Cam Akers looked every bit like the running back the Los Angeles Rams signed him for in 2020 for four years and $6,173,035: Wearing down the Denver Broncos with 118 rushing yards and finding the end zone three times in the Christmas Day rout.
And it was back in October when Akers was facing a nebulous future with the franchise — being absent from the facility and in games due to reports over his role which fueled trade speculation. But following Akers’ first 100-yard day this season, his head coach Sean McVay got asked if there’s still the thought of dealing away Akers after the season.
“Oh, no,” McVay said per Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times. “I think right now, with what he’s done continuing to build on that momentum, I think it’d be silly based on what a great job he’s done to think of it anything differently than him being a big part of what you want to be able to do moving forward. But you just take it a day at a time. But that certainly, I think, is something that we’ve worked through. There’s totally a different trajectory in terms of what he’s done. And the way that he’s handled himself and the way that he’s playing the way like we know he’s capable of and hopefully you just continue to see him build on it these last couple weeks and into next year with the Rams.”
‘I Think He’s Just Gone About his Business the Right Way’
Akers has gone from being disgruntled to being business like for the rest of the 2022 season as he’s reclaimed the role of lead back for the Rams.
“I think he’s just gone about his business the right way,” Mcvay explained to reporters on Zoom on Monday, December 26. “[He] really attacked every single day, like I mentioned yesterday, he deserves a ton of credit. I thought guys played well around him yesterday and then I also think [Assistant Head Coach/ Tight Ends Coach] Thomas Brown’s leadership for that group has been really helpful. It was great to be able to see Cam play the way that we know he’s capable of.”
Per Pro Football Focus, Akers delivered his most yardage running up both tackles — 28 yards up each spot. Two of his three touchdowns were up the alley created by right tackle Rob Havenstein and left tackle Ty Nsekhe. He also received an extra blocking assist from tight end Brycen Hopkins. Akers’ first touchdown was made possible by Havenstein and Hopkins providing the push needed to clear room for Akers:
His second touchdown saw Akers follow Havenstein and Hopkins’ lead, with the latter pulling to seal off the edge.
And touchdown No. 3 came with Nsekhe and Tyler Higbee taking care of the left side:
Akers delivered his first 100-yard outing since December 10, 2020 against the New England Patriots when he rumbled for 171 yards in the 24-3 home win. While Akers delivered a season-best performance, McVay believes Akers had been running hard before breaking out against Denver.
“And I thought he played really well against the [Green Bay] Packers, we just had a lot more limited opportunities,” McVay said. “But he’s doing a nice job. I think it says a lot about him to be able to kind of go through the things that he’s gone through individually this year and to be where he’s at and continuing to play the way that he’s played is a real credit to him.”
How Long Can Akers Stay With His Current Contract
Akers is still on his rookie deal for this season and next.
His base salary, though, has seen an uptick the last three seasons — going from $610,000 in year one, to $890,592 the following season when he wasn’t available until the playoffs due to a torn Achilles and currently, $1,171,185.
For 2023, the base salary increases to $1,451,777 before he officially becomes a unrestricted free agent in the 2024 free agent cycle.
Time will tell how long the Rams will really keep Akers. But from McVay’s wording, Akers has re-earned his spot as a focal point of his offense for the future.