The Los Angeles Rams traded away Kenny Young and a 2024 7th round pick to the Denver Broncos in exchange for a 2024 6th round pick. It’s a move that doesn’t make a lot of sense for a few reasons. For starters, the Rams are already very thin at the linebacker position. Young had been arguably the team’s best linebacker this season and led the defense in tackles for loss. Secondly, the Rams traded away Young for the equivalent of nothing. A 2024 6th round pick doesn’t move the needle.
However, what makes this move interesting is that it’s paired with another move that the Rams made on Saturday. Early on Saturday, the Rams restructured Rob Havenstein’s contract to open up some cap space. By trading Young for pennies at this point in the season, it smells like a “cap move”. The only reason the Rams would be looking to open up cap space at this point in the season would be if another trade were coming.
The Rams clearly want to get Ernest Jones on the field more and in my understanding, that's the motivation here. But Kenny Young was playing very well for them, so this is a surprise. https://t.co/wZs9ZSKjDq
— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) October 25, 2021
The move could simply spell more playing time for rookie Ernest Jones. However, for a team looking to win now and already thin at linebacker, it’s a very curious move nonetheless.
A few weeks ago, Sean McVay said that he didn’t anticipate any big moves coming. Les Snead is clearly working the phone lines though and it wouldn’t be a total surprise if another move did happen. Let’s take a look at some potential names.
CB Amani Oruwariye – Detroit Lions
Two of the recent in-season trades that the Los Angeles Rams have made have had one thing in common – interest pre-draft. When the Rams traded away Marcus Peters, they made sure to get Kenny Young in the deal as well. Young was a player that the Rams liked and met with pre-draft. The same can be said about Austin Corbett in the trade with the Browns in 2019.
Names like Xavien Howard will come up as players to watch for the Rams come the trade deadline. However, Howard will be tough to fit under the cap and the Rams don’t need a top-level cornerback. This is a defense that still has Jalen Ramsey and Darious Williams will return in a few weeks. In reality, the Rams really need depth at the cornerback position to replace David Long.
The Rams and Lions made a few trades this offseason that included Jared Goff and Michael Brockers. These are two team with familiarity in the front offices and good relationships. The Rams met with Amani Oruwariye prior to the 2019 NFL Draft and he was selected in the fifth round by the Detroit Lions.
This season, Oruwariye has started all seven games for the Lions and has three interceptions to go with four passes defended. Oruwariye gives the Rams length at the cornerback spot and someone who can be that number three or number four cornerback this season. With Williams set to hit free agency, Oruwariye could be someone the Rams could develop into a starting role as well. With the Lions in a rebuild, they might be looking for picks.
Trade: Rams give a conditional fourth round pick.
LB Myles Jack – Jacksonville Jaguars
The Los Angeles Rams gave up Kenny Young without much of a backup plan at the linebacker spot. As it stands, Troy Reeder and Ernest Jones will be in line as the starting linebackers. Young was having a very good season and led the Rams in tackles for loss.
Jack would give the Rams an athletic linebacker who could cover sideline to sideline. The Jaguars linebacker was also apart of a 2018 defense with Jalen Ramsey that was one of the best in the league. Jack is only 26-years old and is under contract for two more seasons. His cap number is $10.5M and $11.25M in those two seasons.
The Rams opted not to pay Cory Littleton two years ago and they don’t like to spend on the linebacker position. Jack might cost too much both financially and in asset for Les Snead’s liking. The Rams have opened up some cap space and would need to find a way to open up more if they were to trade for Jack. These two teams have done deals in the past, specifically with Jalen Ramsey. Could another deal be a possibility?
Trade: Rams give 2022 2nd and 2023 5th round picks
S Marcus Maye – New York Jets
The New York Jets are 1-6 and are paying their starting safety on the franchise tag. At this point in the season, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for Maye to play for the Jets or for the Jets to keep Maye. The Los Angeles Rams meanwhile could use a starting veteran safety. Jordan Fuller hasn’t played at a high level like some expected and Taylor Rapp is a liability in coverage.
Maye allowed an 80.4 passer rating last season and had two interceptions. Think Jamaal Adams who can actually cover. Again, the Rams would likely need to find a way to make it work with the cap. Another restructure somewhere on the roster would need to take place. However, Maye would give the defense a huge boost.
Trade: Rams give 2022 3rd Round pick
WR Odell Beckham Jr. – Cleveland Browns
SomeLos Angeles Rams fans might not like this move simply because of the name. ‘Odell Beckham Jr. is a head case and will be a distraction.’ That might be, however, the same could be said about Jalen Ramsey in Jacksonville. The fact of the matter is, players like playing in Los Angeles and the Rams do a very good job of keeping their players happy.
Last week, the Arizona Cardinals traded for Zach Ertz. Ertz scored his first touchdown on Sunday with the Cardinals on an offense that already looked unstoppable. The Rams might feel some pressure to make an offensive move to keep up with Arizona.
Cooper Kupp is having a great season and Robert Woods seems to finally be getting in sync with Matthew Stafford. Van Jefferson is also playing well and DeSean Jackson has performed when his number has been called on. However, while Jefferson is playing well, there’s no doubt that Beckham would provide an immediate boost to the Rams receiving corps. He may not be the same receiver he was with the New York Giants, but the fit in Cleveland also never seemed to be right.
The Rams have had interest in Beckham Jr. in the past as they almost traded for him when he was with the New York Giants. With him out of favor in Cleveland, and the Browns looking to get Donovan Peoples-Jones and Anthony Schwartz more involved, a move isn’t totally out of the question.
Trade: Rams give 2022 3rd round pick and conditional 2023 5th round pick
CB AJ Terrell – Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons sit at 2-4 right now with not a lot of direction on either side of the football. With Matt Ryan under center, they’re playing to win and not doing a very good job at it. This is a team that needs to blow it up and start their rebuild.
Los Angeles Rams general manager Les Snead used to work with the Falcons, and could still have relationships within the organization.
Last season, despite a down year, Raheem Morris had the Falcons playing good defense, specifically in the secondary. Terrell is one of only a few cornerbacks to allow fewer than 100 yards in coverage and is the only cornerback with 50+ man coverage snaps without allowing a catch.
If Terrell wasn’t playing well right now, this trade might be more likely. It would be very similar to the Austin Corbett trade. However, the 2020 first round pick is healthy and playing up to his draft status. Morris has familiarity with Terrell which is why this move would make sense for the Rams. However, with the Falcons in a rebuild, they might be looking to keep all of the young talent they can. Contrarily, they could look to sell and accumulate draft picks.
Trade: Rams give 2022 3rd, 2022 5th, and conditional 2023 3rd round round pick
CB Darren Hall – Atlanta Falcons
I’m throwing in a sixth just as an honorable mention. The Rams may not be able to get Terrell, but Darren Hall might be a little more manageable. The Falcons drafted Hall in the fourth round of the draft in April. However, he was a player that the Rams had interest in and met with before the draft.
Hall doesn’t have a lot of experience as he’s played just 18 snaps. However, David Long looks to be out of favor with the Rams coaching staff. Hall would give the Rams some depth and a player they can develop. It wouldn’t be a splashy move, but it would bring in a player that would give the Rams much needed depth where they need it.
Trade: Rams give 2022 5th and conditional 2023 7th