The NFL trade deadline is less than two weeks away. While it’s unlikely that the Los Angeles Rams will be in talks to make a big move at the deadline, general manager Les Snead should never be completely counted out.
Between now and the trade deadline, there are going to be several proposed trades by those in the media. Because of the Rams’ activity at the deadline in the past, it won’t be a surprise to see Los Angeles at the center of some of those proposals. Even if the Rams didn't actually acquire anybody at the deadline last year, there were in discussions for running back Christian McCaffrey and edge rusher Brian Burns.
With Burns still potentially available as he has yet to sign a contract extension with the Carolina Panthers, the connection to the Rams is an obvious one. That’s exactly what PFF said when discussing “10 trades NFL teams should make ahead of the 2023 trade deadline.”
PFF’s Brad Spielberger suggested that the Rams should trade for Panthers edge rusher Brian Burns. Spielberger’s proposed that Los Angeles trade their 2024 first-round pick, 2025 second-round pick, and 2026 fourth-round pick for Burns. Here’s what Spielberger had to say,
“A new-look Rams team is exceeding expectations by a good margin so far in 2023 and should be looking to add a premium talent to a roster that ranks dead last in cash spending as opposed to first in cash spending in 2022, when they offered two first-round picks and a second-round pick for Burns. This offer removes one of the first-round picks from the equation, as we’re a year later into Burns’ career with zero cheap years remaining...Burns has a 77.2 pass-rush grade, 15 quarterback pressures and five sacks through Week 6. He has earned a 70.0-plus pass-rush grade with at least 50 quarterback pressures and nine sacks in three straight seasons, and he’s roughly on pace to hit all of those marks once again in 2023. Last season, while playing on his fifth-year option, edge defender Bradley Chubb was moved along with a fifth-round pick from the Denver Broncos to the Miami Dolphins for first- and fourth-round picks plus running back Chase Edmonds. We view Burns in a more favorable light than Chubb, as he’s been healthier and more productive, but that compensation package can provide something of a benchmark to work from here.”
While the Panthers turned down a large haul from the Rams last season, they may be more willing willing to move on a year later. MMQB’s Albert Breer reported last week that at 0-5, the Panthers may be willing to part with some valuable assets in exchange for future draft capital. Carolina is now 0-6 after losing to the Miami Dolphins.
“Conversation there starts with Brian Burns. He’s up after this year and owed more than eight figures for the remainder of the season (prorated portion of his $16.01 million). But he’s also just 25 and plays a premium position. Last year the Panthers turned down an absolute haul (a 2023 third-rounder and first-rounders in ’24 and ’25) to get him. And the Panthers and Burns haven’t gotten close to striking a long-term deal. A team trading for him could, of course, do a new deal with him, or franchise him in 2024.”
There’s no question that the Rams should be or will eventually be in the market for a top edge rusher. It’s very likely that they spend big on the position in what is set to be a very good edge rusher free agent class. Chase Young, Josh Uche, and Burns are all set to be free agents.
As it stands however, giving up premier draft capital for an edge rusher just doesn’t line up with the current team-build. The Rams aren’t necessarily in a position to be giving up a first-round pick. They need young talent on cheaper contracts that they can make part of their core moving forward. In what is set to be a decent tackle class and great quarterback class, it would be ideal to be able to use a first-round pick on one of those positions.
If the Rams make a move, that might be more of the caliber of move that they are looking to make.
Wel’ll see if Snead is active at the trade deadline, but this may be a year that the Rams stand pat and let other teams make the big move.