With the trade deadline coming at 1 p.m. Arizona time on Tuesday, moves can still be made across the NFL. The Cardinals made a big one 10 days ago when they got tight end Zach Ertz, and now, the Rams did their own brand of one-upsmanship Monday by acquiring long-time star pass rusher Von Miller from the Denver Broncos.
The 32-year-old Miller is in the final year of his contract, and the Broncos were looking to see what they could get for him. The Rams gave them a second- and third-round pick, which is better than the fifth-round comp pick they'd have if he just departed as a free agent. (Veterans his age can only fetch as high as a fifth, which is the same compensation the Cards are going to get by losing Miller's 2011 draft classmate, Patrick Peterson.)
To get it, the Broncos reportedly agreed to pay $9 million of the remaining $9.7M in Miller's 2021 salary, meaning the Rams didn't have to clear much cap space at all -- they essentially rented Miller for the remainder of the season in exchange for two second-day draft picks. The Broncos, meanwhile, bought an upgrade from a fifth-round pick to a second and third for $9M.
Meanwhile, the NFC West has shifted again, both in 2021 and beyond. Short-term, the Rams add a pass rusher who has 4½ sacks and has played well overall according to Pro Football Focus grades. The Rams are going all-in for 2021 (which the team emphasized on Twitter) as they sit at 7-1 and tied with the Cardinals at the top of the NFC West.
(The Cardinals hold the tiebreaker after beating the Rams earlier this season; the rematch is on "Monday Night Football" in State Farm Stadium on Dec. 13.)
I don't see the Cardinals making a trade just to match the Rams. But I have no doubt Steve Keim has talked to other GMs over the last week or so. Long-term, the Rams don't care about draft picks and it's hard to see Miller staying beyond this season given all their contracts. But 2022 is 2022. Let's see how 2021 plays out first.