Not only are the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers rivals on the field, but off the field as well.
Both organizations usually find themselves bidding for the same players via trade and free agency, trying to find a way to one-up the other.
San Francisco landed a true difference-maker when they acquired Christian McCaffrey in a blockbuster deal that might shift the balance of power in the NFC West. 49ers general manager John Lynch discussed the trade and admitted the Rams had some influence on their urgency to get a deal done, via KNBR:
“I’m glad he’s not there,” Lynch said. “And you know, that’s always an interesting question because I always say, ‘Hey guys, it’s about us.’ That’s how I was raised, that’s the way Tony Dungy talked. It’s about us. If you’re so focused on your opponents, you’re not gonna do very well. But I also know the fastest way to success in our league is winning your division, and so in part it seems like a lot of these situations end up where it’s us against them in these things and I’m sure glad he’s here and not there.”
Lynch also acknowledged that he wanted to get the trade done earlier because of L.A.’s reputation for coming out of nowhere to get the star player:
“I was trying to because I know their propensity to come in late and go big, and so I was trying to get it done before but that wasn’t going to happen. Scott Fitterer was tremendous to work with. Their owner was never on the phone with me but very involved and I don’t think he much cared how we valued things. I think he’s a numbers guy who sees things a certain way, so we had to be patient, wait it through, and ultimately weigh it at the end of the day if it was a good decision for us. Ultimately we felt it was.”
Repeating as division champions just got much more difficult for the Rams, but with the trade deadline quickly approaching, expect them to make a move to bolster their own ranks.
The Rams were willing to offer four draft picks and Cam Akers for McCaffrey, so perhaps they will use that package to land another difference-maker.