The Rams-ification of the NFL is in full swing

USA TODAY Sports

As the craziest NFL offseason continues to unfold, many are saying that the NFL finally has begun to operate like the NBA, with players dictating their futures more than ever before. But that’s just part of it. A team can’t trade a disgruntled player unless there’s a willing trade partner.

That’s where the defending Super Bowl champions come in. The NFL continues to be a copycat league, and the trade-happy attitude that L.A. has parlayed into a Lombardi Trophy will make other teams willing to do the same.

But it doesn’t work if every team has the same willingness to ship unscratched lottery tickets to new teams, and to pay more to established players than the players’ former team was willing to pay. For every team that says “f–k them picks,” another team has to be willing to pluck them picks.

Before the Broncos could give up a boatload of current and future picks for Russell Wilson, the Seahawks had to be willing to swap Wilson for those multiple dice rolls for the future, along with three players. Ditto for the Raiders and Davante Adams; without the Packers being willing to take a first- and second-round pick for one of the best receiver in football, the deal doesn’t happen. Likewise, the Browns can’t cough up a king’s ransom of draft picks (and $230 million fully guaranteed) unless the Texans are willing to part ways with Deshaun Watson, less than two years after giving him a market-value contract.

Most recently, the Dolphins’ unflinching willingness to send five draft picks to Kansas City (and to pay Tyreek Hill $75 million over the next three years) means nothing if the Chiefs aren’t equally happy to harvest the selections and to avoid paying that much money to a 28-year-old wideout.

To create a robust market, there must be both teams like the Rams, Broncos, Raiders, Browns, and Dolphins — and teams like the Lions, Seahawks, Packers, Texans, and Chiefs. If that mix persists (and there’s no reason to think it won’t), this isn’t an aberration. It’s a trend.

And it’s an exciting one, at least in the offseason. What it means to football season remains to be seen. So far, however, seeing the Rams win a Super Bowl with key players acquired in exchange for first-round picks and more, plenty of other teams are willing to take their chances in the hopes of generating the same result.

46 responses to “The Rams-ification of the NFL is in full swing

  1. Mortgage your future to win now.
    Rams won’t be repeat champs.
    Or even play in the Super Bowl.

  2. Draft picks are overrated. You’re going to miss on half of first round picks no matter who you are

  3. From the Dolphins fans perspective, they’ve been so awful at drafting and missing on top picks for so long, trading them away for proven commodities is a much better strategy.

    For example, imagine what the Dolphins would look like right now had they just selected Justin Herbert and Jonathan Taylor when it was their turn to select, instead of Tua and Igbinoghene. Yep, pretty pathetic……

  4. Don’t blame the Rams. Blame the Bucs. they started this by Tom Brady picking his next team and then loading it up with the players he wanted.

    But I’m sure somebody will tie it back to LeBron James and the NBA instead.

  5. Because something worked once in 20 years it doesn’t make it a trend. Time will tell if it smart to bankrupt your teams future for the outside chance to win a Superbowl right now. Sooner or later you’re gonna have to pay the Piper, and then you are stuck with nothing but a bunch of overpriced aging superstars who spend more time on IR than on the field.

  6. Rams are champs and haven’t found cap hell yet. Giants are the worst team in football over the last five years and did find cap hell out his offseason. Even if the Rams do get to cap hell at some point like everyone seems to predict, wouldn’t you rather do it that way?

  7. If mortgaging the next 3-5 years gets a team a Superbowl ring, it may be worth it.

    Everything else being equal, a team should win a superbowl once every 32 years. So mortgaging 3-5 years, doing what LA did, has already paid off for them.

  8. The difference with what Miami is doing is that they first stacked the roster with talented young draft picks.

  9. Like every other asset, there is a time to buy, sell, or hold. I think that the teams who believe they are one piece away will buy, those who are in a rebuild will sell, and 20 other teams will just hold. The buyers have always been there but now there are more sellers of top tier talent because the contracts are so big and every one of these huge trades involved a player with some sort of baggage. Don’t forget that the QBs available in this draft have influenced the market too.

  10. Aaron Donald is probably one of those first round picks the Rams are glad they hung onto to.

    The Rams way worked because they had spent five or six years developing a base of talent that broke through into the playoffs in 2017. A roster that had eight Pro Bowlers on it kept adding more talent. Found good players on bad teams like Ramsey, Stafford, and made an already strong roster that much stronger. Missing pieces that helped get them over the hump.

    A playoff team on the verge of a championship can probably afford to part with late first rounders. It’s not as essential. A mediocre team that doesn’t have as strong a foundation is probably better served keeping their picks.

  11. Let’s not forget that just recently Bill ‘O Brian tried to do this and look at the horrible out come from that. It comes down to having the right GM who can construct a winer from veterans or can draft and develop talent. Or if your bumbling moron who has no business being a GM (see example above).

  12. The Rams also drafted pretty well over the last few years with the picks they did have and have also utilised (arguably abused) the compensatory picks system.

    Replicating that wont be easy, which makes the Rams model very difficukt to copy. Those two factors were a big part of their ability to win the SB which is often missed.

  13. The true trend of the last 15 years or so to winning a SB is having a good/great starting QB salary not destroying your salary cap and building around him.

  14. The NFL is going to implode on itself if this trend continues. In the NBA you need 2 or 3 stars and some decent role players to win. An NFL team needs talent at every level and several spots 2 deep. You need a Qb that can get the ball to the 30 million dollar receivers and there won’t be money to pay for the big eaters that keep the Qb upright. Everything went right for the Rams and they were a dropped interception from watching the SB from home.

  15. I’d have to say the personnel changes made after the season starts but before the trade deadline are sometimes at least as important. The Rams had three huge additions at the start of the season (Sony Michel) and late in the season: Rams (OBJ; Von Miller). The Bucs lost AB. We saw what happened (but frankly, AB did it to himself. I sincerely hope he never gets another chance in the NFL).

  16. This seems like just making minimum payments on your credit cards each month. It keeps your account in good standing, but at some point you’re going to have to pay what you owe.

  17. Mortgage your future to win now.
    Rams won’t be repeat champs.
    Or even play in the Super Bowl.
    ————————–
    —————————
    Most people can’t buy a house without a mortgage

  18. because so many draft picks are busts is why you need more of them trading down for picks and getting large group under rookie contracts gives you cap space to go after free agents
    Truth is there is more than one way to build a championship and the difference between the Rams and 5+ other teams were a few drives and kicks at the end of games. Name of the game is get into the playoffs as many times as possible. Best team doesn’t get the trophy every year but one of the top 5 or 6 does normally one of top 3

  19. Derek Carr had two offers on the table for an extention. Was was more team-friendly if they traded for Davante Adams.

  20. Apparently you have to trade huge draft capital for some key vet, and get a major bogus call in the SB, plus have a DC make a massive bonehead play call in the championship game, to win it all.

  21. The Rams have been reaping the benefits of this since it paid off big in 2018 with the first SB appearance. 2021 saw them win a championship. Throughout this time they have drafted well and lost alot of good players and coaches but still manage to compete. To act like their success was one and done is not accurate

  22. Actually, the Seahawks started this. They made draft picks, and the trading back in the draft thereof, an NFL currency.

  23. If that Niner CB holds onto that INT, Stafford is prob a Colt right now. Just saying.

  24. Everyone acts like the Rams built their roster via trade. 4 years ago they were holding Tom Brady and the Pats to 13 points in the SB. You can trade if you are a 2 or so pieces away.

    Players that are getting traded are going to demand, massive cap numbers, while most of the teams making the splash trades are just trying to compete s the Chiefs, and has literally NOTHING to do with the Rams.

    Using tons of draft capital to acquire 1 player when you have several needs will certainly have its RAMIifcations though.

  25. otheirony says:
    March 24, 2022 at 7:24 pm
    Over 50% of first round picks are busts. Draft picks are vastly overvalued
    —————————————————-

    They’re not valuable because people think the picks will all be good. They’re valuable because you get the player for below market price for four years. So even if you miss on a few the ones you hit on can be a huge competitive advantage

  26. For every team that mortgages their future and wins a Super Bowl, there are ten teams that tried it, failed to win, and had no future.

  27. Is it me? Am i the only one who realizes that this was the 1st time such an attempt to buy a championship ever worked? How many Lombardi’s does Dan Snyder have? Where’s the 30 for 30 on the Phily “dream” team?

  28. 32 teams in the NFL and how many dynasties have been built in the last 20 years? One. So why is there such fan infatuation with having a goal of building a dynasty when the system is so slanted against it?

    If a team could mortgage away 4 seasons of competitiveness for 1 season of Super Bowl, what fan wouldn’t want an SB appearance and potential Lombardi Trophy every 5th year? In this millennium, that would be 4 SB’ appearances so far. Only two teams have actually done that, and one of them are the Rams.

  29. Bash me all you want, but the Rams went all in and had to be gifted a SB victory. It took bad calls and blatant no calls (Donald living with his entire head past the football) in order to win that game.

    Let the DV and bashing begin, but the Rams plan fell short, but they got the save from the league

  30. I think it is smart. Most draft picks don’t work out. Perhaps you’ll get 1 pro-bowler per every 3 1st rounders and 5 for every 2nd rounder, and so on? Why not leverage those picks for a sure-thing now. Let another team take the risks on the draft lottery.

  31. One point that was missed is the Rams were in the super bowl just a couple years ago. This was a good team already. They upgraded at QB and won the super bowl. Some of the big names they signed didn’t do that much. When you add Matt Stafford and Jalen Ramsey to a super bowl roster, that puts you over the top. Most teams aren’t in that same position.

  32. Hopefully the Dolphins and Broncos draft as well as the Rams have in the 3rd-7th round. Cooper Kupp, Jordan Fuller, David Edwards, Brian Allen, SJ Day…

    Plus, people were saying the Rams mortgaged their future after the Sammy Watkins and Brandin Cooks trades. They’ve been to two Super Bowls. They have 8 picks in this years draft. The plan is working. They’re all in again this year. And next year. And they year after that.

  33. Meanwhile, the Patriots have done next to nothing this off season. It seems that Belichick’s way of building a winner has become outdated. This year’s team won’t get far.

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