Things are looking up for the St. Louis Rams now that Zac Stacy is the starting running back. He is exactly what Jeff Fisher’s offenses have used in the past to be successful. He runs with toughness and power fitting into Fishers scheme well. For some reason though, he was not given a chance sooner after it was apparent that second year RB Daryl Richardson was not a good fit to start. Richardson should have been given the first opportunity after his success backing up Stephen Jackson last year. It is understandable to be loyal to your player that has done it before.
If Stacy proves himself this week against the Carolina Panthers, then the Rams should not even bother wasting a thought on trading for Adrian Peterson. Stacy has performed well against the teams he has faced. Giving St. Louis’s offense a lift in the area that they needed it the most. He has ran the ball 33 times for 161 yards at a 4.9 yards per carry clip. A team has to feel good about their running game when a back is averaging nearly five yards a carry. Especially considering before Stacy was put into the line-up St. Louis was only averaging 2.6 yards a carry. The effect of the running game has been apparent in the play of Sam Bradford as well. He has been confident and efficient since Stacy took over.
Just imagine if he had the best running back in the league to hand off too. Peterson is easily the best back in the league right now. He is also 28 years old. NFL history proves that is not a good number for potential trade partners to see. As running backs age, they wear down and slow down. With the typical break down age for running backs at 30, Peterson may have two or three of his prime career years left. Considering that he will be 32 when his current contract expires after the 2017 season, it is a dangerous risk to take. He salary cap numbers are not very intriguing for trade partners either. This year he will make $13.9 million, 2014- $14.4 million, 2015- $15.4 million, 2016- $15 million, and in 2017- $16 million. The Rams already had salary cap issues that forced Quinton Mikell out of town this year. That is a lot of money for a player that is only going to slow down when he is making the most money of his career.
For the next few years, St. Louis would get their moneys worth from a premiere back. The Rams have a lot of young players under their rookie contracts for a few more years, which helps, but most of their building blocks have signed hefty extensions. The salary cap will be an issue for any team that trades for him. Peterson and Bradford already have a history from their college days at the University of Oklahoma. This connection could provide a push for Bradford and Peterson to restructure their deals to help the Rams become the powerhouse that OU was back when they were teammates.
The Rams have two-1st round picks in the 2014 draft to go along with 1 in the 2nd and 3rd round. Would they be willing to give up at least one first round pick and a package of other picks this year and possibly future picks? The Minnesota Vikings will have to take on some cap from any trade partner as well. Who would the Rams give up in a trade package? Anyone that is making money on St. Louis is a key to the current and future team success. I do not believe they would want to give up a plethora of draft picks and possibly another valuable asset in a player for an expensive, aging back. This isn’t just any running back though; it is Adrian Peterson. He is better than anyone the Rams have or will pick up in free agency or the draft. It’s an intriguing trade to look at, but the possibility of the Vikings giving up their only offensive weapon and the Rams giving up on their draft and build model are very, very improbable. It would be awesome to see Peterson tear up teams in the Rams blue and gold jerseys though. One can dream right?