Between drafting Damien Harris in 2019 and seeing him develop into the lead back last season, declining his 5th-year option, and drafting Rhamondre Stevenson this year, it felt like Sony Michel's time in New England was coming to an end.
Today, that feeling became official news when Sony Michel was shipped off to Los Angeles Rams for two conditional draft picks.
From a football standpoint, this move makes all the sense in the world; the Pats backfield is low-key loaded and with Sony set to enter free agency after the season, the odds of retaining him seemed bleak at best. Now there's one less mouth to feed between Damien Harris, James White, JJ Taylor (my fucking BOY), and rookie Rhamondre Stevenson. Brandon Bolden will likely be just a special teams guy, but he's in the mix as well.
For the Rams, they lost Cam Akers and needed another back. They got one that helped them lose a Super Bowl for a pretty reasonable price.
HUGE s/o to Field Yates for calling this trade a month ago.
As for Sony Michel, his legacy in New England is open for interpretation. In an era where taking running backs in the first round has gone out of style, it was somewhat shocking to see the Pats take a running back with knee issues #31 overall, one spot before eventual 2019 league MVP Lamar Jackson.
Sony is a solid back, racking up over 900 yards his first two seasons, but his play and regression were frustrating AF as a fan. Plus, it's clear as day his Georgia teammate, Nick Chubb, is the superior pro. If there was a 2018 redraft, it's safe to say Sony isn't a 1st rounder.
But at the end of the day, Sony Michel was a workhorse back for the 2018 Patriots Super Bowl run. Flags fly forever. It's hard to say they win it all without him. Part of me thinks about the Timmy Smith argument where it's more because of the offensive line, but it's hard to argue with his playoff production.
I liked Sony (at times), I took a flyer on him in the 10th round in fantasy his rookie year, and it was encouraging to see him catch some passes this preseason, but this is an excellent move for the Patriots. It opens up the backfield for other backs with higher ceilings and better knees.
Speaking of Sony's knees, I don't think you have to worry about this turning into a Curtis Martin situation where you're looking back in 10 years and realizing you gave away a Hall of Famer (I know the Pats didn't trade him, but the point remains). I wish Sony the best of luck and definitely wish the Pats took Nick Chubb instead, but they won a Super Bowl with Sony at the end of the day, so it's hard to complain here. The pick might've not worked out long-term, but it worked. It's not like he was Darko Milicic on the 04 Pistons.
I just can't wait to see what the Pats do with the four backs that are expected to make an impact this season. I was low-key worried about there not being a roster spot for JJ, and now that shouldn't be an issue (although you can never assume anything with Bill).