5 Realistic Trade Scenarios for St. Louis Rams to Pursue This Offseason
The St. Louis Rams have little cap room to play with, which will limit the team's options in free agency. The Rams must fortify the roster using other methods—such as solid drafting and beneficial trades.
This article will explore the latter.
The Rams have two first-rounders they can move, including the No. 2 overall pick, which means there are endless trade scenarios for fans to ponder.
And while player-for-player trades are rare in today's NFL, don't be surprised if several Rams players become the subject of trade discussions. With limited cap space, the Rams will have to get creative and explore every possibility.
This piece will highlight five intriguing trade scenarios involving draft picks and players.
Every potential trade in this article either fills a need for the Rams, presents a situation beneficial for both sides or allows St. Louis to hoard draft selections.
Trade Down from No. 2 to No. 6 with Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons ranked 27th in total defense in 2013. Management in Atlanta has spoiled the offensive side of the ball with premier talent, neglecting the defense in the process.
The Falcons need a defensive star, and the Rams can make it happen for them.
Les Snead is a former member of the Atlanta front office and has connections there. It's not hard to imagine a scenario where Snead's old team reaches out in attempt to broker a deal for Jadeveon Clowney.
If the Rams drop back to No. 6, there's a great chance they'll still come away with either Sammy Watkins or Greg Robinson, while adding a second-rounder in the process.
Clowney is a rare talent. Adding him to Atlanta's roster would immediately give the Falcons' pass rush credibility.
Trade Down from No. 2 to No. 4 with Cleveland Browns
Even if the Browns are content with landing the third-best quarterback in the class, they still have to take into consideration the possibility of St. Louis trading down and spoiling their plans.
Cleveland has more than enough ammunition to secure a top quarterback from this class. Failing to do so would be a catastrophe.
Brandon Weeden wants out of Cleveland according to ESPN's Vaughn McClure. The Browns are running out of options. When it comes to their quarterback situation, enough is enough—it's time to find a passer fans can rally around, or remain a laughingstock.
The Rams will attempt to capitalize on this desperation by trading down from No. 2 to No. 4 overall.
And I know what you're thinking: The Rams should pull another RGIII-style heist and steal both of Cleveland's first-rounders. But frankly, that's a pipe dream.
The more likely scenario has the Rams trading down to No. 4 and adding Cleveland's second-round pick (No. 35 overall) in the process. It's a fair trade that benefits both parties with little risk involved.
St. Louis will draft a blue-chip player at No. 4—such as Jadeveon Clowney, Watkins or Robinson—and receive an extra second-rounder. Meanwhile, Cleveland gets a franchise passer and someone the fans can get excited about.
It's a win-win scenario.
Trade Down from No. 13 to No. 26 with Cleveland Browns
It wouldn't be shocking if one of the top three quarterbacks of the class—Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles or Teddy Bridgewater—slipped out of the top 10 entirely and fell into St. Louis' lap at No. 13 overall.
At this point, it's assumed that all three quarterbacks will go in the top 10. As a result, this potential trade seems unlikely, but that could all change following the combine. Someone's stock could take a beating.
If that happens, and if Cleveland misses out on a quarterback with its first pick, don't be surprised if the Browns come knocking when the Rams are on the clock with the 13th pick.
The Rams would pick up Cleveland's No. 26 overall pick, as well as its second-round pick (No. 35 overall).
According to the unofficial draft value chart, per NBC Sports, St. Louis' compensation would exceed the value of its No. 13 pick by 100 points, but the Browns would be desperate for a quarterback in this scenario and willing to overpay.
If this plays out, the Rams would grab a blue-chip player at No. 2 overall, a solid starter at No. 26 (such as Louisville safety Calvin Pryor) as well as two more potential starters in the second round.
Adding four high-caliber players in the first two rounds is exactly what the Rams need to keep pace in the ultra-competitive NFC West.
Receive WR Nate Washington in Draft-Day Bundle from Tennessee Titans
Jake Locker has been highly inconsistent since entering the league. Now that the Titans have a new regime in place, it's time for Tennessee to explore other options at quarterback.
According to the draft value chart, if the Titans want to jump from No. 11 to No. 2 in an effort to secure a top passer, it's going to cost them more than a second-round pick. They'll have to throw in an additional pick in 2015, as well as a player of value.
Washington had 919 receiving yards in 2013—more than any Rams receiver—despite dealing with substandard quarterback play, and his career average of 15.2 yards per catch is exactly what St. Louis needs offensively.
Losing out on Watkins and landing the 30-year-old Washington instead would infuriate Rams fans, but if Tennessee throws in several additional draft picks as compensation, it's well worth it.
Trade for Miami Dolphins Tackle Jonathan Martin
Jake Long is recovering from a serious knee injury, according to ESPN, and the Rams need to make sure there's a reliable left tackle protecting Bradford's blindside come Week 1.
The Rams might consider drafting either Robinson or Jake Matthews just to be safe. But what if Long is healthy? How do the Rams explain to fans that they squandered a No. 2 overall pick on a needless insurance policy?
Perhaps the better option is to pursue a cheap veteran tackle.
It's not totally ideal. Martin is possibly having issues adapting to the NFL culture (not that he's to blame for the unacceptable behavior of others), and his presence will likely draw unwanted media attention.
But as a player, he makes sense for St. Louis. He'll cost, at most, a mid-round pick. For that price, the Rams will not feel any pressure to start him if his services are not immediately needed. The same cannot be said for Robinson and Matthews.
If Long is totally healthy in time for Week 1, that's fine too. Martin will stay on the roster as a competent backup and as a developmental project.
Martin struggled in 2013 and is not on the same level as Robinson or Matthews as a talent, but he's a nice option to consider.
As an added bonus, this move would infuriate Richie Incognito.
Rams fans have had issues with Incognito in the past, so any move that angers Richie is a good move for St. Louis fans.
Steven Gerwel is the longest-tenured Rams Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report and serves as the Rams' game-day correspondent. You can find more of Gerwel's work by visiting his writer profile or by following him on Twitter.