Sony Michel Trade: Why Terms Changed In Patriots-Rams Swap For RB

The Patriots now will receive fourth- and sixth-round picks for Michel


The New England Patriots will receive a slightly different return for running back Sony Michel than originally reported.

Initial reports indicated the Los Angeles Rams would send fifth- and sixth-round draft picks to the Patriots in exchange for Michel, with those two picks becoming one compensatory fourth-rounder if the Rams were awarded such a selection in 2022.

That convoluted trade structure, however, violated NFL rules, according to a report from The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue, prompting the teams to rework the deal.

Ultimately, the Patriots received a 2022 sixth-round pick and a fourth-round pick in 2023 in return for Michel.

The Patriots drafted Michel in the first round (30th overall) in 2018. He played three seasons for New England, amassing 2,292 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns over 38 regular-season games (plus another six scores in four playoff games).

“It’s tough to see him go, for sure,” veteran running back James White said after Wednesday’s joint practice with the New York Giants. “He’s a hard worker, tough guy. Definitely puts the team first. Definitely going to miss him, but best of luck to him.”

The Patriots’ depth at running back made Michel, whose fifth-year option was declined this past spring, expendable. He’ll provide greater value to the Rams, who lost leading rusher Cam Akers to a season-ending Achilles injury before training camp.

Rams general manager Les Snead said Michel’s experience made him an appealing trade target.

“Early in the down, we identified Sony for many reasons,” Snead told reporters Wednesday, via “Number one being his experience — meaning a player who’s carried the ball in those big games, big moments, big drives, big series. The experience of where he played and how he was coached. He was one of those players that if we were going to go the route of experience, he was someone that we were definitely eyeing from the start.”

The Patriots’ running back room now consists of White, Damien Harris, Brandon Bolden, J.J. Taylor and rookie Rhamondre Stevenson.

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