The Los Angeles Rams are more than two years removed from their blockbuster trade to acquire Matthew Stafford and even after winning Super Bowl LVI a year later, some are still questioning whether the deal was worth it.
The only reason for that is the 5-12 season the Rams endured in 2022 and the bleak outlook in the next two or three years. No one expects Los Angeles to contend for a championship after purging the roster this offseason, but that doesn’t mean its aggressive moves to win a title in 2021 weren’t worth it.
Even if the Rams struggle for the next two or three years, it will have been worth it because they won a ring.
That seems to be the sentiment shared by Les Snead and those in the Rams’ building. Snead was on the Econ Talk podcast recently and was asked if going all-in for Stafford was worth it, even if the Rams struggle to be in playoff contention for five years.
“Internally, we’ve said yes,” Snead said.
He then went into more detail about why the Rams moved on from Jared Goff and acquired Stafford, and it had a lot to do with the fact that they reached the Super Bowl following the 2018 season and lost.
They desperately wanted to get over the hump and felt Stafford gave them a better chance while their stars were in their prime.
“After that Super Bowl, what we did realize and one of the reasons we moved on from, let’s call it, a less experienced Jared to a more experienced Matthew is, OK, we got to the top of the mountain, and it wasn’t Jared’s fault at all that we lost it. When we got to the top of the mountain, we knew we had a head coach and an offensive play-caller in his prime. We had a lot of our other core players – Cooper Kupp, Aaron Donald, to name a few – a lot of offensive linemen, Andrew Whitworth. A lot of our top players were in their prime. And the reason we felt like we could make the move to Matthew Stafford was we would give up some young players, obviously first-rounders.”
Snead says whether the Rams won or lost the Super Bowl against the Patriots following the 2018 season, they knew they would have to make some changes. And so, after two somewhat disappointing seasons in 2019 and 2020, they made the bold move to acquire Stafford in a deal involving Goff and two first-round picks.
“Whether we would’ve won the Super Bowl or lost that night, let’s say we would’ve lost in the conference championship game … it wouldn’t have been a failure, but maybe in what we were trying to accomplish, yes,” he continued. “But, all teams have to then go through these moments where the collective definitely changes for many reasons. We did know that there would be some, let’s call it, changes that we would have to execute whether we won or lost.
But, end of the day, the answer is yes. And, one of the reasons is because we had gotten there before and lost it. That one haunts you.”
Snead continued by talking about how painful that Super Bowl loss was. The Rams went 13-3 that year, ranked second in points and yards and had one of the best seasons in franchise history, only to come up just short in the final game of the postseason.
He said the pain gets easier the more time goes on, but the regret grows stronger.
“When you got there and lost it, you wake up every day and there’s a moment in the day where you’ll go, ‘Wow, we were skiing for the gold medal and somehow we ended up on the silver medal platform,’” he said. “You wonder as a human, even though you try to rationalize, ‘Okay, you’re a good dad,’ that regret–we could get into it. I’m sure you have books on your back shelf there that could go, ‘Wow, that can eat at you and it compounds over time.’ The pain of the loss dissipates while the regret only gets stronger.”
The Rams obviously hope they don’t suffer through five years of playoff-less pain, but they understood the cost of making the trade for Stafford, as well as deals to acquire Jalen Ramsey, Von Miller and others.
Looking back, their Super Bowl title will be worth it no matter what.