What a difference four years makes, huh? Les Snead, the general manager of the then-St. Louis Rams, pulled off a trade that netted him eight players for his second overall pick, which the Washington Redskins infamously turned into RGIII. Yesterday, the same Les Snead of the now (again) Los Angeles Rams, traded away six picks for presumably their franchise quarterback.
That seems like a lofty sacrifice for one player. Especially when there isn’t one standout quarterback and the Rams reportedly traded for the pick two weeks early so they can decide which quarterback is their man.
So, does the trade make sense?
Titans receive: 2016 15th – 43, 45, 76; 2017 1st Rd and 3rd Rd
Rams receive: No. 1, 113, 177.
Two 1’s. Two 2’s. #Wow
— SiriusXM NFL Radio (@SiriusXMNFL) April 14, 2016
We all know the story of RGIII. He went to the Washington Redskins in a whirlwind of hype and left as the 58th man on a 53-man roster. Most said the Rams robbed the Redskins in that deal, but at the end of the day, now that RGIII is officially gone, it’s hard to say who the winner was in that trade, if there even was one.
The Rams went 27-36-1 over those four years, not posting a winning record in any of those seasons and not finishing any higher than third place. The Redskins finished 26-38 over that span, however, they had two division titles and playoff appearances bookending some terrible seasons.
The Redskins no longer have RGIII, but a lot of the haul the Rams got are gone as well. They did get some nice pieces that remain in Alec Ogletree and Michael Brockers, but Greg Robinson is on the verge of bust status. All in all, this was no Herschel Walker rebuild a dynasty type of trade by any means.
The Los Angeles Rams need a game changer, the face of their new-ish franchise. Today’s NFL is without question a pass-friendly league, and unless you have a defense of historic proportions (like the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks of late), you simply can’t win without a franchise quarterback.
Look at the past ten years. 25 quarterbacks have been drafted in the first round since 2006. Three quarterbacks that haven’t gone in the top three picks have won playoff games: Jay Cutler, Joe Flacco, and Tim Tebow. Does that tell you something? No one speaks highly of those quarterbacks, but nearly everyone wants Andrew Luck to lead their team. It seems once you leave the top five, great quarterbacks that sustain the test of time are not impossible to find, but certainly become a rarity.
So trading up seems like it was the only option the Rams had, right? Case Keenum, Nick Foles and Sean Mannion aren’t going to get it done. I don’t even really understand how this team won seven games last season, but anyone of those three wasn’t going to improve them this year.
We also know that the Titans don’t need that franchise quarterback, because they have hopes that Marcus Mariota bounces back from that pesky MCL and improves on a not so bad rookie campaign. We also know that the Titans are pretty terrible at drafting first round quarterbacks, so getting this pick out of their hands is probably best for everyone, right Jake Locker?
So, it’s safe to say that we can all agree that the move was the right move for the Rams. Now the question is, was the cost too high?
The Rams have a young roster with currently a mere three players 30 years or older, so to say they mortgaged the future may be a bit of a stretch. They had a top three defensive line last season and while they lost a few pieces they hope Robert Quinn can bounce back. Ogletree also needs to return from injury and the linebacking corps could be solid as well. The loss of Rodney McLeod and Janoris Jenkins in the secondary hurts, but they still have some nice pieces to lay the foundations of a solid defense.
The base for a great defense is actually there as long as a few things fall into place. The offense is full of question marks. The offensive line was amongst the worst in the league, so who is going to protect this franchise quarterback? Todd Gurley has the running back slot locked up, but who is this new quarterback going to throw the ball to?
So the Rams have big holes. So do the Titans. The Titans have a lot more draft picks now to fill them. So, despite the Rams making the right move and moving up, they may have given away too much to do it.
The cost becomes even higher when you consider that the Rams clearly traded for a quarterback to a team that didn’t need a quarterback. In other words, they traded franchise quarterback value to a team that didn’t necessarily merit getting that kind of return. If this were the Browns, then the move makes a little more sense, but this may have been too much.
They clearly moved to the number one spot because they know the Browns too are in desperate need of a quarterback, but if the reports are true, the Rams still don’t know their own choice. They could have — hypothetically speaking — traded with the Chargers at three — a team likely not focusing on a quarterback — at a much lesser cost. Sure, the Browns would make their decision for them, but this is a deep draft where 1B may be just as strong as 1A. The quarterbacks available come with a lot of uncertainty, but I think we can say with certainty that none of these guys bring immediate franchise changing talent like a Luck or even Jameis Winston did.
Are the rumors true that the Eagles forced the Rams hand? Talking heads claimed that the Eagles had a trade in place with the Titans, which led the Rams to go over the top and secure that top pick. That makes me question the Eagles who just signed Sam Bradford and Chase Daniels — who is making more as a backup than some team’s starters — to relatively big contracts. But that wouldn’t be the first time I questioned the Eagles since Andy Reid left town.
At the end of the day the question posed in the title — does the Rams trade make sense? — is a bit loaded. It makes a ton of sense from a needs standpoint, but seems to make less sense in regards to the worth of what was needed to obtain it. The Titans are seemingly in a great place for a new GM to create his own team. The Rams can still win this deal, but if they choose the wrong guy at No. 1, they could set themselves back for quite a few years.