In what can only be attributed to Kevin Costner commandeering the Los Angeles war room, the city’s new football team, the Rams, acquired the first pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, one that formerly belong to the Tennessee Titans. The trade was made late Wednesday night, but was reportedly kept under wraps to avoid stealing the spotlight from Kobe Bryant’s final game.
Of course, this being a trade, the Rams had to give up something in return, and this being a trade for the first pick in the NFL draft, one of the most valuable commodities in all of sports, they had to give a lot. Gone are four of the Rams’ picks in this year’s draft, #’s 15, 43, 45, and 76. Also departing are the Rams’ 1st and 3rd round in picks the the 2017 draft. The departures are very slightly offset by also nabbing the 113th and 177th picks from Tennessee. Either way, the Los Angeles Rams own the top pick in the draft, and speculation will flood the next two weeks with rumors on whose name will eventually be called by Roger Goodell in Chicago.
At first glance, it’s a good move for the Rams. A city that’s finally getting to whet its football appetite after an over two decade famine will be front and center on the NFL’s highest profile even since the Super Bowl, as will a team that has been mostly irrelevant since its Greatest Show on Turf era. In addition, the teams gets the jersey of a new quarterback to sell by the thousands to the stars of LA, a new face that will lead them into the foreseeable future. And as an added bonus, he’ll probably be better than Nick Foles or Case Keenum.
But hmm wait a minute…doesn’t the “Rams make a huge draft day trade involving a QB” storyline sound just a wee bit too familiar? Where have I heard this story before….
Major scoopage: Redskins have agreed to a trade w Rams for #2 pick of draft. Rams and Skins swap (cont) http://t.co/xOKPB0XU
— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) March 10, 2012
Aha! Of course! The infamous St. Louis-Washington trade that ensured Robert Griffin III would wear burgundy. In exchange for the pick that eventually became the current Cleveland Brown, the Rams received Washington’s next three 1st round picks, as well as a 2012 2nd rounder. The Rams later worked around with these picks, turning them into more selections.
This deal goes down as one of the most confusing trades in NFL history in terms of who won. Despite Griffin taking Washington to a division title in his rookie and the Rams unable to even reach .500 in the span, the former St. Louis residents are often labeled the winners simply because the RG3 honeymoon didn’t last in DC, whether it was because of Dan Snyder’s incessant meddling or because Mike Shanahan, a guy who somehow (somehow=he had John Elway) stumbled into two Super Bowls, didn’t know how to handle an injured quarterback.
The Rams even let Washington hear all about during the teams’ 2014 meet-up in
DC Landover, when head coach Jeff Fisher sent the players those selections became, as well as the one yielded from further transactions with the picks, out for the opening coin toss in what eventually became a 24-0 Rams victory. The stand-in captains included WR Steadman Bailey, CB Janoris Jenkins, DT Michael Brockers, RB Zac Stacy, LT Greg Robinson, and LB Alec Ogletree. Jenkins and Stacy are no longer with the team.
Again, good on the Rams for injecting a little jolt into a city that has lay dormant (football-wise anyway) since 1995. But why repeat a process with that produced zero playoff victories on either side? Why sacrifice your future on a move that may not work out in the end? With all due respect to Carson Wentz and Jared Goff, the projected top two signal-callers in this draft, there’s no can’t miss prospect like there was with Andrew Luck in 2012. Besides, trading away your future for immediate success has been a proven liability in not just the NFL, but other sports as well. Go ask any Brooklyn Nets fan, for example, about how the Celtics and Hawks not only get to go to the NBA Playoffs but also get to have fun with the 1st round draft picks of the Nets, 21 game winners in 2015-16, that were jettisoned from Brooklyn for superstars like Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett…none of whom are with the team anymore.
Of course, the incoming pick could come in, shock us all, and make this costly exchange totally worth it. If not, well just know that the late Yogi Berra once famously said “It’s deja vu all over again!”. And for LA’s new team and fans, that quote could become a sickening reality if they’re not careful.
For more on this and other awful pre-draft trades, check out Rick Chandler’s take here.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490.