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As Cardinals make big trade for Zach Ertz, Rams have defenders trading places

·3 min read
Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz (86) scores a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Rich Schultz)
Zach Ertz (86) scores a touchdown Thursday during his last game with the Philadelphia Eagles. The Cardinals completed a trade for the tight end Friday. (Rich Schultz / Associated Press)

The Rams are slightly less than two weeks removed from their loss to the unbeaten Arizona Cardinals, a defeat that dropped them into second place in the NFC West.

And they are slightly more than two weeks away from the NFL trade deadline of Nov. 2.

The Cardinals showed Friday they are willing to invest for a championship run — and possibly keep the Rams at bay — when they traded for tight end Zach Ertz, a three-time Pro Bowl selection for the Philadelphia Eagles. Ertz replaces Maxx Williams, who suffered a season-ending knee injury.

Rams coach Sean McVay was an interested observer.

“Zach certainly has a resumé that speaks for itself, and I can understand the rationale behind the decision,” McVay said as his team continued preparations for their road game Sunday against the New York Giants.

The Rams do not play the Cardinals again until Dec. 13 in Arizona. By that time, both teams' rosters could change because of injuries, trades and free-agent signings.

The Rams have a recent history of making splashy, impactful moves near or at the trade deadline.

In 2018, they traded for edge rusher Dante Fowler Jr., who helped them make a run to Super Bowl LIII and in 2019 amassed a career-best 11½ sacks before leaving to sign a free-agent contract with the Atlanta Falcons.

In 2019, in separate deals, the Rams traded for star cornerback Jalen Ramsey and offensive lineman Austin Corbett.

The Rams have made Ramsey, a two-time All-Pro, the highest-paid cornerback in NFL history. Corbett has developed into a dependable starter at right guard and is due to become an unrestricted free agent after the season.

Will the Rams make another big trade?

“You won't see any big splash moves, like maybe you've seen from us in the past,” McVay said. “It doesn't look like that could occur.

“I would never say never.”

McVay and general manager Les Snead have the next few weeks to decide as the Rams (4-1) begin a stretch of four non-division games against teams that have had their struggles this season. The Giants (1-4), Detroit Lions (0-5), Houston Texans (1-4) and Tennessee Titans (3-2) have a combined 5-15 record.

Rams cornerback Robert Rochell breaks up a pace intended for Seattle's Tyler Lockett.
Rams cornerback Robert Rochell breaks up a pass intended for Seattle's Tyler Lockett. (Ben VanHouten / Associated Press)

The Rams do not appear to have a major need, but could explore adding cornerback depth depending on how the next two games play out.

Starting cornerback Darious Williams is on injured reserve for at least the next three games because of an ankle injury suffered last Thursday during a 26-17 victory over the Seattle Seahawks, a win that improved the Rams’ record to 1-1 in the division.

The Rams will attempt to replace him with a combination of rookie Robert Rochell, third-year pro David Long and second-year pro Terrell Burgess. The Rams also are expected to promote Dont’e Deayon from the practice squad for Sunday.

The Cardinals and Rams could make it a two-team race in the NFC West if the Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers are unable to weather injuries suffered by their quarterbacks.

The Seahawks’ Russell Wilson had surgery this week to repair his right middle finger, which he injured against the Rams.

Oft-injured Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a calf injury during an Oct. 3 loss to the Seahawks and sat out a 17-10 defeat Sunday to the Cardinals. Rookie Trey Lance started in place of Garoppolo. The 49ers are off this week.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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