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Rams’ path to top of NFC has once again grown clearer

Deebo Samuel has reportedly requested a trade from the 49ers.

Super Bowl LVI - Los Angeles Rams v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

In many ways the path for the Los Angeles Rams to defend their dual titles of Super Bowl champion and winners of the NFC West have grown clearer. This change is two-fold: the Rams are reloading with talented players in hopes of “running it back” and teams across the division and the NFC conference at-large are losing talented players.

It all started with the Seattle Seahawks trading away franchise quarterback Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos. Now that the dust has settled on the move, it’s difficult to see Seattle making much noise in 2022.

The Arizona Cardinals signed JJ Watt last offseason, but due to salary cap constraints they were forced to part with pass rushers Chandler Jones and Haasan Reddick in free agency. Former number one overall pick Kyler Murray has started drama in his negotiations for a contract extension with the team. Cornerstone receiver DeAndre Hopkins is another year older - he will play this season at age 30 - and is coming off a season-ending injury.

Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers were heavy Super Bowl favorites in 2021, but they have significantly less fire power after trading away receiver Devante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders. The Packers also lost receiver Marquez Vales-Scantling to the Kansas City Chiefs in free agency.

The Rams did lose some key contributors to free agency, including Darious Williams, Sebastian Joseph-Day, Von Miller, Austin Corbett, and Obo Okoronkwo. Los Angeles also traded away veteran receiver Robert Woods to the Tennessee Titans.

While their free agent additions aren’t one-for-one replacements for the aforementioned players, signing star receiver Allen Robinson and veteran linebacker Bobby Wagner should help LA on both sides of the football.

Now the attention has turned to the San Francisco 49ers after “do-it-all” receiver and playmaker Deebo Samuel has reportedly requested a trade. The receiver had previously halted contract extensions with the team in recent days, so the trade request is not entirely surprising

Fellow members of the 2019 draft class AJ Brown (Titans) and Terry McLaurin (Commanders) are also hoping to receive contract extensions this offseason after watching other receivers cash in during free agency.

The outlook for the 49ers in terms of success in 2022 was already uncertain - San Francisco is planning to transition from multi-year starter Jimmy Garoppolo to second-year signal caller Trey Lance. Lance is a considered a developmental player after being drafted by San Francisco with the number three overall pick in 2021. While he has elite athleticism and a rocket arm, he is still a projection as a starter - and young quarterbacks are rarely successful during their first trip to the postseason.

In other words, it was already unlikely that the 49ers would be a serious contender in 2022 and now they are potentially losing one of their best players.

It remains to be seen if San Francisco will trade Samuel, but for now it seems the two are headed towards a divorce.

Which team is most likely to earn the NFC West Crown this season?

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Which team is most likely to win NFC West in 2022?

This poll is closed

  • 96%
    Los Angeles Rams
    (1210 votes)
  • 2%
    San Francisco 49ers
    (33 votes)
  • 0%
    Arizona Cardinals
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    Seattle Seahawks
    (6 votes)
1252 votes total Vote Now

Which team is the Rams’ greatest threat in the NFC conference?

Poll

Which NFC team is greatest threat to Rams in 2022?

This poll is closed

  • 22%
    Green Bay Packers
    (241 votes)
  • 1%
    Arizona Cardinals
    (11 votes)
  • 6%
    San Francisco 49ers
    (65 votes)
  • 5%
    Dallas Cowboys
    (62 votes)
  • 3%
    Minnesota Vikings
    (36 votes)
  • 60%
    Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    (648 votes)
  • 1%
    Other - let us know in the comments
    (16 votes)
1079 votes total Vote Now