The Los Angeles Rams needed a running back after Cam Akers blew out his Achilles in training camp, so they acquired Sony Michel in a trade with the New England Patriots for a pair of conditional draft picks.
The Rams also suffered a setback this week when their new starting running back, Darrell Henderson, sprained his thumb in practice on Monday. The Rams’ current roster also includes rookie Jake Funk from Maryland and Xavier Jones, a second-year player out of SMU who was on the Rams practice squad last season. Without a deep bench, the Rams pulled the trigger on a trade with the Patriots for Michel.
The Patriots were deep at running back with Michel penciled in as the backup behind Damien Harris. The Pats also have James White and rookie Rhamondre Stevenson, whom Bill Belichick drafted in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Stevenson turned heads in the preseason and in training camp. Belichick wouldn’t have traded Michel if he didn’t think Stevenson was ready to contribute.
Michel missed several games last season with a quadriceps injury. He appeared in nine games with the Pats last season as a backup, rushing 79 times for 449 yards for just one touchdown.
“I’ve always liked him as a runner,” said New England running backs coach Ivan Frears. “But now he’s shown to us that he can also play in the passing game and be very effective. He’s had an awfully good camp.”
Sean McVay has a photographic memory when it comes to plays in every game he coached. He hasn’t forgotten the Rams’ loss against the Pats in Super Bowl 53 and the damage that Michel inflicted. Michel torched the Rams for 94 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries in the 13-3 victory for the Patriots.
The Rams are +1400 odds to win Super Bowl 56, but they’re also one of the three co-favorites to win the NFC West.