Los Angeles Rams: Trading for Darius Slay shouldn’t and won’t happen

LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 24: Darius Slay #23 of the Detroit Lions in action in the first half against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on November 24, 2019 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 24: Darius Slay #23 of the Detroit Lions in action in the first half against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on November 24, 2019 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Rams are potentially in the trade market for cornerback Darius Slay but in all reality, the team should not and won’t execute a trade for Slay.

The Los Angeles Rams have been one of the most aggressive teams in the league in trading for and signing talent over the last several years and that track record could continue this offseason with a trade for cornerback Darius Slay.

The 29-year-old cornerback is effectively on the trade market as he enters the last season under his current contract, which is set to cost the Detroit Lions $13.3 million against the salary cap. With that monetary value and the Lions being one of the worst teams in the league last season, the franchise would likely benefit much more from trading Slay.

Most reports pin the Denver Broncos as the team that is in the lead for Slay, but the Los Angeles Rams have been pegged in as well.

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Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network reported that the Rams are co-leaders alongside the Broncos for Slay this offseason (h/t Turf Show Times). This has naturally generated excitement for the fans, as who wouldn’t want to add a three-time Pro Bowler and one-time All-Pro alongside Jalen Ramsey in the secondary?

Sorry to rain on anyone’s parade, but the Los Angeles Rams absolutely should not and flat out won’t execute a trade for Darius Slay. It does not make sense logistically with the current status of the team and if the Rams do trade for Slay it would be a clear case of the team simply adding a big name to make the fans happy as they move into a new stadium.

The team simply has no capital to spend for Slay and does not even have the money available to pay the cornerback. The Rams already traded two first-round picks for a year and a half of Jalen Ramsey, unless he signs an extension, and cannot afford to trade more draft picks for one season of Slay.

Slay won’t warrant a first-round pick in return but it is really hard to see the Lions parting ways with Slay for anything less than a second-round pick, especially with a competitive market for the cornerback.

You could make the case that the Lions would accept a third-round pick alongside an established NFL talent, but the Rams do not have anything to offer in that regard, either.

The dream situation for the Los Angeles Rams would be to package a third-round pick and Brandin Cooks for Slay, which seemingly would make sense for both parties. However, with Cooks’ down season and massive salary, it would make no sense for a rebuilding team to turn one year of a salary burden into several years of a salary burden.

Thus, we can conclude that the Rams would have to either trade a second-round pick or put together a larger package of picks, which just does not make sense with what the team needs heading into 2020.

The team’s biggest pressing needs are in the offensive line and the team’s second-round pick is extremely valuable as they can land someone who is worth a starting job in the second round. Past that, the team is grasping at straws.

There is also the double negative of not having any money to sign any free agent offensive lineman if the team trades for Slay. According to Spotrac, the Los Angeles Rams have $23.2 million in cap space heading into the offseason. Adding Slay would significantly restrict the team financially.

The team literally traded Marcus Peters, who had the best season of his career in 2019, for a younger cornerback and salary cap space because the team knew it was not going to re-sign him this offseason.

So why do we think that the Rams would be willing to take on a bigger salary number in Slay when the team not only knows it won’t be able to re-sign him after one year, especially with Jalen Ramsey’s contract expiring while also knowing that there are pressing needs that need much more attention?

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It just does not make sense. So while the idea of the Los Angeles Rams trading for Darius Slay is fun, it will never leave the drawing board. If it does, the Rams will immensely regret it.