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The NFL trade deadline is still over a week away, but the biggest deal of the year might have already gone down. The San Francisco 49ers traded the Carolina Panthers four draft picks for superstar running back Christian McCaffrey this week, keeping him away from their NFC West rival Los Angeles Rams. On the CBS NFL Today pregame show ahead of Week 7, NFL insider Jonathan Jones revealed that one pick pushed the 49ers’ deal over the Rams’. He also declared that the Rams weren’t done, though, and all but guaranteed they’d make their own trade before the November 1 NFL trade deadline.

The 49ers narrowly beat out the Rams for Christian McCaffrey

Once the Panthers fired head coach Matt Rhule, the 2022 Carolina fire sale was on, and the big prize from the Panthers roster was superstar RB Christian McCaffrey.

Sure, he makes a lot of money ($12M a year). And he gets injured a lot (23 games in the last two years). But when McCaffrey’s good, he’s among the best (5,443 yards from scrimmage his first three seasons).

There were several teams rumored to be in on a Christian McCaffrey trade. This included the Buffalo Bills, Philadelphia Eagles, and Denver Broncos, among others. However, the deal came down to a two-team NFC West race between the 49ers and Rams.

On the Week 7 NFL Today pregame show on CBS, NFL insider Jonathan Jones reported that the Panthers had the two sides “duking it out” for McCaffrey. It wasn’t until the 49ers agreed to throw in a 2023 fourth-round pick (in addition to a 2023 second and third and a 2024 fifth) that the team “got CMC.”

Despite missing out on McCaffrey, Jones also said the Rams are still trying to make deals.

LA will be a player at the 2022 NFL trade deadline

Los Angles Rams head coach Sean McVay ahead of the 2022 NFL trade deadline.
Sean McVay | Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The LA Rams won the Super Bowl last season largely on the back of trades. The team traded for former Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford in the prior offseason (beating out the 49ers) and gave up multiple picks for Denver Broncos pass-rusher Von Miller during the season.

General manager Les Snead and head coach Sean McVay even have a trade-related saying around the Rams facility, “F*** them [draft] picks.”

That mentality is likely one of the factors that led Jonathan Jones to proclaim the Rams will be a team that makes a trade before the 2022 NFL trade deadline.

“A team to be on the lookout for — by the trade deadline, November 1 — the Rams, I believe, will make a trade,” Jones declared.

At 3-3 and on a bye in Week 7, the Rams are still squarely in contention in the NFC West and for an NFC Wild Card spot. While the team sat home, the 49ers lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in Christian McCaffrey’s debut, but the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks both picked up Ws to move to 3-4 and 4-3, respectively.

The Rams could use more talent across the board, but who would their top trade targets be?

Rams trade targets


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The Rams could use talent upgrades across the board in 2022. The offensive line has given up 22 sacks on Matthew Stafford already this season. An upgrade at RB is (obviously) something the team is interested in. Plus, the WR corps is not what it was last year, and the pass rush could use an upgrade as well after losing Von Miller.

The problem is the Rams have limited draft capital after all their previous trades. In 2023, the team has its second- and third-round picks as well as four sixth-rounders and two seventh-rounders.

There are reports that LA is in on the Panthers’ elite pass-rusher Brian Burns, but Carolina already reportedly turned down two first-round picks, so Sean McVay’s team doesn’t have the ammo.

Some of the other rumored targets for the Rams at the 2022 NFL trade deadline are former Rams like DE Robert Quinn and RB Sony Michel, as well as OL Isaiah Wynn and WR Chase Claypool.

Whether those are the top targets or not, we’ll know a lot more about the Rams’ plans in just over a week when the NFL trade deadline gets here.

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