It’s Super Bowl or nothing for the Rams: What to watch out for from their many moves

The NFL trade deadline came and went on Tuesday, the Rams already enjoying the acquisition of star linebacker Von Miller before letting go of catcher DeSean Jackson.

Those were the latest in a series of major moves Rams general manager Les Snead made since January to supply a roster capable of a run to Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium. And playing in that Super Bowl – in owner Stan Kroenke’s $ 5 billion stadium – will be the only measure of a successful season for these booming Rams.

“Our goal is to try to build a team that stresses the opposing teams, that puts pressure on the other teams, whether on offense or defense,” Snead said during a video conference with reporters.

Here are the views on the Rams’ moves and how they have worked:

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford celebrates a two-point conversion.

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford celebrates a two-point conversion against the Detroit Lions on Oct. 24 at SoFi Stadium.

(John McCoy / Associated Press)

Movement: Negotiation by quarterback Matthew Stafford.

Cost: Quarterback Jared Goff, a compensatory third-round draft pick in 2021 and first-round picks in 2022 and 2023.

Analysis: Coach Sean McVay made it to a Super Bowl with Goff. But he longed to have a quarterback who believed he could win one.

Stafford, released after playing 12 seasons with the Detroit Lions, has made McVay and Snead shine. The talent of his arm, his experience and his skill are on display in every game. He has passed for 22 touchdowns, with four interceptions.

But none of this should come as a surprise. Stafford was long considered one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL who was unlucky enough to play for mostly bad teams like the Lions. A precise evaluation of the movement cannot be made until January. That’s when Stafford will have another shot at winning a playoff game, something he has never done in three attempts.

Movement: Signed receiver DeSean Jackson.

Cost: $ 2.75 million guaranteed plus incentives.

Analysis: No waiting to determine how this homecoming story worked.

“I’m not going to give him a grade,” Snead said shortly after releasing Jackson. “I came up with one, but it would probably be the headline.”

It’s fair to assume that Snead wasn’t thinking of an A +.

The Rams signed Jackson, one of the best deep threats in NFL history, after two injury-plagued seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles. They put the 34-year-old pro on a load-handling practice plan, but McVay never found a way to use it consistently in an offense that included wide receivers Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods and Van Jefferson.

Jackson expressed his frustration to McVay after the second game, then caught a 75-yard touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It turned out to be his only highlight at SoFi Stadium. He only came under 15 attacks in seven games before asking to be traded.

“Obviously, it didn’t work out,” Snead said. “This is DeSean, this is Sean, this is the Rams as a whole. And since it wasn’t working, we felt it was the best thing for all of us … to break up and move on to the next chapter. “

Movement: Rehiring outside linebacker Leonard Floyd.

Cost: $ 32.5 million guaranteed.

Rams outside linebacker Leonard Floyd reacts after sacking New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones.

Rams outside linebacker Leonard Floyd reacts after sacking New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones on Oct. 17 in East Rutherford, NJ

(Adam Hunger / Associated Press)

Analysis: Floyd, the ninth player picked in the 2016 draft, flourished with the Rams in 2020 after four underperforming seasons with the Chicago Bears. Playing alongside three-time NFL defensive player of the year Aaron Donald certainly helped, but the Rams probed the edge-rushing market and the draft and decided they couldn’t let him go.

It sounds like a solid investment: Floyd is the best on the team at 6½ sacks and is on track to easily surpass his career best from last season, 10½.

And now he will have opportunities to play against Miller.

Movement: Rehiring of cornerback Darious Williams.

Cost: 4.76 million dollars.

Analysis: In 2020, Williams emerged as an outstanding playmaker and complement to star cornerback Jalen Ramsey, so the Rams put a first-round offer on the restricted free agent to discourage other teams from signing him.

Rams cornerback Darious Williams walks off the field after a game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Rams cornerback Darious Williams walks off the field after a game against the Indianapolis Colts on Sept. 19 in Indianapolis.

(Zach Bolinger / Associated Press)

Williams suffered an ankle injury Oct. 7 against the Seattle Seahawks and, after sitting three games, is eligible to go out of reserve this week. In Williams’ absence, rookie Robert Rochell emerged as a possible replacement if Williams does not return in 2022.

The Rams can try to lure Williams in with an extension or put the franchise tag on him. But you almost certainly want to test the market as a free agent.

Movement: Exchange for the Sony Michel broker.

Cost: Sixth-round draft pick of 2022 and fourth-round pick of 2023.

Analysis: With Cam Akers sidelined with an Achilles tendon injury, the Rams got Michel on the eve of the New England Patriots season start as a cover against Darrell Henderson’s durability issues.

It looks like a solid move: Michel replaced Henderson against the Indianapolis Colts and ran effectively.

Rams running back Sony Michel scores against the Seattle Seahawks on Oct. 7, 2021.

Rams running back Sony Michel scores a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks on Oct. 7, 2021.

(Stephen Brashear / Associated Press)

Michel turned the ball over against the Arizona Cardinals, but has shown a solid performance.

Movement: Traded to linebacker Kenny Young.

Cost: Seventh-round draft pick in 2024.

Analysis: The Rams got a lot more from Young than they bargained for. Remember he was a player the Rams acquired in a 2019 trade that sent cornerback Marcus Peters to the Baltimore Ravens so the Rams could trade for Ramsey.

Upon his arrival in Los Angeles, Young played exactly zero defensive snaps in nine games.

But Young emerged as a valuable player in 2020 and started six games.

Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff is brought down by Rams linebacker Kenny Young.

Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff is brought down by Rams linebacker Kenny Young in the fourth quarter at SoFi Stadium on Oct. 24.

(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

That was great for the Rams because they paid him less than a million dollars. But not so great when his compensation went up to $ 2.2 million.

Young started seven games this season and made some key plays. But his trade to the Denver Broncos cleared the cap space, opened the door for cheaper rookie Ernest Jones to play, and paved the way for the Rams to trade for Miller.

Movement: Trade for outside linebacker Von Miller.

Cost: Second and third round draft picks in 2022.

Analysis: This is reminiscent of 2018, when Snead negotiated for edge rusher Dante Fowler. That worked out pretty well: Fowler made a great play in the NFC championship game that helped the Rams advance to the Super Bowl.

Miller brings experience and Hall of Fame credentials – he has 110½ sacks in his career and a Super Bowl MVP award on his résumé – and joins an already star-studded defense that includes Donald, Ramsey and Floyd.

The Rams are paying Miller just $ 700,000 for the rest of the season. Snead said he has spoken with Miller’s agent about the possibility of keeping him beyond 2021.

And this season’s Super Bowl.

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It’s Super Bowl or nothing for the Rams: What to watch out for from their many moves