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Los Angeles Rams could use Aaron Donald and other stars as trade chips at Oct. 31 deadline

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Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

One top NFL insider believes this could be the last season for the Los Angeles Rams’ remaining legacy players in LA.

This is going to be a very interesting season for the Los Angeles Rams. While the team still has elite head coach Sean McVay running the show, and star talents like Aaron Donald, Matthew Stafford, and Cooper Kupp still on the roster, there aren’t many established NFL talents beyond that.

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The proverbial “chickens came home to roost” when it comes to the team’s finances this year and the organization is using a bold strategy. Instead of slowly dealing with their salary cap woes over the next few years while still trying to contend for a playoff spot, they moved a lot of salaries off the books in the offseason.

They traded superstar cornerback Jalen Ramsey and shipped off wide receiver Allen Robinson. They also didn’t make any notable additions in free agency and chose to deal with their dead cap this season instead of over upcoming seasons. That tactic and different long-term strategy was the focus of 2023 NFL season predictions for the Rams from ESPN NFL insider Dan Graziano on Thursday.

Los Angeles Rams record (2022): 5-12

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Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

And it seems he believes that due to this shift and approach to the Los Angeles Rams short and long-term plans, there is a good chance the organization’s top stars won’t be wearing Gold-and-Blue after this season.

“Los Angeles might have the youngest team in the league. … The Rams’ remaining veteran stars — Donald, Stafford, and receiver Cooper Kupp — don’t seem to fit with the current plan, and if the team is scuffling, it’s not hard to imagine (A) one or more of them wanting out and (B) the team deciding it’s best to move on and unload even more salary.

“I don’t know Donald’s mind, and I don’t know whether he’d want to play the final two months of this season for a contender if Los Angeles isn’t one. He might want to be able to say he played his whole career with the Rams, in which case, you can disregard this entire premise. But if he does want out in October, Donald could be the most exciting NFL trade deadline pickup of all time.”

– Dan Graziano

Aaron Donald hitting the trade market at the end of October or in the offseason would be fascinating. There is no doubt he is a paradigm shift-level talent, but he also brings with him a massive salary, so it would be interesting to see which teams get involved in a potential trade pursuit and what they are willing to give up for such a great but expensive player.

Cupp would also be a huge addition to the next trade market. On the other hand, a Stafford trade may be more likely in the offseason than at the deadline, however, the NFL trade deadline has gotten far more interesting in recent years.

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