It is the happiest day of the year:
This will be the first decade since the 1910s the Yankees did not make a World Series appearance, and Aroldis Chapman giving up a walk-off homer is the most satisfying way a series can end. Hell of a game, though.
The big NFL news of the week is the Rams trading two first rounders for Jalen Ramsey. Kevin Clark and Barnwell have good pieces about it. I’m somewhat ambivalent — I’m happy to be talking about teams trying to win rather than inventing elaborate justifications for getting their ass caved in every week, adding elite talent to a team with a championship window is generally a good idea, and corner is a critical position in today’s NFL. But, as Barnwell says, the Rams more or less guaranteeing that they’ll be a stars-and-scrubs team for the foreseeable future is an awfully steep price:
Ramsey might not be at Sanders’ level, but since the start of 2017, the former first-round pick has allowed a passer rating of just 56.2% on throws in which he was the closest defender in coverage. The only corner with a better rating over 400-plus coverage snaps is his former Jags teammate A.J. Bouye. Ramsey is first in average yards allowed per target and sixth in coverage success rate over that time frame. He’s capable of playing both on the outside and in the slot. The Rams are getting a superstar.
Right now, though, I’m not sure what the Rams need is a superstar. They already have as talented of an inner core as any team in the league, but after trading away so many high draft picks over the past few years, what they lack is depth. Even after trading for Ramsey, they have a question on the opposite side of the field at cornerback in Troy Hill, who will presumably be filling in for Talib. The Rams could bring back Talib for the postseason, but he’s a free agent after the season. L.A. has 2019 third-rounder David Long on the roster, but if it was confident Long was going to step in and be an immediate contributor, it wouldn’t have traded two first-round picks for Ramsey.
When the Rams made the trades to acquire Peters, Sammy Watkins and Brandin Cooks, they were in a fundamentally different financial situation. Watkins was acquired before the Rams had paid Aaron Donald. Peters and Cooks came before Gurley and Jared Goff were locked up on massive contracts. Cooks has his own deal now. The Gurley deal looks to be a major mistake, and while it’s still impossible to make any sort of declaration about the Goff deal, the early returns have not been promising.
And given that this is an extreme win-now move, the real rub here is Goff, since a stars-and-scrubs NFL team has zero chance without an elite or at least near-elite QB. And, with an old and crumbling offensive line and the league’s coordinators having an offseason to spend studying Belichick’s Super Bowl game plan, Goff has just been flat-out bad this year. Pick your metric: 24th in DVOA, 29th in QBR, 27th in the NFL rating, 26th in AY/A — that ain’t gettin’ it done. There are, in a sense, two ways of looking at it:
- The Rams are pushing all their chips in, playing in a brutally tough division already behind a 5-0 team with a +83 point differential and a 5-1 team featuring the league’s MVP after week 6 at Goff’s position plus a team with an impressive-looking young QB that will be a tough out this year and could improve very rapidly, with a QB who is looking suspiciously like a system QB the league has figured out. And he’s now in a position where his supporting cast is almost certain to get worse before it gets better.
- Given the amount of guaranteed money they owe Goff, if he ends up closer to the 2019 version than the 2018 the Rams are completely screwed anyway, so what the hell they might as well act as if this is an aberration and Goff can be a championship-quality QB again.
I dunno. I guess I’d say as a Seahawks fan I’m not unhappy about this trade.