Will the Los Angeles Rams be able to “run it back” with the running back who helped save their backfield following a devastating Achilles tear before training camp?
Michel was the first of three splash additions on the eve of the season that helped parlay into the Vince Lombardi Trophy run for the Rams — being lured in via trade before the franchise added Von Miller and acquired Odell Beckham. All three valuable contributors are now set to hit the free agent market.
Miller and OBJ have been vocal about wanting to return to L.A. But the quiet and reserved Michel hasn’t stated any case of where his 2022 home lies.
Michel was highly productive when called upon: Averaging 4.1 yards per carry for a pass happy attack. His 845 yards was also an improvement over the 449 he delivered in his final campaign with the New England Patriots.
But if the “Rams House” isn’t his 2022 address, one NFL analyst on Monday, February 21 has made this prediction — Michel will rejoin a former coach of his.
But no, it’s not Bill Belichick. It’s someone who worked under Belichick…and has ties to Michel.
‘Ideal’ Spot Has Michel Reuniting With Ex-Offensive Coordinator
Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox put together his listings of ideal landing spots for some 2022 free agent running backs, and included Michel to the list.
And the “ideal” landing spot Knox has Michel for next season? The Las Vegas Raiders.
The move would not only pair Michel with Pro Bowlers Josh Jacobs, Darren Waller and Derek Carr, but it puts Michel back together with new head coach Josh McDaniels — his former offensive coordinator in Foxboro.
Under McDaniels, Michel racked up 2,292 yards and scored 14 rushing touchdowns per Pro Football Reference. And the two won a Super Bowl together in the 2018 season, the Patriots’ last Super Bowl title.
Knox retraced back to the reason why the Rams made the decision to lure in Michel: To replace an injured Cam Akers. Times are different now, Knox noted.
“Akers is again healthy, and it’s not as if Michel was an expensive acquisition — he cost L.A. a fourth-round 2023 and a sixth-round 2022 draft pick,” Knox wrote. “Los Angeles, meanwhile, is projected to be $13.2 million over the cap and will likely prioritize players like Von Miller and Austin Corbett over Michel.”
Knox adds Michel has a projected market value of $5 million annually.
Other Reasons Why Michel Could Blend in With Silver & Black
Michel’s past ties to McDaniels and his offense isn’t the sole reason why the Silver and Black may become appealing for the unrestricted free agent.
Knox states another reason: Being a possible physical inside option to spell Jacobs.
“The Las Vegas Raiders could use such a complement after losing Kenyan Drake to a broken ankle in December. Drake was a fine change-of-pace back alongside Josh Jacobs. However, the duo underwhelmed overall, and Drake may not be at 100 percent early next season,” Knox wrote.
McDaniels himself raved about Michel’s running style before.
And Michel proved to a be a solid goal line option when McDaniel was calling the offense.
But he’s also shown some burst as a Ram.
Even on a team that showed more explosiveness by air than by land, Michel was still an effective move-the-chains type who broke tackles.
However, should the Rams decide to bring back Michel, he returns to being a No. 2 option behind Akers. The Rams also still has Darrell Henderson for one more season before he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2023.
Signs are indicating that Michel could be the odd Ram out. But another sign is showing that he’s got a home in Sin City…and with an offensive mind he knows quite well.