Cam Akers out: LA Rams Pick Up RB Sony Michel to Strengthen Run Game

Under pressure to find a replacement for RB Cam Akers after tearing his right Achilles tendon training in the off-season, the LA Rams desperately needed to find a good fit. 

To make matters worseMalcolm Brown is moving to Miami and Raymond Calais suffered a broken foot against the Las Vegas Raiders in the pre-season. With the news of backup running back Darell Henderson leaving practice with a sprained thumb, QB Matt Stafford had little help in the backfield beyond rookies Xavier Jones and Jake Funk.

On the wire with the first game of the season Sunday night, the LA Rams looked elsewhere and picked up RB Sony Michel from the New England Patriots for conditional 2022 6th round and 2023 4th round draft picks.

Acquiring Sony Michel’s fifth-year $1.79 million rookie contract option for 2022-23 will help fill their gap in the backfield, sharing the workload with Darell Henderson while developing the rookies. The downhill run-style of Michel paired with Henderson bouncing off tackles could prove difficult to defend moreover, keep both players fresh for the entire season. The real question is will they compare to Akers dominance?

Sony Michel told reporters during a presser, “[the] last two days kind of just been, the best way I can put it is football terminology, sudden change.”


Sony Michel in 3 years with the Patriots

In 2018, the Patriots drafted the powerhouse Georgia Bulldogs running back in the 1st round, 31st overall. In three seasons with the Pats, Michel ran for 2292 yards and 14 touchdowns in 28 starts. He was averaging 5.7 yards per carry in 2020 before suffering a quadricep injury (6 weeks) and losing another week to league covid protocol. The only player to score a touchdown in Super Bowl LIII coincidentally against the Rams, Michel rushed for 94 yards in the 13-3 championship win for the Patriots – ending his rookie season with a bang in February 2019. 

For Rams general manager Les Snead, the decision to acquire Sony Michel was based on his experience and high football IQ. Telling reporters after the trade was confirmed, Snead said, “meaning a player who’s carried the ball in big games, in big moments, big drives, big series… where he played, how he was coached. If we were going to go the route of experience, he was someone that we were definitely eyeing from the start.” With the Rams backfield plagued by injuries, GM Les Snead’s timely decision scooping Michel was solidified by his North-South rushing ability, “the physics that he brings to the table – let's call it a flavor or genre that we felt like complemented our group,” said Snead.

Picking up a proven talent at running back to fill the gap Akers left makes sense for Rams head coach Sean McVay, especially considering the familiarity between RB coach Thomas Brown and Michel – who he coached as a Georgia Bulldog. Head coach McVay referenced conscientious similarities between Sony Michel and what C.J. Anderson brought to his ground game a few years ago. “He offers a physical presence to our room. And really we feel good about the running back situation, but some of the volatility of what Darrell [Henderson] is going through and even just throughout [training] camp, we wanted to make sure we got somebody that's played in big-time games,” said coach McVay.


Sony Michel has proved himself on and off the field, his numbers speak for themselves but can he uplift the culture of the entire backfield? We’ll have to wait and see what happens when the Rams host the Bears in Inglewood Sunday night.

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