If the Los Angeles Rams plan to go on an unexpected playoff run in 2023, they need reinforcements on defense. Ideally the Rams should turn to boosting their pass rush but who would say no to an All-Pro corner playing at the height of his game?
The Denver Broncos are one of the biggest messes in the NFL. (Well okay, outside of the Bears.) With the Broncos struggling, a fire sale could follow suit at the October 31 trade deadline. Assuming no one is off limits in the Mile High City, LA should look into star corner Patrick Surtain II.
Even with head coach Sean Payton at the helm, Denver has started the year with an 0-3 record and are coming off a game where they gave up 70 points. I thought the ESPN app was glitching when I first checked the score. Every defender had a rotten outing, particularly Surtain who had a forgettable game covering fellow All-pro wideout Tyreek Hill.
Patrick Surtain aligned across from Tyreek Hill on 13 of 21 routes (61.9%). He was in press coverage on 7 of those routes (53.8%).— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) September 25, 2023
Surtain allowed 4 receptions for 99 yards & a TD on 5 targets to Hill, the most he's allowed to a receiver in his career.#DENvsMIA | #FinsUp pic.twitter.com/SlgA8IpxI7
Despite a career worst performance from the third-year corner, Surtain is widely regarded as one of the best at his position. According to Pro Football Reference, the defender has only allowed a 50 percent completion percentage and a touchdown to quarterbacks throwing in his direction through the first three games. He has also been plenty durable, playing in 33 of a possible 34 games in his first two seasons. Surtain would provide much needed stability to the secondary playing opposite Ahkello Witherspoon who is playing very good football at the moment.
DB Ahkello Witherspoon is ranked 10th in passer rating as the primary defender (14.6), t-13 in incompletions as the primary defender, and second for the lowest QB rating allowed by cornerbacks (minimum of 9 targets) through Week 3 (20.5). @ahkello pic.twitter.com/XxkhbeJ2Xy— Los Angeles Rams PR (@TheLARamsPR) September 28, 2023
The real question becomes, how much would this trade cost LA and can they afford it?
For the time being, let’s say they can. Some fans have pointed to the Rams making a blockbuster trade of some sort, whether it be for Colts running back Jonathan Taylor or someone else. LA extended Tyler Higbee which freed up some cap space which should help.
Should the Rams turn to Surtain, they can follow the model of their trade with the Jaguars for Jalen Ramsey back in 2019. Jacksonville received two first-round picks and a fourth-rounder in the trade. Plus with LA having a first-rounder in next year’s draft for the first time since 2016, the team might be obliged to give them away again. Remember, they nearly acquired Christian McCaffrey before last year’s deadline so I wouldn’t expect trade compensation to be much of an issue.
Source: Christian McCaffrey chose to play for San Francisco over LA. #Rams offered the #Panthers a trade package (two 2023 picks & two 2024 picks) similar to the #49ers. Carolina wanted to do right by @CMC_22 & being close to Stanford and playing for SF was his preference. #NFL pic.twitter.com/u4rE4iCsoq— 49ers & NFL News 24/7 (@49ersSportsTalk) October 22, 2022
Within a couple seasons at least, Surtain will likely become the highest-paid cornerback in the league. That seems inevitable as he’s eligible for a contract extension after this season. The Broncos already have him under contract in 2024 and 2025 after picking up his fifth-year option. Wouldn’t that price be worth it for Surtain if he boosts LA’s seventh-ranked pass defense to greater heights?
No matter what the team does at this year’s trade deadline, I have a feeling the Rams are gearing up for a significant move. It would be very unlike Les Snead to stand pat for the second year in a row. All the more reason for a move to happen sooner rather than later.
Assuming the Rams are buyers at the deadline like we expect them to be, let’s hope the 49ers don’t steal another trade target away. They did steal McCaffrey at the last minute from LA last season. I see a certain Niners blog has their sights set on Surtain as well.
Keep your grubby little hands away from Surtain Whiners! Haven’t you bastards pummeled us enough?!