The Los Angeles Rams made the biggest splash ahead of Tuesday's trade deadline, landing future Hall of Fame pass rusher Von Miller in a Monday trade with the Denver Broncos.
Rams general manager Les Snead said the club shipping a second- and third-round pick for Miller, whose contract expires after the season, continues L.A.'s team-building strategy to stress opposing offenses and defenses.
"We're actually looking at this from a standpoint of how soon can he help us, can he help us if we're fortunate enough to continue going and make the 2021 tournament, how can he help us there," Snead said, via Lindsey Thiry of ESPN. "And then there's a long-term vision for Von as well."
Snead added the Rams would also consider discussing a new contract with Miller.
"Definitely," Snead said. "Definitely willing, and we discussed that with his representation. ... A lot of NFL football players and I'm sure other players from other sports they really would like to be a part of a team in this city, right? There's a lot of stars that have lined -- like city, new stadium, a really good coach with players -- that's an environment, that's a culture where football is important but you're gonna enjoy life and oh, by the way, the results have been good."
How a new deal might work remains to be seen for a Rams team that already has the big contracts of Matthew Stafford, Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, and others on the books for next season. But if sides are willing to get creative, there are always ways to make it work.
The Broncos are eating the bulk of Miller's salary as part of the trade, which allowed L.A. to make the move without going over the cap.
Snead noted that adding Miller at a high-leverage position was key to taking the Rams defense from good to great in 2021.
"Outside linebacker, very important in our defense especially someone who is or has a pedigree of affecting the passer like he has," Snead said of Miller. "We did feel like that adding Von to that front seven mix would be a player that would stress the protection, stress the opponent, the one-on-one matchup."
According to Next Gen Stats, Miller has the highest QB pressure rate of any defensive player in the NGS era (min. 1,500 pass rushes, since 2016). Miller might not be racking up the counting stats this season (4.5 sacks with Denver in seven games played), but he continues to affect the quarterback. His 28 total pressures sits 15th among all pass rushers, per Pro Football Focus.
The Rams have a 27.1 percent QB pressure rate in 2021, 16th in NFL -- first season in NGS era with a sub-30 QB pressure rate. L.A. is 10th in points per game allowed (21.0), 21st in total yards per game allowed (367.5), 21st in pass YPG allowed (264.1), but 2nd in sacks/game (3.1). (When they get pressure, they get home, but the waves aren't coming consistent enough.)
As to the focus of the trade being on how few picks the Rams now have (own 3rd compensatory pick, 5th rounder and two 7ths), Snead said the club has factored in additional comp picks into the equation.
"We like to think we use our picks innovatively, maybe creatively," Snead said. "We're projected to get four more picks, four more compensatory picks based on the players that signed elsewhere last year, so we should have around eight total picks and we knew that."
Monday's trade was the latest reminder that the Rams team-building process is different from most of the NFL. The question is whether that strategy to stockpile stars at the expense of future capital can lead to a Lombardi Trophy.