Can Sony Michel fill in for Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson?
Deal with Pats makes sense for both sides, and could just save Rams’ season
Rams deal picks for Patriots Sony Michel after Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson injuries
For a while there, the Rams’ backfield couldn’t catch a break. Cam Akers was supposed to be the lead back, and was in a position to rush for over 1,000 yards in his sophomore season. He went down with a season-ending Achilles injury just over a month ago. Next man up was Darrell Henderson. He would now take on the brunt of the backfield workload. But yesterday, he injured his thumb in practice. While the severity of the injury is still unknown, the consensus seems to be that Henderson will be out for at least a few weeks. After that, Xavier Jones and Jake Funk were set to compete for lead back duties. XAVIER JONES and JAKE FUNK. The Rams had to find someone capable of carrying a heavy workload, and they had to find him quickly.
This trade seems like a match made in heaven for both teams involved. The Patriots already had a loaded backfield with Damien Harris, James White, and Rhamondre Stevenson, who’s been doing insane things on the regular during this preseason, might I say — so getting two picks back for someone who’d all but been abandoned as a potential lead back in New England was a pretty smart move.
As for the Rams, assuming Henderson is out the entire season (I know that’s unlikely, but since we don’t know the severity of the injury, we have to prepare for the worst-case scenario), they needed someone capable of handling a heavy workload, and Michel brings that to the table. The 2020 injury aside, Michel has two seasons with over 200 carries. In his best season, Michel was handed the pigskin 247 times. That’s 14.5 carries per game in a 17-game schedule, which may not be a true workhorse total along the lines of Derrick Henry or Christian McCaffrey, but is still more than players like Alvin Kamara and Aaron Jones have ever had in their careers, and tied with David Montgomery for the most carries he’s had in his career. Not to mention that most halfbacks in the NFL tend to fall off after their rookie contracts, but Michel, 26, still had one year left on his original rookie contract.
After Michel was forced to miss seven games due to injury in 2020 though, can he still be explosive enough and durable enough to handle a workload of approximately 250 carries? That’s a risk that the Rams have to be willing to take. Did they give up too much in order to acquire Michel? Given the Rams’ Super Bowl aspirations, I believe the Rams could’ve given up much more. They’ve already given up every first-round draft pick they had for the next 35 years or something, so what’s a few late-rounders, right? One Super Bowl is worth a decade of misery, and the Rams believe they can compete for one.
Sony Michel definitely lost a step after his injury, and perhaps that lack of explosiveness will destroy any chance of Michel making a difference for the Rams. Maybe they’ll have to turn to Jones and Funk anyway, but don’t be confuse: The Rams needed to take this risk.