At 3-5 and going in the wrong direction, the LA Rams need to prioritize the future
The Los Angeles Rams fell to 3-5 following the loss to the Dallas Cowboys, but above their record is the way the team has lost five of seven since its Week 1 victory. The Rams pulled quarterback Matthew Stafford for a reason after a 43-20 loss to the Cowboys in Week 8, an 0-2 loss in the NFC West, a loss to the Arizona Cardinals and a loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Innumerable injuries.
Last week, we asked fans if the Rams should “sell” at Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline if they lose to the Cowboys this week, but now the question has more context: The Rams blew, should they have played Brett Rypien longer. At the time, the defense gave up 4 touchdowns to Dak Prescott and 158 yards receiving to CD Lamb, the special teams coverage had a lot of issues, including a block and a long return, and LA Sean McVay didn’t play as well as he expected. After beating the Seahawks two months ago.
The LA Rams need to focus on how to be a better team in the long term, not the short term, and that’s it General manager Les Snead should be open to making a call on any “veteran” player in the next 48 hours.
The team’s only two wins since Week 2 have come in an overtime win against Anthony Richardson’s Colts and a win over Josh Dobbs’ Cardinals. There is a winnable game next week against another team that needs to trade at the deadline, the Green Bay Packers, but what exactly is the expectation for LA at this point? They win 8 or 9 games and sneak into the playoffs Everything Does it break right?
If there’s a draft pick and any cap relief on the table — or an offer for a player who brings in a draft pick and no cap space — that’s something Snead and company should consider for everyone.
Are these players available?
QB Matthew Stafford
The Vikings believe Kirk Kanchis has a torn Achilles, which could end his season. Are the Vikings looking to reunite Stafford and Kevin O’Connell, who won the Super Bowl together?
The Vikings won their third game in a row with a 4-4 win over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday and are looking at the playoffs again. Cousins is a free agent after the season, so there’s no real estimate of how a step forward will fare in the cap space.
The big question is if the Rams are willing to move Stafford, of course, but the bigger question is if Stafford is healthy enough to replace Cousins.
The Rams owe Stafford, but a trade is financially possible. In the year He has a guaranteed salary of $31 million in 2024, so LA’s future cap space would greatly help trade Stafford before then. What do they need in return? Maybe not much, if you are really focused on the future, not really guaranteed.
Trading Stafford is just speculation, but we got a glimpse on Sunday of what the team would look like with Brett Rypien and whether that would be bad or very bad — it could happen to the Rams even if they don’t trade Stafford. How long can he stay and how many starts does he want to make in LA if the team is eliminated from the playoffs?
DT Aaron Donald
He’s the player everyone wants and probably not the player the Rams want to trade for. Donald had two early sacks in the game, but after that it wasn’t much good for the LA defense. As much as Rams fans can’t imagine the team without Donald, it was the same with the Broncos and Von Miller being traded to LA for second and third round picks en route to the Super Bowl.
Anything is possible and Donald’s contract could be moved at the deadline. Are the Rams willing to talk to other teams about him, though?
WR Cooper coup
In the year Domino effect in 2022 Stafford goes down, Kupp goes down, Donald goes down … Rams want to repeat history? The emergence of Puca Nakua gives LA a young receiver to build around. Kupp, who had 21 yards on four catches and 10 targets this week, may be the best return in the draft and there is no shortage of teams interested in adding a receiver before the playoffs.
Those are the big 3 everyone is asking about, but as previously written, there are other options: TE Brycen Hopkins, OT Joe Noteboom, FS Jordan Fuller, but also CB Ahkello Witherspoon is someone who will probably get some interest.
The Rams may not be able to trade anyone at the deadline. But they should try.