Los Angeles Rams general manager Les Snead has been one of the most active football operations leaders during his tenure, and became known for his willingness to trade future draft capital in order to land more expensive, win-now players.
The belief was that a Super Bowl win would justify all the potential lean years that would follow. And after winning the Super Bowl in 2022, those lean years are beginning. The Rams had to cut costs by trading or releasing several top players, including Jalen Ramsey, Leonard Floyd, Bobby Wagner and several others.
They now enter what they hope will be a one-season rebuild, but it could potentially be more. Either way, they remain Super Bowl champions and still have some of the core players that contributed to that, like Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp and Aaron Donald.
Snead discussed whether or not he felt that — looking back on it — trading all those assets and spending money for the Super Bowl win was worthwhile. He had a succinct answer, via the EconTalk Podcast:
“Whether we would’ve won the Super Bowl or lost that night, let’s say we would’ve lost in the conference championship game … it wouldn’t have been a failure, but maybe in what we were trying to accomplish, yes. But, all teams have to then go through these moments where the collective definitely changes for many reasons. We did know that there would be some, let’s call it, changes that we would have to execute whether we won or lost. But, end of the day, the answer is yes. And, one of the reasons is because we had gotten there before and lost it. That one haunts you.”
Snead, essentially, says that all the moves would have been worthwhile even if they hadn’t won a Super Bowl, because all teams hope to have a chance at winning it all. And the team’s 2019 Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots motivated them to make those moves.
This feels like a generally obvious train of thought. However, some teams would rather try to build a Super Bowl contender more organically, while being willing to settle for a perennial postseason contender if they can’t. Snead chose a different path.
And even with some lean years ahead, Snead would still choose that path.
Stafford not worried about expectations
While the organization may be trying to cut costs and build for the future, the players still in the building have the belief that they can win now. That’s why Stafford isn’t listening to outside noise regarding the Rams.
“I don’t pay too much attention to it,” Stafford said recently. “I know what we’re trying to do is build a really good football team here and that takes work. Whether people think it’s going to happen or not doesn’t matter to us. Just because people said we should win the Super Bowl two years ago didn’t mean we won it. We put the work in and executed. So that’s the mindset that we’re taking and happy to be where we’re at.”