Despite carrying a 6-1 record heading into the halfway point of the 2021 NFL season, the Los Angeles Rams made a questionable move by trading away linebacker Kenny Young to the Denver Broncos.
Young was a key starter for this Rams defense, registering 46 total tackles, six tackles for loss, two sacks, a forced fumble and a pass defensed through seven games. The fact that they got so little in return in the form of a future sixth-round pick made the move all the more surprising.
Head coach Sean McVay has since acknowledged the trade as both a financial decision and show of faith to the rest of the linebackers on his roster. Regardless, it appears even Young was caught off guard by the move.
The 25-year-old is certainly no stranger to in-season trades given his arrival to L.A. as part of the deal that sent cornerback Marcus Peters to the Baltimore Ravens during the 2019 campaign. The experience taught Young that it is always wise to expect the unexpected, via Troy Renck of Denver7:
“I’ve been traded before so, you know,” Young said. “If the deadline’s not over, you never know what to expect. It’s the business of football.”
While he acknowledged the business aspect of the trade, Young admits that the situation was rather perplexing since he had played such an integral role up to this point:
“At the time, was on a run and I had played a very good game and it was confusing for me for a second. I think it just had to do with cap space with the finances and there’s really nothing they could’ve done about it or I could’ve done about it, but weird situation.”
The biggest upside to the trade was that the Rams were able to clear up $2.18 million in cap space. Of course, it remains to be seen whether or not the team plans on using the extra cash to pull off another move at the deadline.
The only linebackers left on the inside at the moment are Troy Reeder, Travin Howard and Ernest Jones. The move may indicate a vote of confidence in Jones, but it is still a lot to put on a rookie that is getting accustomed to the next level.
Meanwhile, Young finds himself in a situation to provide an immediate impact for the Broncos after linebackers Von Miller, Micah Kiser and Curtis Robinson all went down in Week 7.