While the performances of Cam Newton and Mac Jones stole headlines, we were left equally intrigued by the Patriots’ backfield.
Each one of Damien Harris, Sony Michel, Rhamondre Stevenson and JJ Taylor performed well in the game, meaning that Bill Belichick will have some tough decisions to make before the 53-man roster deadline.
With that in mind, we just couldn’t rule out somebody like Michel getting traded to an RB-needy team. In fact, we already pegged the Rams as a potential destination for Michel after Cam Akers went down with a torn Achilles a few weeks back. And we had another prediction piece ready to go on Wednesday evening — it’s true! — until fate intervened and…made us geniuses.
If Los Angeles didn’t feel like the perfect landing spot for Michel earlier in the preseason, it certainly did after de facto starter Darrell Henderson suffered a sprained thumb at practice over the weekend.
Though Henderson avoided a major injury, it seems trade talks between the Rams and Patriots heated up as soon as we added ANOTHER layer to this injury madness.
Patriots and Rams pulled off a Sony Michel trade after the latest injury to Los Angeles’ backfield.
This just seems like a win-win scenario for both teams, and those don’t come around very often. Think about it for a second.
The Rams, on top of losing Akers after his electric finish to his rookie year, waived third-stringer Raymond Calais with an injury designation after he injured his foot in Saturday’s game against the Raiders. Calais will undergo surgery and is expected to miss between 4-6 months while he recovers.
In other words, Los Angeles can’t rest on its laurels just because Henderson will be ready for the start of the regular season. The Rams are bereft of adequate options behind the 2019 third-rounder, so it behooved general manager Les Snead to get Belichick on the phone as soon as possible.
If this was last offseason, Michel wouldn’t be an appealing option for LA. However, he’s made considerable strides as a pass-catcher and quietly averaged a career-high 5.7 yards per carry over a sizable 79 rushes last season.
While it stinks to see Michel leave, especially when he’s seemingly on the verge of breaking out as a runner, the Patriots have totaled 386 yards on the ground on 5.5 YPC over their first two preseason games.
Harris is capable of handling starting duties. Stevenson, despite being a rookie, looks ready to contribute. We know what James White brings to the table, and Belichick has clearly taken a shine to Taylor.
That makes Michel’s presence pretty redundant, so don’t be surprised if trade rumors start leaking in the coming days…and I saved that last sentence as-is, because spoiler alert? We had a piece ready to run Wednesday night predicting this trade, and then a trade happened. Michel will be missed, but the roster crunches are just beginning.