Sony Michel Traded to Rams from Patriots After Darrell Henderson's Injury

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVAugust 25, 2021

New England Patriots running back Sony Michel carries the ball in the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
AP Photo/Elise Amendola

The Los Angeles Rams strengthened their backfield Wednesday with the addition of running back Sony Michel.

Los Angeles Rams @RamsNFL

We've got a new face in LA ‼️<br><br>Welcome to the Rams, <a href="https://twitter.com/Flyguy2stackz?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Flyguy2stackz</a> 👏 <a href="https://t.co/57dm0ySbsW">pic.twitter.com/57dm0ySbsW</a>

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Rams acquired Michel from the New England Patriots in exchange for two late-round conditional draft picks.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported specifics of the compensation:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

Compensation update: It’s a 5th rounder and 6th rounder this year that converts to a 4th rounder when/if the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Rams?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Rams</a> get a 4th round comp pick. Complicated, but essentially Sony Michel for a 4th round pick. Solid value. <a href="https://t.co/eWVzq9bcaT">https://t.co/eWVzq9bcaT</a>

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

The <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Rams?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Rams</a> currently don’t have a fourth rounder. But it’s likely they get one with S John Johnson leaving in free agency. So the late picks serve as a place holder for the real compensation — which is a fourth round comp pick. <a href="https://t.co/ZXG0KUKgPj">https://t.co/ZXG0KUKgPj</a>

The Rams already lost presumptive starting running back Cam Akers for the entire 2021 season due to a torn Achilles, and next man up Darrell Henderson is currently on the shelf with a sprained thumb, although it isn't considered serious.

Michel was the No. 31 overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft out of Georgia, and while he was largely the Pats' No. 1 back in 2018 and 2019, injuries changed his usage in 2020.

Despite missing three games due to injury as a rookie, Michel led New England with 931 yards and six touchdowns on the ground in 2018. He followed that up with 912 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns in 2019.

Michel went from averaging 4.5 yards per carry as a rookie to just 3.7 in his second season, which opened the door for 2019 third-round pick Damien Harris to take on a greater role in 2020.

Harris' emergence was helped by the fact that Michel missed seven games last season with a quad injury and while spending time on COVID-19/reserve list.

With Michel missing time and taking on more of a secondary role when healthy, Harris led the team with 691 rushing yards and averaged 5.0 yards per carry.

Although Michel was supplanted, he averaged 5.7 yards per carry while rushing for 449 yards and one touchdown. He also scored his first career receiving touchdown.

Since Michel and Harris are similar players in that neither contributes much in the passing game, it was clear entering the 2021 offseason that Michel could be on the roster bubble.

That was made even more apparent by 2021 fourth-round pick Rhamondre Stevenson leading all players in rushing thus far in the preseason with 193 yards.

While Michel no longer had a spot in New England, L.A. could be an ideal landing spot.

Head coach Sean McVay's plan may still be to go with Henderson as his starter when healthy, especially after Henderson rushed for 624 yards and five touchdowns, while averaging 4.5 yards per carry last season.

Henderson is also a better pass-catching option out of the backfield than Michel, as he made 16 grabs for 159 yards and a score last season.

Still, there is a significant role to be had for Michel. Jake Funk was previously No. 2 on the depth chart behind Henderson, and the Rams selected him with the No. 233 overall pick in the seventh round of the 2021 NFL draft.

With McVay calling the plays and Matthew Stafford taking over at quarterback, the expectation is that the Rams will have a high-powered offense in 2021.

That could mean plenty of scoring opportunities for Michel since he excels in short-yardage situations.

Michel promises to be a great addition for L.A., although fantasy players with Henderson on their roster may have to deal with Michel vulturing touchdowns on a regular basis.