, creating yards behind a porous offensive line. The Rams are one of the worst rushing teams in the NFL, if not the worst, but Akers hasn’t been able to stay ahead of Darrell Henderson, Malcolm Brown, or Ronnie Rivers on the depth chart. He may have been a second round pick not long ago, but Akers seems more likely to be released at this point than to return to the Rams.
The only risk is that Akers will assuredly be signed to another team’s practice squad and there’s a good chance that the first team to call will be the Seattle Seahawks, if not another team in the NFC West. But it doesn’t seem like Akers can help the Rams much more at this point.
The issue is that the Rams also still need a running back. And he’s one of the few options that at least makes a little bit of sense, too.