One of the things glossed over Tuesday was the Los Angeles Rams’ activity in this nigh madness that is the NFL trade deadline. They traded a 2019 third round pick and a 2020 fifth round pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars to secure the services of Dante Fowler.
That makes the Rams defensive line, which was already one of the best in the league, even better. It also makes the Rams not only push their chips all in, but take shoes off, dig through couch cushions, pawn the watches, and anything else to add to their all-in plan for 2018. The Rams now have four picks in the 2019 NFL Draft. They have their first, fourth, fifth and sixth round picks. They have Jared Goff on a rookie contract, and given the rate at which rookie deals are increasing, their window to win a Lombardi Trophy is now.
Before you go nuts wondering why the San Francisco 49ers didn’t make a trade for Fowler, remember, they are 1-7 and that’s Dante Fowler. Fowler is not Jimmy Garoppolo and his (Fowler’s) contract is up at the end of the season. A quarterback and a defensive lineman—especially one like Fowler who comes with question marks—are two completely different scenarios with that contract status. The Rams now will have to dig into the bank once again to pay Fowler some money if they want to keep him around, while bracing for the future huge contract Jared Goff will command. If they decide not to pay Fowler (and given Fowler’s background and slightly disappointing play thus far, they might) they just gave up two more draft picks to win a Super Bowl in 2018.
If the 49ers wanted Fowler they probably could make a play for him in free agency, but he might not be worth it. He’ll be a nice commodity, but he also comes with some off-field issues and not living up to the third overall pick of the 2015 draft. The Rams want some more insurance with that defensive line to get their Super Bowl win. The 49ers want to get out of 2018 while mitigating further disaster.
If the Rams hold onto Fowler, it’s more salary cap money that is sapped away and it’s two less draft picks for when those cap hits catch up with them. If the Rams don’t win a Super Bowl this year, they just burned more of their future for a guy who might not be around 10 or so games from now.