FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The Los Angeles Rams are getting some much-needed help in the backfield.
The Rams announced Wednesday that they acquired running back Sony Michel from the Patriots for undisclosed 2022 draft picks.
Michel, who was drafted in the first round in 2018, brings some relief to a Rams offense that was running low on healthy running back options with the regular season fast approaching.
Darrell Henderson left practice Monday with a sprained thumb. The Rams won't have two of last season's top three running backs this fall after Cam Akers' season-ending Achilles tendon injury and Malcolm Brown's departure for Miami. They also won't have emerging talent Raymond Calais, who was waived with an injury designation Monday after breaking his foot in their preseason game against Las Vegas.
That left only undrafted second-year pro Xavier Jones, rookie seventh-round pick Jake Funk and rookie Otis Anderson as the remaining options to support quarterback Matt Stafford.
Michel entered the preseason at a pivotal point of his injury-plagued career.
The Patriots declined to pick up his fifth-year option in May, clearing the way from him to become a free agent at the conclusion of the season.
During his rookie campaign, he fought through the lingering effects of the left knee injury he suffered as a senior at Georgia. He appeared in eight games and rushed for 931 yards and six touchdowns, averaging 4.7 yards per carry.
He appeared in 14 games in 2019 but saw his production tail off. He ran for 912 yards and seven TDs while his yards per carry average fell to 3.7.
That average rose to 5.7 last season before a quadriceps injury sidelined him for six games. The 26-year-old also spent a week on the COVID-19 list.
His contract status left him entering training camp fighting for a roster spot this season in New England.
Damien Harris was productive in 2020, his second season, and got most of the snaps. The Patriots drafted former Oklahoma running back Rhamondre Stevenson in the fourth round in April, and he joined a depth chart that also includes veteran James White, Brandon Bolden and J.J. Taylor.
Stevenson had two impressive performances during the first two exhibition games, running for four touchdowns, including a 91-yard score.