With the Los Angeles Rams’ decision to trade for Brandin Cooks on Tuesday, two things are absolutely certain:
1: Odell Beckham Jr. is not being traded from the New York Giants to the Rams.
2: The Rams are now, without question, not building for the future. They are all in for 2018.
The NFC West arms race. It had to happen. With the Seattle Seahawks reeling and the Arizona Cardinals being ... well ... the Arizona Cardinals, ample opportunity arrived for the next juggernaut to take over the region. The San Francisco 49ers have Jimmy Garoppolo on lockdown and an underrated wide receiver corps that still doesn’t know the extent of their abilities. They have Jerick McKinnon signed to a nice deal and plenty of draft picks to get the future ironed out. They very well could have gotten in on these trades (and one with Aqib Talib they were about to pull the trigger on). They didn’t.
Meanwhile, the Rams have given up their first and second round draft choices. They will not pick until the third round. They have roughly $4 million in cap space not counting the Brandin Cooks trade. That’s barely enough to cover the rookie salaries, and to pay any emergency acquisitions during the season.
Oh, and they still haven’t paid Aaron Donald. His contract is up at the end of 2018. They sit right now at having $90 million in cap space in 2019, but that number can only go down. They have the aforementioned Donald Extension to figure out. And Todd Gurley in 2020, and Marcus Peters, and...and...and.
All those players combined are going to exceed $90 million. They won’t—and can’t—pay everyone. That’s fine—it happens. But then who do they have to replace them? Those seven picks from 2018 that all came from the third round or lower?
By the way, if I’m a Rams fan, I’m hoping no one gets injured, because whatever they have behind this “dream team” isn’t going to be inspiring. Again, because they don’t have the means to supplant it in the draft.
The Rams are playing a very dangerous game with their future right now. Make no mistake, they are set in 2018. They might even be the team to beat in 2018. But every play, every highlight from a player on the roster that is witnessed is only going to command a higher paycheck in their inevitable extension. One that the Rams can’t provide and one where they are unable to replace that talent with who they get through the draft.
They are all in. Hopefully they have a vision for the future. Then again, Chief Operating Officer Kevin Demoff is a supposed financial wizard.
Let’s see how these numbers crunch.