Why trading for Sony Michel was a mistake by the Rams

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We’ve now had over 24 hours to process the trade that sent Sony Michel to the Los Angeles Rams from the New England Patriots. The move itself has gotten mostly positive reviews from people knowledgeable about the situation (including my colleague, Cameron DaSilva). I’ve been able to gather my thoughts on the trade and let me just say – *proceeds to take a deep breath* – after seeing what the Rams gave up for Michel, and who Michel is at this point of his career, I’m not a fan of the move for Los Angeles.

Within the trade, the Rams will be sending a 2022 sixth-round pick and 2023 fourth-round pick to the Patriots – which is different than the original compensation that was reported. Let me preface everything by saying that adding another running back to the roster was inevitable once Cam Akers went down with a season-ending Achilles injury.

Darrell Henderson Jr. is going to be tasked with being the lead back on the Rams, which isn’t going to change with the presence of Michel. But with an injury to Raymond Calais, and Henderson dealing with a minor injury of his own, Les Snead didn’t waste time finding a depth option in Michel.

While adding another running back was going to happen, waiting to sign someone that was released during the final wave of roster cuts would have sufficed. There were guys like Duke Johnson or Adrian Peterson sitting in free agency for Los Angeles to sign without losing any draft picks. On top of that, there could have been other veterans who became available in the coming weeks.

Also, there’s the fact that Michel wasn’t even a lock to make the 53-man roster for the Patriots, so Los Angeles could be doing New England a massive favor by trading two draft picks. The Patriots are loaded at running back with Damien Harris, James White, Rhamondre Stevenson, and J.J. Taylor, so Michel was far from a guarantee to remain on New England’s roster.

Michel, who was a former first-round pick, has experienced injury concerns in recent seasons. Tell me, where have you heard a Georgia running back that has developed knee issues before? Even though Michel won’t need to shoulder a heavy workload — barring an injury to Henderson — giving up valuable draft capital for Michel is extremely shortsighted.

Not to mention, Michel had his fifth-year option declined by the Patriots, meaning he’ll become a free agent after this season. So it’s possible the Rams traded two picks for a one-year rental – though the possibility of getting a compensatory pick if Michel leaves next offseason helps.

Under Snead, the Rams don’t have a blazing track record with fourth-round picks. But with the team void of early-round picks — especially after the trade for Matthew Stafford — it makes their fourth-round selections even more important.

From an immediate standpoint, I do understand the move for Michel as the Rams desperately needed someone with experience that could complement Henderson. However, in the grand scheme of things, trading for Michel doesn’t move the needle much for me when it comes to Los Angeles’ backfield.

If anything, trading a future fourth-round pick could backfire while the Rams could have signed someone that allowed them to keep a hold of what is a premier pick for them.

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Rams 53-man roster projection: Will Sony Michel cost Jake Funk a spot?