ORLANDO, Fla. — One day after adding star defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, Rams coach Sean McVay fully embraced his team’s role in the current speculation about an even bigger star who could be coming to Los Angeles.
“Suh or the speculation about Odell?” McVay asked at the start of his one-hour breakfast session with reporters at the NFL’s annual meetings Tuesday. “Which one is it?”
The answer was the latter, as the Rams have a need at receiver and New York Giants decision-makers have been dropping hints about potentially trading star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. McVay was careful to tiptoe around the league’s tampering rules, but he acknowledged the speculation about Beckham and indicated his team would continue to be active on all fronts.
“We can’t talk about anybody that’s under contract with any other team, but I think, if there’s one thing you can appreciate about what we’ve done this offseason, there’s no trade we wouldn’t explore or look into if we feel like it can upgrade us as a team,” said McVay, whose Rams are having one of the busiest offseasons in the NFL. “Hypothetically, I think a player of his caliber can kind of really do everything, but like I said, we really don’t get into discussing players that are with other teams, just out of respect for tampering and the things that come with that.”
Giants owner John Mara and coach Pat Shurmur have both made comments this week that seem to have left open the door for a Beckham trade. Beckham is scheduled to make about $8.5 million this year, the fifth-year option season of his rookie contract, and there’s been an expectation around the team and the league that he wouldn’t show up for offseason work without a new deal.
As co-owner Steve Tisch said Monday, that’s all hypothetical at this point, but there’s been enough controversy around Beckham that the Giants likely would listen to offers if aggressive teams such as the Rams were to make them. At this point, two Giants sources said Monday, there are no active discussions that they believe would lead to a Beckham deal.
McVay said the Rams’ current management group has done “a great job of exploring all avenues to upgrade our football team. And whatever that is, if it’s free agency, if it’s through the draft or whether it’s just re-signing our own, those are things we’re going to explore and do. Being able to play in such a unique environment and atmosphere like L.A., it provides a unique opportunity to take advantage of that, and that’s something that we want to be proactive about.”
The Rams have overhauled their defense this offseason, trading away linebacker Alec Ogletree and defensive end Robert Quinn, and acquiring Suh in free agency and cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib in trades. Those three newcomers are known as big personalities, but McVay said he didn’t anticipate any problems because defensive coordinator Wade Phillips “has more swag than all of them, so we should be in good shape.”
McVay did say Suh and incumbent Rams superstar defensive tackle Aaron Donald had been in touch with each other during the team’s recruitment of Suh. Donald’s contract situation, like Beckham’s, remains unsettled, as he’s also going into his fifth year on a $6.9 million option that’s well below his market value. The Rams and Donald discussed an extension last offseason but couldn’t agree on one, and Donald held out in protest until Sept. 9, missing the first game of the season. But adding Suh, McVay said, isn’t going to ruffle Donald’s feathers.
“Ndamukong and Aaron have both talked to each other as this has gone on,” McVay said. “It’s very important when you talk about a player like an Aaron Donald, ‘Hey, here comes Ndamukong. How do you feel about a player like that?’ I think the mutual respect that exists between those two players was imperative and really paramount to be able to pursue this in the first place. They felt good about it.”