We are almost at the NFL Combine period of the offseason and things are about as quiet as they can be. It happens every year right before the NFL Free Agency period kicks off and it’s just the calm before the storm. With plenty of turnover for the Los Angeles Rams expected, here are ten absolutely crazy ideas the Rams could entertain to spice up the offseason. Disclaimer: I, in no way, believe the Rams should make any of these moves. I do, however, believe they are crazy, entertaining and are possible even if it’s just a 10 percent chance of happening.
1. Rams Trade QB Jared Goff to the Lions for QB Matthew Stafford and a 3rd-round pick
We kick off this thing with a bang. In this crazy scenario, the Rams trade away their franchise quarterback and former number one overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Jared Goff. In return, the Rams take on Matthew Stafford who is about seven years older than Goff. Why would the Rams even consider such a thing? Both quarterbacks are being paid big money, to begin with. It would basically be a swap of money and a preference for quarterbacks. Keep in mind, Stafford was drafted in the 2009 draft by Jim Schwartz’s Lions. He’s now with Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn which is an entirely different regime. With Patricia and Quinn in year three, they may look to mix some things up in hopes of saving their jobs and buying themselves some time.
Goff played miserably at points of last season after being paid and if the Rams have buyers remorse and are worried about Goff they could look to deal him. Sean McVay has had Goff’s back from the start and even publicly said Goff was a big reason he came to the Rams. However, if McVay wants his own guy and for whatever reason wanted Stafford this deal could happen. Again, it’s insane and it’s not guaranteed to happen but it’s possible.
As far as the Rams are concerned, Stafford’s average annual salary is at $27 million which is smaller than Goff’s. They could in this crazy scenario send a third-round pick in hopes of sweetening the deal and incentivizing the Lions taking on more of the cap space of Stafford’s deal. Basically, the Rams would be using a draft pick to buy extra cap savings. What is also extremely important is that Stafford has a potential out in 2021 in which the dead cap would come down from $32 million to $19 million. It’s not ideal and the Rams would never cut Stafford that quickly if they traded Goff. However, it gets interesting in 2022, Stafford would only be a $6 million dead cap penalty. After that in 2023, Stafford would be a $3 million penalty.
Now, let’s look at the facts. Stafford is a very good quarterback and I do believe at this point in time he’s better than Jared Goff. However, to do this trade you would have to be sold on Goff being ultimately a bust. You would have to believe Goff in no way is helping the team and you would have to believe Stafford’s veteran presence and overall arm talent is exactly what is missing for the Rams on their quest to winning a Super Bowl. I’m not going to say this will happen but the trade for the Rams and Lions would make sense depending on their feeling of the two quarterbacks.
2. Rams Trade QB Jared Goff to the Bengals for QB Joe Burrow
Wow. I’m hitting you hard with these early on. Hear me out, this is insane but the recent buzz about Joe Burrow potentially forcing his hand like Eli Manning did and forcing the Bengals to trade him away makes this possible. Burrow knows he has leverage, just look back a few years ago when Joey Bosa wouldn’t sign his contract with the Chargers. Now, that was entirely on the fact the Chargers were trying to skimp him, but still, the players have more leverage than perceived.
Burrow is a reigning National Champion and is going to be the first overall pick one way or another. He’s an outstanding prospect and in my opinion, he’s enough to turn around a bad team. If he doesn’t want to do that though, he could force a trade as explained above and it could be to the Rams. Again, I’m not saying it’s extremely likely but let’s take a look at this option. Goff’s best year in the NFL arguably was the year Zac Taylor (current head coach of the Bengals) was his quarterback coach. Taylor has familiarity with Goff and if he felt comfortable enough in addition to the Rams being willing to trade him, Taylor could force the trade. Now, I don’t advise trading away Burrow but with Burrow having all the leverage with the potential of not signing, he could put the Bengals in a tough spot to receive minimal compensation.
Why would the Rams grab Burrow? There’s a good chance he would thrive in McVay’s system, in that he has the mobility to be the equalizer versus the offensive line that played at an inconsistent clip. Of course, the most important thing would be the fact the Rams do not feel comfortable with Goff moving forward. That’s what this would mean. The question would then become, how much of Goff’s cap would the Rams eat in favor of acquiring Burrow from the Bengals? That would be interesting because if the Bengals ate a chunk of Goff’s contract, the Rams could use this move to free up space to sign a potential franchise-tagged player like Cory Littleton, Dante Fowler or even work on extending Jalen Ramsey.
Of course, as bad as it would be to lose Burrow, the Bengals would arguably be receiving the best quarterback the team has seen since Carson Palmer. On the flip side, the Rams would be able to go back to building their roster with a rookie quarterback contract which was their bread and butter while trying to sculpt a Super Bowl-contending team.
3. Rams Franchise Tag and Trade ILB Cory Littleton to the Panthers for C Matt Paradis
First off, I would hate to see Cory Littleton leave the building in Los Angeles. However, I believe he is going to be tagged one way or another. In this scenario, the Rams bypass signing Austin Blythe, tag Littleton and trade him for one of the best centers in football Matt Paradis. Why would the Panthers do this? Luke Keuchly just retired and Cory Littleton is arguably the top linebacker on the market. With a weaker linebacker draft coming up, the Panthers could opt to go after Littleton to replace their All-Pro linebacker. The Rams have Micah Kiser, Travin Howard, Troy Reeder and some draft picks to potentially fill that void. If McVay were to prioritize fixing the offensive line, this would certainly be away to do that.
One thing to consider, Littleton was a Coach John Fassel and Wade Phillips guy, both coaches have left the Rams. With the Rams bringing in a new special teams coordinator and new defensive coordinator, Littleton may not be viewed as valuable to this new coaching staff as the previous one. McVay could definitely go after Paradis who would fill the hole at center if the Rams deemed Blythe unfit to maintain the position. The team drafted Brian Allen who struggled mightily in the year and so you could ultimately see the Rams improving their center position. If the Rams decided to target a different position of need, a trade for last year’s first-round pass rusher Brian Burns could be in order. The bottom line is Littleton is going to have plenty of value and the Rams could get a lot if they traded him.
4. Rams Do Not Extend CB Jalen Ramsey but Instead Trade Him for Two 1st-Round Picks Back
This would be unfortunate. I am a big-time Jalen Ramsey fan, I do believe he’s the best cornerback in football and I do believe the Rams should 100 percent make the deal happen to extend him. However, in this scenario, the Rams trade away Ramsey to get the first-round picks they traded away for Ramsey back. This would be a weak move and in a way make the front office look like cowards. They went all-in on Ramsey, there’s no turning back now.
I personally don’t see this happening at all, and there’s not much to be worried about, but this is about insane scenarios and ideas to spice up the Rams offseason so this had to make an appearance one way or another on this list.
5. Rams Sign CB A.J. Bouye and Reunite Him With CB Jalen Ramsey
A.J. Bouye, the 28-year old cornerback that fetched a massive deal on the open market back in 2017 to play with Jalen Ramsey is expected to be released by the team this offseason. Ramsey is now with the Rams and Bouye could definitely team up and join him. The Rams are no strangers to adding big-name talent at the cornerback position when you look at their maneuvers to trade for both Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters even before the Ramsey trade. It’s uncertain how much Bouye would command but he’s not the 25-year old cornerback anymore and he hasn’t been as dominant as he was his first year in Jacksonville either.
Now, I will say, this really isn’t that insane. The Rams could absolutely make this work even if the cornerbacks are far from the issue. I don’t see it happening because of the emergence of Troy Hill, Nickell Robey-Coleman and third-round draft pick David Long Jr. However, if this did happen, it would have the potential for a No-Fly Zone 3.0. to be created.
6. Rams Trade TE Gerald Everett to the Patriots for LB Ja’Whaun Bentley
This would be a very even trade and would allow Gerald Everett to find a change of scenery. The thing with Everett at this point in time is that the Rams have already made Tyler Higbee their guy at the tight end position. They showed this to the world when they signed him to a long-term deal which came before a breakout season from Higbee. Everett this past year did his usual flash here and there but for the most part, he failed to take that next step. At the end of the year, it was Higbee and Johnny Mundt that saw the field more than Everett. There’s a good chance the Rams could move on from the first pick of the Sean McVay era just like they moved right on from the first contract extension of the Sean McVay era in Alec Ogletree.
Ja’Whaun Bentley is a stud linebacker that is in line to take over as the starting linebacker for the Patriots if Elandon Roberts, Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins are not retained. Here’s the thing, Bentley started off awesome in 2018 but suffered an injury that cut into his season. He has since fallen off a tad like Everett. The Patriots desperately need a tight end and Gerald Everett would certainly be a fit. The Rams will likely need another linebacker regardless of a potential Littleton departure or not and so inserting Bentley would be huge.
All in all, it’s an extremely fair player-for-player trade that both teams who have already traded with each other a ton could make work.
7. Rams Let EDGE Dante Fowler Go and Sign EDGE Shaquil Barrett
It’s no secret how big of a Shaquil Barrett fan I’ve been since he entered the league. As a matter of fact, I was pounding the table for the Rams to scoop him up in free agency the last two years. The Broncos continued to bring him back until last year when he signed a crazy cheap deal of $5 million to go to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Before you ask, no, the Rams new defensive coordinator Brandon Staley does not have familiarity with coaching Barrett. However, I don’t think it matters much when you have the opportunity to get a 27-year old pass rusher that just had 19.5 sacks. I know Barrett has expressed the opportunity to stay with the Buccaneers for the “long haul” but things don’t always work out how you plan it.
There are plenty of ways for the Rams to make this work cap-wise and so this can’t just be ruled out because of the numbers. If the Rams are truly interested, they can just show Barrett the money and remind him he will be playing on the same line as Aaron Donald, that should be enough to convince him to come play for the Rams. Could the Rams bring back Fowler? Of course. However, as much as you want to love Fowler and how he’s embraced Los Angeles, he simply isn’t an elite pass rusher. That is totally fine, he’s a good pass rusher but is he worth the money he wants to receive in free agency? Probably not. That is where the Rams have to make a tough decision and in this scenario they let Fowler walk in favor of signing Barrett.
8. Rams Trade RB Todd Gurley and WR Brandin Cooks to Dolphins for Two First-Round Picks in 2020
The Dolphins have the most cap space of any team in the NFL right now. They also have three first-round picks and are in prime position to select any quarterback they want that isn’t named Joe Burrow. Let’s just say Miami drafts Tua Tagovalioa, they need to get him some weapons so here comes RB Todd Gurley and WR Brandin Cooks as reinforcements. The Dolphins traded away Kenyan Drake during the regular season, Kalen Ballage fell out of favor with the coaching staff, Mark Walton got in trouble with the law again and that leaves Patrick Laird. Insert Gurley who, bad knee or not would instantly be the best running back on the team. Following Gurley is Cooks who has rare speed you just don’t find as much in the league. Cooks in addition to Gurley have plenty of league production and would be a boost to the Miami offense led by Tua. If the Dolphins did this, they would, of course, be betting on the fact that Gurley’s knee will be fine and Cooks won’t be an injury risk moving forward.
On the Rams side, they get to dump plenty of cap to trade these two as long the Dolphins will eat most of it. On top of that, the Rams receive the last two first-round picks the Dolphins have. That would allow the Rams to free up cap space and snag two future contributors that would both be eligible for fifth-year options, which would add to the Rams overall flexibility. Is this going to happen? Probably not, but it’s another crazy scenario that had to be mentioned.
9. Rams Sign DT Chris Jones to Pair With Aaron Donald
This would be the ultimate statement by the Rams if they signed star defensive tackle Chris Jones to put next to Aaron Donald on game days. Those two are arguably one and two on the list of top interior defensive lineman so that would be something else. Chris Jones is a free agent at the moment, it’s pretty likely the Chiefs do not let him test the open market and slap the franchise tag on him. However, if that doesn’t happen the Rams would have a chance in this crazy universe. Would there be enough cap initially? No. The Rams would have to make room but just imagine if they pulled this off. Chris Jones is a phenomenal football player.
10. Rams Sign QB Tom Brady and Trade QB Jared Goff for a Package of Future Assets
This is just because the Rams have been oddly enough, linked to Tom Brady this offseason. I do not believe there is much of a chance this happens but I’m curious to know how the Rams interest in Brady got out, who leaked it and why. This could be an indication the Rams aren’t as sold on Goff as one might have thought. Brady is by many to be the greatest of all time and so that would be interesting enough to have him leading the Rams. However, what would be even more interesting is the fact this is the same player that beat the Rams in the Super Bowl twice.
If Brady signed with the Rams he would be relocating like LeBron James to the west coast and would be setting his career up for the next level due to his close proximity to Hollywood. One thing that Brady has said about going back to the Patriots is that he doesn’t want a big contract but he does want to win and wants that money spent to rebuild the offense he works with potentially. Brady would have no complaints working with Sean McVay, former Patriot teammate Kevin O’Connell who just was hired to be the offensive coordinator. He would also love having weapons like Todd Gurley, Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Tyler Higbee, Josh Reynolds and Darrell Henderson. The funny thing, this would arguably the best offensive weaponry Brady has been with since Rob Gronkowski and Randy Moss.
I don’t believe Brady is going to the Rams but if this were to happen that would mean the Rams want to go all in on Brady for one year and potentially draft their future quarterback after. This would. signal the end of the Goff era. Again, I don’t think this will happen but it’s crazy and thought-provoking so it looks like we will see this offseason. There’s a chance the Rams have a lot of tricks up their sleeve. Tom Brady being one of them would be the biggest trick of them all.