The New England Patriots made a widely expected decision when they declined the fifth-year option on running back Sony Michel’s rookie contract.
It goes without saying Michel’s future in Foxborough will be contingent on how both he and Damien Harris, who’s coming off a breakout year, perform in 2021.
However, has anyone stopped to think that New England could cut ties with Michel before the start of next season?
If the opportunity arose, surely the diligent Bill Belichick wouldn’t pass on unloading Michel with his value potentially at its highest since his rookie year, right?
That remains to be seen, but the Patriots have a prime opportunity on their hands following the injury to Rams starter Cam Akers, who suffered a torn Achilles during a workout.
Assuming the Patriots are confident Harris is capable of fulfilling the starting role, what deal would make sense for both New England and Los Angeles?
This Patriots-Rams trade could send Sony Michel to the west coast.
The Rams reportedly aren’t in the market for a replacement, but they surely can’t be confident in their options behind de facto starter Darrell Henderson. After all, the likes of Xavier Jones, Raymond Calais, and Jake Funk have yet to register a carry at the NFL level.
You might say Los Angeles could scour the free agent market, but we’d argue Michel has more value than any one of one Todd Gurley, Le’Veon Bell, Adrian Peterson, Devonta Freeman, Frank Gore or LeSean McCoy at this stage of their respective careers.
Michel just turned 26 this offseason and only has 535 rushes under his belt over his three seasons. In other words, he should have plenty of gas left in the tank. And if the 2018 first-rounder plays anything like he did in Weeks 15-17 after he returned from injury (he totaled 216 rushing yards and a touchdown on 6.4 YPC), the Rams will be getting a solid player.
With that being said, LA would have to consider Michel’s entire career, not just a three-game sample size. Because of that, the former Georgia standout is probably worth either a fourth- or fifth-round pick. After all, we’re talking about a player who’s appeared in 38 of a possible 48 regular season games and looked way off the pace as a sophomore in 2019.
This return package might not seem like much, but acquiring a mid-round pick in return for a player who was unlikely to be re-signed next offseason is pretty good business. As for the Rams, Henderson and Michel would form quite the committee as secondary options to newly-minted quarterback Matthew Stafford and his cavalcade of pass-catchers in Sean McVay’s offense.
Who says no?