For months now, rumors have spread that the New England Patriots are trying to trade backup QB Ryan Mallett. He will be a free agent after the season and the team used a third-round pick on him in the draft. Knowing that, they will almost certainly want to receive at least that much to deal him. There are very few teams that would be willing to meet that price. However, after a devastating recent development, one new team may decide he is worth it. That team is the St. Louis Rams.
The Rams were dealt a huge blow on Sunday, learning that QB Sam Bradford would be out for the season. He tore his ACL for a second time in his short career. At this point, he is probably finished in St. Louis. After multiple serious knee injuries and his mediocre play on the field, it is not inconceivable to think his career may even be over.
As far as replacing Bradford goes, the Rams have Shaun Hill, but he has very little upside and is getting older. They also have Austin Davis, but few talent evaluators truly believe he can be a starting QB in the NFL. With this in mind, it would seem more likely that the Rams would make a move for a QB outside of the organization with more upside.
There are several options the Rams could choose from. First there is Mark Sanchez. Although it sounds like a perfect match, he drained a lot of his value across the league in his last year with the New York Jets. It’s a bad sign when the play you are most known for as a QB is a butt-fumble. There is also a question as to whether the Philadelphia Eagles would trade him and what their price might be. It seems like a longshot to me.
Another option is Kirk Cousins, but the Washington Redskins may want to keep him given Robert Griffin III‘s high risk of injury. Tim Tebow is another possible candidate, but after throwing most of his passes in the stands last preseason, along with the distractions it would likely bring, it’s fair to wonder if the Rams would do that.
As for Mallett, he makes the most sense to be moved for both parties. The Rams need a young QB who can lead their team into the future, which he is. The Rams already have a solid defense, a decent running game and some capable pass catchers to build around.
There is a lot to like about him over other candidates as well. He is big, has one of the strongest arms in the league and has been learning under Tom Brady for years. The Rams could make good use of his skill set given the receivers they have. Kenny Britt, Chris Givens and Tavon Austin are all deep threats who would benefit from a strong-armed QB like Mallett. It could be a match made in heaven.
The Patriots, meanwhile, will want to get something for Mallett instead of letting him walk after the season. They have a seemingly capable backup in Jimmy Garoppolo, and it’s not as if Brady is going anywhere anytime soon. The Pats have gotten by for years with mediocre backups, so trading Mallett is probably not a big deal barring some kind of serious injury.
A trade with the Patriots is probably enticing for the Rams given their tough division. They’ve struggled lately and could definitely finish with a mediocre record in 2014, especially with Bradford now hurt. Any pick the Patriots acquire would feel like a late pick in the previous round in that scenario. Getting compensation like that could provide the Pats with leverage to move up in the draft, thereby selecting a high-impact player should they choose to do so.
Whichever way you look at it, a trade between the two teams makes sense. I would expect the two sides to sit down and discuss a potential trade in the coming weeks, if they haven’t already.