The NFL’s trade deadline on Tuesday came and went without any movement from the Los Angeles Rams. It was odd considering how active the Rams have been at the deadline in the past. Even last year with the Rams mostly out of contention, they made a push for both Christian McCaffrey and Brian Burns. This season, just one game out of the NFC playoff picture, the Rams didn’t seem to be involved in many conversations.
According to The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue, the Rams did receive calls on players, but opted not to make a move.
Reported Thursday I wasn't getting a sense from league and team sources that Rams would move either way at deadline, w/ eyes on 24-25. They already weren't moving Stafford, Kupp or Donald (latter also has a no-trade clause). They did get some calls on a couple others.— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) October 31, 2023
It can be frustrating to see the Rams stand pat while the San Francisco 49ers trade just a third-round pick for an edge rusher like Chase Young. That’s especially the case when you consider the Rams’ need for an edge rusher.
There was never any real surprise that the Rams didn’t make a move at the deadline. As we wrote before the trade deadline, it wasn’t expected that Snead and co. would make a move. McVay stated during a press conference, “You kind of have to have some resources and different things like that for those to be options.”
Right now, the Rams didn’t have those resources. Moving forward, the Rams need young, cheap talent to help fill out the roster and hopefully get some key contributors in that process. That’s exactly what they did this past offseason when they draft players like Byron Young, Kobie Turner, and Puka Nacua late on day two and on day three of the NFL Draft.
Based on anything that the Rams have done since March, they haven’t made a single move that has said that they care about this season. In fact, most moves that they have made have been with 2024 in mind. That’s why they traded Jalen Ramsey and cut Leonard Floyd and Bobby Wagner. Those moves were made to open up cap space for next offseason and reset the cap.
The plan heading into the year was a simple one. Focus on 2024 and 2025 and let whatever happens in 2023 happen. There were no expectations. That doesn’t mean that they were or are tanking, but only that this season doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.
While it may have been difficult, the Rams stuck to that plan that includes signing two to three big free agents this offseason and then loading up on young, cheap talent in the draft. Yes, they did trade for Jalen Ramsey in a non-competitive year in 2019. That 2019 Rams team and the current version of the Rams are nowhere near the same place from a team-building perspective.
In reference to standing pat at the trade deadline, there was little reason to give up a high Day 2 pick and then pay that player when the option is there to only do one of those. The Rams could have traded for a Chase Young. However, instead of paying a third-round pick approximately $800K, that would have been raised to around $20M as that is likely the average salary that Young will get as a free agent this offseason.
For the same reason that Chicago Bears should not have traded for Montez Sweat, the Rams should not have traded for Chase Young or another edge player. They simply weren’t in a position from a team-build standpoint to be able to make that type of move.
A. *Any* player in the early 2nd? Noooo.— Seth Walder (@SethWalder) October 31, 2023
B. You're paying in draft capital for the final 9 games of Sweat's career despite being a non-contender!
C. The draft pick will cheap for four years
D. Sweat will not be
Legitimately horrendous trade by the Bears https://t.co/0GevwKyQeS
The worst thing that the Rams could have done at the deadline would have been to sacrifice future assets for short-term gratification. There was no need to trade a 2024 first-round pick for Brian Burns or Jaylon Johnson. The Rams will once again have a lot of picks in 2024, but most of those will come on day three in rounds six and seven. They needed to preserve their biggest assets which are their top draft selections.
By waiting, the Rams can do both. Brian Burns, Josh Uche, Josh Allen, Chase Young, etc. are set to become free agents. That doesn’t mean that they will all hit the market, but it is a potentially good free agent class at the edge rusher position. There wasn’t a big reason to sacrifice future assets when those assets are going to be used as the Rams continue to build up their roster with 2024 and especially 2025 in mind. They can then use a third-round pick to acquire cheap talent that may be able to contribute as a rookie in the same way that Young and Turner have this season.
It can be a hard pill to swallow watching the Rams not doing anything while the 49ers are making moves to get over the hump. However, both teams are in different places. It may not have been an easy call to not make a trade at the deadline, but given the direction that the Rams are heading and keeping the overall plan in mind, it was the right call.