Rams continue to disregard draft picks by trading for Sony Michel

Super Bowl LIII - New England Patriots v Los Angeles Rams
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The Rams could be very good this year. They could get to the Super Bowl. They could win it.

The path became more difficult when running back Cam Akers, a potential breakout star for 2021, tore an Achilles tendon just before the start of training camp. The Rams didn’t declare an emergency at the time. They now have.

The trade for Patriots running back Sony Michel comes a little more than a month after coach Sean McVay said that the Rams would stick with the guys they have.

“We’ve got some young backs on our roster that I’m intrigued about seeing how they handle this opportunity,” McVay said in the aftermath of the Akers injury. “I don’t know that the veteran route is something that we’d rule out, but it’s not something we’re immediately looking to address right now.”

A serious foot injury to Raymond Calais and a thumb injury suffered more recently by new starter Darrell Henderson may have become the final straw for the Rams, when it comes to relying on the young players on the roster.

Surely, the trade for Michel (who rushed for 94 yards and a touchdown in Super Bowl LIII against the Rams) didn’t happen overnight. Chances are that the conversations began not long after the Akers injury, that the Patriots set a price, and that the Rams balked at it. If so, the Rams (with the regular season looming) recently decided to finalize the deal and move on.

They’re giving up either a fifth- and sixth-round pick in 2022 or the compensatory fourth-rounder they’ll get for losing safety John Johnson in free agency. That seems like a lot to give up for a former Georgia tailback with multiple injuries including a potentially degenerative knee condition, especially given that the Rams aren’t very far removed in the grand scheme of things from escaping a contract with a former Georgia tailback with multiple injuries including a degenerative knee condition.

In the coming days, plenty of young and healthy and capable tailbacks will be available as rosters fall from 80 to 53. Other veterans can be had with no sacrifice of draft picks, like Frank Gore and Adrian Petersen. (Todd Gurley — the aforementioned other former Georgia tailback — also is available. But a reunion was always highly unlikely.)

As one league source put it, “Great trade for New England. The Rams hate to draft these days.”

Indeed they do. With no first-round pick next year or the year after, that compensatory fourth-rounder would have come in handy. Now, it’s being used on a running back who is entering the final year of his rookie contract, because he didn’t do enough in his first three seasons to get the Patriots to pick up the fifth-year option.

22 responses to “Rams continue to disregard draft picks by trading for Sony Michel

  1. They have it in their heads that they’re THIS close so they basically are all-in all the time. But it makes more sense now with Stafford than it did with Goff because they probably have a couple years with him and then that window is going to be closed.

  2. The Patriots we’re going to release Michel anyway. What are the Rams thinking? Trading for Michel makes no sense.

  3. You raise valid points . Seems to be an unnecessary waste of picks . I get they want a veteran back but unless they see something the rest of the NFL failed to see agree with you , they were as good or better options available without losing picks .

  4. The Rams are kind of all in this year, Silent Stan needs to sell those seat licenses. Without draft picks the Rams will have no cheap good labor for years to come to fill out the roster so they will have to spend what little they have on used up free agents that are slow and often injured to fill out the roster and pray Donald doesn’t start to slow down as he hits the NFL cliff age for players. A bad season with a team that should win the NFC West (SF two QB’s equals 0, Cliff will be fired by mid season and Seattle’s D sucks) will and low ticket sales will end it for McVay (his offense is figured out and using Goff as the scapegoat was awfully weak for bad play calling) and should end it for Snead but it won’t.

  5. Sony was a great get for Rams…. As a#1 back he’ll excel in their system & I hated to see him go this year…. It’s a long season & I’d of rather had him in the fold instead of Bolden but I guess it’s good to get something in return for his services…. I just hope Harris stays healthy & Stevenson is a quick study!!!!
    Go Pats!!!

  6. The Rams have realized that the draft is just lottery tickets. Trading lottery tickets for young productive vets is the bird in hand.

  7. Sony has much better upside than anyone else listed as options in this article. And he could be a long term cog in the wheel. I think it is a great trade for the Rams especially to patch a new hole.

  8. For every team but the Patriots, the Super Bowl-winning window closes quickly … three, four years max. The Rams are right to trade their future in order to give themselves the best chance for a joyous present.

  9. They make the playoffs every year when trading these picks including a Super Bowl run. Before they got on this run, they hadn’t made the playoffs since 2003. Sounds like the right strategy to me because the results are all that matter.

  10. It seems like it was just yesterday that Ted Thompson and Green Bay were considered the model for a successful franchise by building through the draft, refusing to trade picks (or only trading down for more picks), and largely ignoring free agency.

    In some ways, I like what the Rams have done the last several years by going all-in to be a contender year-in and year-out, but at some point, their core players are going to age out, and they’re going to be very bad for a long time with few draft picks being developed to move into those spots (not to mention being in potential salary-cap purgatory for a year or two).

    I personally think the best way to run an NFL team is a blend that uses every tool available to find good players – the draft, strategic trades and free agent signings, undrafted free agents, restricted free agency, the supplemental draft, and any other way to find good players while looking out for your short, medium, and long-term interests.

    But the NFL is definitely more fun with different teams using different philosophies.

  11. I like this trade. I think Michel could be the piece at RB we need. We have a couple of young guys who can provide a spell to him or Henderson, but none of them are starting caliber yet.

    The draft is a throw of the dice, no matter what round. There are commenters here who are already calling 1st round picks “busts.” Trading a pick for a veteran is more of a sure thing. The veterans listed in this article are all unsigned for a reason.

  12. Michel could be a good addition, but it sure does seem like they gave up too much for him.

  13. There is are enough free agents minus qbs to field 2 starting lineups that could beat the worst NFL teams now – Rams will be fine short term, but something to be said about developing talentt

  14. there is also a bit more too it…Thomas Brown the Rams RB coach was at Georgia when Sony was there, so there is familiarity…also, IF NE waived him he would need to clear waivers and there is no guarantee he makes it to LA…so make the trade to ensure he’s there…

  15. “[Michel] had drawn rave reviews from Patriots running back coach Ivan Fears this preseason, with Fears saying he had “upped his total game.”

    “I’ve always liked him as a runner, but now he’s shown to us that he can also play in the passing game and be very effective,” Fears said. “He’s had an awfully good camp.”

    But the Rams gave up too much for Michel, eh?

  16. The only two NFC West teams with a strong focus on drafting and developing players are the Niners and Cardinals. Hawks and Rams are perpetually in Win-Now mode and always fizzle in the playoffs. Not a successful approach but good for selling tickets?

  17. After compensatory draft picks are awarded, the Rams will likely have 10 picks in the 2022 draft. Just so you all know.

  18. The Patriots, Steelers, Packers, and Ravens are the 4 teams known most for building through the draft and over the last 20 years, they have something like 12 Super Bowls between them.

    These other flash in the pan teams are always trying to win now, but so few of them take advantage of that narrow window that they create for themselves.

    Of course, if you stink at drafting, your picks are worthless, but if you stink at drafting, why are you a gm in the first place?

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