Why the Rams Traded Kenny Young

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When the news first broke that the Rams were the first team to trade any of their 2024 draft picks, thoughts immediately jump into fans’ minds about “big fish hunting.” After all, the team has never been afraid of acquiring players mid-season. Just ask Jalen Ramsey and especially Kenny Young. Both were brought to Los Angeles in a major in-season shakeup by Rams GM Les Snead. This time, however, Los Angeles is trading away a veteran player instead of adding any…for now.

Why Trade Him Now?

He Was Not Necessarily in the Future Plans

In 2021, Young has been playing at a level that has him graded as an average defender against both the pass and against the run. He has graded out better than Troy Reeder, and he has also made more “splash” plays. It has become apparent, however, that neither player is the long-term answer at the position. LA drafted Ernest Jones this year because he is the heir apparent at the position and the team is ready for the future to begin now. The writing has been on the wall for three weeks, as Reeder has slowly been taking snaps away from Young.

In week five, Reeder had 15 percent more snaps than Young, in week seven, he had 17 percent more snaps, and in the week six blowout, it was Reeder and not Young who was rested down the stretch with most of the starters. The Rams play one linebacker roughly 80 percent of the snaps and one linebacker roughly 50 percent. With Reeder taking the 80 percent snap role recently it opens up the 50 percent snap role to Jones.

Steady Goes the Ship

For those of you wondering why the Rams traded away Young and not Reeder, as Young technically is the higher graded player. Reeder, though, is much less of a “high-variance” player, meaning you might not get the “splash” plays that we talked about earlier with Young, but you also get a lot less of the negative plays (missed tackles, play-action biting, etc). So, if one player had to go in order to open up the playing time for Jones, Young is probably the guy they want to replace. In the past, where the Rams defense depended more on making the big play, Young may have been more valuable, but, since the new defensive philosophy is now about taking away the big play, Reeder becomes more valuable.

Cap Space

Last, but not least, is the money situation. Even if it were a lockdown tie between Young and Reeder as to who was going to be dealt, the fact that LA was able to save almost $1.5 million by trading Young–and Reeder would have saved half of that–really makes all the difference. The team has had injuries to every single running back that has touched the ball from the pre-season until now and is also losing corners every week. If the Rams were to add a veteran via free agency or trade in the next month, one would assume it would be at one of those two positions.

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