Sony Michel Says He Had No Idea Patriots Were Planning to Trade Him to Rams

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVAugust 26, 2021

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - JULY 30: Sony Michel #26 of the New England Patriots arrives at the field for Training Camp at Gillette Stadium on July 30, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images)
Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images

The New England Patriots traded veteran running back Sony Michel to the Los Angeles Rams on Wednesday in exchange for a fifth- and sixth-round pick in the 2022 draft.

On Thursday, Michel told reporters the deal caught him by surprise:

Greg Beacham @gregbeacham

Sony Michel says he had absolutely no idea he might be traded this month, despite his contract situation, the Pats’ glut at RB, and just about everybody around the NFL speculating he was likely to be traded.

Jourdan Rodrigue @JourdanRodrigue

The best way Sony Michel can describe his last two days? “In football terminology - ‘sudden-change’.” Says goal is to be ready for opening week.

The trade made sense for both teams. The Patriots have a crowded running back room led by James White, Damien Harris, J.J. Taylor, Rhamondre Stevenson and Brandon Bolden.

The Rams, meanwhile, will be without Cam Akers for the entirety of the season because of an Achilles injury. Michel gave them depth behind Darrell Henderson Jr., who figures to have a major role: 

Andrew Siciliano @AndrewSiciliano

“The goal is to get him ready to go and have him a big-time contributor on the 12th (Week 1)."

Greg Beacham @gregbeacham

“The anticipation is he’s coming in here to participate and be a big factor. How big of a factor remains to be determined.” -Sean McVay on RB Sony Michel<br><br>McVay hopes Michel will “be a big-time contributor” in the Rams’ season opener

Michel, 26, started his NFL career well, rushing for over 900 yards in each of his first two seasons and tallying 13 touchdowns in that time.

But a quadriceps injury limited him to just nine games (six starts) in his third season last year, and he rushed for just 449 yards and a score. With Harris and White atop the depth chart, Michel became expendable.

But his downhill running style should complement Henderson's ability to get outside the tackles. And it should allow the Rams to keep both players fresh through a 17-game regular season.

"What he does bring is this element of make a cut, get north and south and get north and south with some force," general manager Les Snead told reporters of Michel. "The physics that he brings to the table—let's call it a flavor or genre that we felt like complemented our group."

In their first post-Todd Gurley year in 2020, the Rams utilized a committee approach with their backfield. Expect that to continue.