When the Los Angeles Rams traded starting linebacker Kenny Young and a 2024 seventh-round pick to the Denver Broncos in exchange for a 2024 sixth-round pick, it struck most people by surprise.
Young has been the Rams' best inside linebacker this season and as they sit with a 6-1 record entering Week 8, you wouldn’t expect L.A. to be sending off assets.
Rams coach Sean McVay met with reporters Monday – hours after the trade became official – and offered some insight into what went behind the move to trade Young.
McVay told reporters that the trade was "financially driven."
As the Rams find themselves right up against the salary cap, this move distinctly had financial implications in mind.
Last weekend the Rams restructured Rob Havenstein’s contract to save about $3.072 million this season. In sending Young to Denver, it allows the Rams to save roughly $1.3 million in additional cap space, according to Over the Cap.
McVay said trading Young allows the team flexibility ahead of the Nov. 2 NFL trade deadline. While it doesn’t mean the Rams will indeed make another trade, it does however leave the door open if an opportunity presents itself.
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McVay mentioned that it was a tough decision to move on from Young, but stated that linebackers Ernest Jones and Troy Reeder will need to step up.
The Rams invested a third-round pick on Jones in the 2021 NFL Draft and after displaying a productive training camp and preseason, he'll now presumably receive more opportunities to prove his worth in the regular season as a potential starter.
As for Reeder, he's served as a part-time starter in some cases but primarily has consumed a depth role. Last season, he saw a career-high seven starts and recorded 81 tackles, three sacks and two pass breakups. This season he received his first start last week against the Lions, seeing 81% of the Rams' defensive snaps in which he registered eight tackles.
The overall complexity of this trade still remains puzzling. Not because the Rams dealt a key starter of their defense – they're no stranger to making a trade – but because they traded a player of Young's caliber and only got back in return a late-round pick swap in 2024.
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