Welcome! Log In Create A New Profile

Advanced

Vinny B: Exploring the Rams trade possibilities (Trent Williams, Ramsey, Miller etc...)

October 08, 2019 03:48PM
A series of injuries three years ago led to some considerable maneuvering along Washington’s offensive line. Most notably, All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams slid over to guard during a September game against the New York Giants.

Williams had never before played guard in the NFL, so Washington’s offensive coordinator consulted with line coach Bill Callahan, wondering if the game plan needed to be tweaked to accommodate Williams’ lack of experience at the position.

Callahan assured his boss that no alterations were needed and that Williams was up to the task. And sure enough, the game went off without a hitch (the Giants won a back-and-forth contest). Afterward, the coordinator heaped high praise on Williams’ ability to seamlessly switch positions on short notice and pull it off at a high level.

The coordinator just happened to be an up-and-coming whiz kid named Sean McVay, and that sequence of events is particularly interesting now, given the Rams’ possible need to upgrade their offensive line and the determined contract-holdout stance Williams has taken in Washington (he has yet to play this season).

Williams has made it clear he wants out, and the deeper he digs in, the more likely it becomes that his team — which is 0-5 and fired coach Jay Gruden this week — finally begins to explore the trade market. Washington is going nowhere this year, and with Williams under contract through the 2020 season the team might want to at least receive a desirable asset for its disgruntled tackle.

Might the Rams be a viable landing spot?

The NFL’s trade deadline is Oct. 29, and Les Snead and the Rams consistently have shown they are willing to dip into the trade market if they feel there is a legitimate chance to upgrade the team. It’s what they did to land outside linebacker Dante Fowler Jr. at last year’s deadline, and before that how they acquired Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib and Brandin Cooks.

There are all sorts of dynamics that must come together to facilitate a trade — mutual motivation, aligned thinking on compensation, salary-cap considerations — but Snead and the Rams have shown willingness and creativity to close deals.

Will that be the case this year?

And if so, who might be available?

Here are some possibilities:

Washington left tackle Trent Williams

Why does Williams playing some guard in Washington matter? A potential relocation to Los Angeles would require him making that move again. The Rams are set at tackle with veterans Andrew Whitworth on the left and Rob Havenstein on the right, and neither is going anywhere this year. It’s notable, though, that adding Williams certainly would cover the Rams at left tackle next season if Whitworth decided to retire.

More immediately, Williams would provide an upgrade at left guard for rest of this season over second-year lineman Joe Noteboom, who is still smoothing out his own transition to guard while starting for the first time in his career. The Rams remain bullish on Noteboom, but there is a definite sense of urgency to create improvement along an offensive line that has struggled to protect quarterback Jared Goff. Williams would greatly enhance that objective, and would allow Noteboom to become a super-sub, able to step in at both tackle and guard spots if needed, while also allowing him more time to develop.

Williams is a 31-year-old seven-time Pro Bowler who would be owed just over $3.5 million this year and $14.6 million next season. He clearly would solve an issue this season while also being the obvious replacement for Whitworth, should the 37-year-old veteran call it a career at the end of this season.

For a bunch of reasons, this makes a ton of sense from the Rams’ perspective.

The question is, is Washington motivated to make a move right now? As an NFL executive told me, if the compensation is strictly draft picks, Washington might just wait until after the season to get clarity on who is drafting when, so as to line up the best possible picks. On the other hand, if someone gets desperate, perhaps they make an in-season offer too compelling to pass up.


Trent Williams has been a full-time starter since his rookie season of 2010. (Matt Kartozian / USA Today)
Cincinnati defensive tackle Geno Atkins

Much like in Washington, the Bengals are languishing at 0-5 and might look to move desirable pieces at the deadline in order to stock up future assets. Atkins is a seven-time Pro Bowler who would fit perfectly alongside Aaron Donald. He hasn’t recorded less than nine sacks over the last five seasons and he’s a highly effective run defender. A Donald/Atkins tandem would be dynamic, to say the least.

Atkins signed a four-year contract extension in 2018 worth $65.3 million through the 2022 season, and while that is a big commitment for a 31-year-old defensive tackle, keep in mind that more than 50 percent of the contract will have been paid off during the first two years.

The Rams are satisfied with Michael Brockers and Sebastian Joseph-Day alongside Donald, but a team can never have enough defensive linemen, and adding Atkins would enhance the Rams’ rotational depth. It would also provide coverage if Brockers is not brought back in 2020.

Jacksonville cornerback Jalen Ramsey

The Jaguars are certainly acting like a team dead set against trading Ramsey, their 24-year-old Pro Bowl cornerback, and chances are they will stick to that position. On the other hand, if Ramsey is adamant that he will not sign a long-term extension, the Jaguars might decide his value as a trade chip is simply too compelling to ignore.

If the Jaguars make Ramsey available, the reported asking price would be two first-round picks. That is an incredibly high return, and the Rams would have to be very careful, because of their pronounced need to use draft picks to replenish around their young core.

That said, Ramsey would be a foundational piece to build around, as the Rams obviously would prioritize signing him to a long-term deal. As a result, this would be a move for today and for the foreseeable future, as the former Florida State star would be one of the anchors of a talented young defensive backfield and a perfect man-coverage fit in Wade Phillips’ 3-4 defense.

Aside from the obvious cost, the Rams would need to move one of their current cornerbacks to create a space for Ramsey. That would mean potentially parting ways with Aqib Talib or Marcus Peters, both of whom will be free agents at the end of the season. Should the Rams pursue this path, accepting either Peters or Talib in a Ramsey package might make sense for the Jaguars. It would signal to their fans that they aren’t punting on the 2019 season as much as they are maximizing an asset (Ramsey) who is making it clear he is not part of the plan moving forward.

Denver defensive end Von Miller

Reports recently surfaced that the Broncos might at least gauge what might be available in exchange for Miller, their seven-time Pro Bowl pass-rusher. Don’t you have to at least lob a call if you’re the Rams?

Clearly the cost would be steep, and the financial investment real (Miller’s cap hit is more than $25 million next season). But Miller playing alongside Donald for the next two and a half seasons would be incredibly dynamic, not to mention a quarterback’s worst nightmare.

Broncos president John Elway doesn’t appear shy about making big moves, even ones involving franchise greats and fan favorites. You get the sense he is open to hearing what might be out there. If you are the Rams, you’d have to check in.




SubjectAuthorViewsPosted

  Vinny B: Exploring the Rams trade possibilities (Trent Williams, Ramsey, Miller etc...)

Speed_Kills485October 08, 2019 03:48PM

  Williams would be the most attractive option

LMU9385October 09, 2019 03:29AM

  I think it's Noteboom's job right?

Atlantic Ram73October 09, 2019 01:17PM

  Re: If the Rams could get Williams

Speed_Kills84October 09, 2019 01:28PM

  Yikes!!! lol

Atlantic Ram67October 09, 2019 04:30PM

  Re: I think it's Noteboom's job right?

Steve37October 09, 2019 08:05PM