Find someone who is going to pick a team other than the Rams to win the NFC West. Go on, I'll wait. (Still waiting...) It's just not going to happen, because the Rams simply look head and shoulders above everyone else in that division. But the Rams aren't just set up to win now, according to Gregg Rosenthal of NFL Media.
Rosenthal, joining the Pick Six Podcast (our daily NFL pod that drops in your app/inbox by 6 a.m. every single weekday morning, subscribe: via iTunes | via Stitcher | via TuneIn | via Google Play), said he believes the Rams approached the offseason in a smart fashion because they utilized a different vehicle -- trades! -- to acquire players they might not otherwise be able to get.
"Weirdly, trades are sort of this undervalued third way to acquire players other than the draft and free agency. No team has traded more this decade than the Patriots and the Eagles, the two teams who have traded by far the most. That was true when the Eagles go to the Super Bowl with guys they traded for, the season before that the Patriots went to the Super Bowl with four guys they traded for," Rosenthal said. "You can't get Marcus Peters in free agency for the price that he is, so he's worth giving up a draft pick. Just the fact that they got out of the gate so fast in February was really smart. The Sammy Watkins trade -- it was a total bust -- it's not going to always work out.
"But I think you've got to take the swings and I think the players are going to be easier and better to find in a salary-cap league than in free agency."
If you're trying to figure out what might derail the Rams, you could always point to the 2011 Philadelphia Eagles, the DREAM TEAM that theoretically loaded up on talented players but couldn't convert it into wins on the field. Except, as Rosenthal points out, it might not be the world's best comparison.
Most importantly, the Rams think they can lock down the guys they brought in on long-term deals.
"First of all the 'Dream Team' -- Vince Young said it -- they had just added Nnamdi Asomugha and a couple other decent guys. These players are better and I also don't think they're not set up long term," Rosenthal said. "Les Snead, the general manager, believes these guys, other than [Ndamukong] Suh, are going to be part of the team long term. They also looked at where they were and realized they needed to change. They were losing guys, they were losing Trumaine Johnson, they traded Alec Ogletree. They were going to be good, but they weren't going to be great again without making a lot of changes. And I think it was smart to not just sit pat on what was a good season, but they weren't going to win the roster.
"Maybe they're overconfident but they think they can get all these guys signed long term so it's not just a win-now team."