Sony Michel is on the move just three years after the New England Patriots drafted him in the first round.
The Patriots traded Michel to the Los Angeles Rams on Wednesday in exchange for 2022 conditional fifth- and sixth-round picks. According to reports, New England could receive a 2022 fourth-rounder from the Rams if L.A. nets a compensatory pick for safety John Johnson.
Michel had some very productive stretches in New England and played a key role in the team's 2018 Super Bowl run, but the Patriots entered this season with a wealth of running back depth that made the 26-year-old a prime trade candidate.
The Rams were a natural landing spot for Michel after losing Cam Akers to a season-ending Achilles injury earlier this offseason. In fact, this deal made so much sense that our Phil Perry essentially predicted the trade in his mailbag about a month ago.
"The question for the Patriots is this: Would it be worth it to deal a running back right now for a fifth or sixth-round pick? The more prudent move might be to wait until the end of training camp, see how Stevenson plays, see what the team's injury situation is, and then revisit the possibility of making a move," Perry wrote at the time.
That's essentially what the Patriots did. So, what does this move mean for New England? Perry and Tom E. Curran shared their initial thoughts Wednesday on Twitter.
Patriots salary cap expert Miguel Benzan shared the financial ramifications of the Michel deal, which shouldn't impact New England's cap situation too much.
Michel dealt with several injuries during his Patriots tenure and only played in nine games last season. He was effective when healthy, but sentiment is mixed over whether the Rams made a smart move.
But the Rams are very familiar with Michel, who scored what proved to be the game-winning touchdown against them in Super Bowl LIII.
Michel hasn't returned to that level of success since, and as Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer pointed out, he joins a growing number of Patriots first-round picks who haven't stuck with the team.
Michel should see plenty of opportunity in Los Angeles, though, while young running backs J.J. Taylor and Rhamondre Stevenson will get the chance to step up behind Damien Harris and James White in New England.