The Los Angeles Rams have extra money in the bank after restructuring Cooper Kupp’s contract, freeing up $10.4M in cap space. That move was likely made to help sign their 14-player draft class. However, one analyst believes the Rams are gearing up to make a blockbuster trade ahead of the 2023 season.
According to Maurice Moton from Bleacher Report, he predicts LA to trade a second-round pick to Las Vegas in return for running back Josh Jacobs. The Raiders’ star has been in the spotlight this week for posting a cryptic tweet in response to other backs around the league struggling to land lucrative deals. Jacobs hasn’t signed his franchise tag and Vegas has until July 17 to secure a multiyear deal with him. Time is ticking with neither side budging.
Moton says this move will help the Rams become a viable threat to the 49ers in the NFC West. Now the idea of this squad going toe to toe with a team that’s made two-straight NFC Championship game appearances is ridiculous. Trading for the disgruntled All-Pro would only help so much, no matter how productive he’s been throughout his career.
Yet, the Rams would have a solid offensive trio to rely on with Jacobs in the fold. The Alabama product would form an immediate one-two punch with Cam Akers, taking the pressure off Matthew Stafford and giving him what would be the best run support in his career. Lord knows he needs it. LA is in desperate need for better luck in the health department and Jacobs fits the bill perfectly.
In 2022, Jacobs played a full season for the first time in his four-year career. He also tallied a career-high in carries with 340, 33 of which came in a 223-yard performance against the Seahawks in Week 12. Jacobs has avoided significant injuries during his time with the Raiders. Despite not missing any time last season, history isn’t exactly on his side when comparing backs who had 320+ carries the year prior.
Want a reason to be terrified of Josh Jacobs, who handled 340 carries last season?— Jared Smola (@SmolaDS) June 8, 2023
Ok, here you go: pic.twitter.com/j9yoTPTCbl
Assuming history repeats itself, Derrick Henry is going to either miss time and/or see a decline in production in ‘23. A year after missing nine games to injury, Henry bounced back to carry the ball 349 times in 16 games(!) How exactly does King Henry being a superfreak relate to Jacobs? Quite frankly it doesn’t but goes to show that injuries, much like everything else in the NFL, is a crapshoot. I would hope Sean McVay wouldn’t run JJ into the ground like Tennessee is doing to Henry but you never know. Remember Todd Gurley?
LA could free up additional space by restructuring Aaron Donald’s contract which would free up $20.5 million, making room for a Jacobs extension. The All-Pro is heading into his age-25 season as the reigning rushing champion. Los Angeles has embraced the youth on this roster all offseason and having a pair of rushers in their early to mid-20s is crucial to the remodel.
So should this happen? I’m not opposed to the Rams taking advantage of a wide open conference by throwing their hat into the ring. Les Snead has made several blockbuster moves before and it would be uncharacteristic of him to stand idlily by heading into such an important campaign. Regardless, I believe Akers has earned his chance to show the front office what he’s got. He’ll either back up a strong finish to ‘22 or disappoint the fanbase once again.
Cam Akers Final 6 Games:— PlayerProfiler (@rotounderworld) June 10, 2023
18 touches, 60 yards, 2 TDs, RB8
13 touches, 43 yards, 1 TD, RB25
15 touches, 100 yards, RB20
25 touches, 147 yards, 3 TDs, RB1
20 touches, 133 yards, RB14
24 touches, 128 yards, RB11
Can Akers be an RB1 in 2023? pic.twitter.com/UYhLqxPm1k
The one way to see whether Akers has what it takes to be a workhorse back is by playing him. Having Jacobs putting a sizable dent into his touches will hinder his abilities on the field, lowering his value and preventing a significant extension from the Rams or elsewhere in 2024. Again, I’m not against LA trading for Jacobs if they feel he’s too good to pass up.
Deep down, I guess I’m just a sucker for redemption arcs and I want to see Cam’s play out before the Rams do anything to squander it.