Rams don’t make a deal at trade deadline, but running back Lance Dunbar could be added to roster soon
The NFL trade deadline came and went Tuesday with the Rams standing pat while four remaining opponents made moves to strengthen themselves for this season and possibly beyond.
The San Francisco 49ers were involved in the biggest deal leading up the deadline when on Monday they acquired quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo from the New England Patriots for a second-round pick in next year’s draft. The 49ers are 0-8 and not in the hunt for a playoff spot.
But Garoppolo could help spoil the Rams’ postseason bid if a playoff spot is on the line when the teams play in the Dec. 31 season finale at the Coliseum.
The Seattle Seahawks traded for offensive tackle Duane Brown, improving a line that has failed to provide much of a running game and forced quarterback Russell Wilson to be constantly on the move.
The Seahawks sent two draft picks to the Houston Texans for Brown.
The 5-2 Rams are currently tied with the Seahawks atop the NFC West, but the Seahawks defeated the Rams in September. The Rams play at Seattle on Dec. 17.
The Rams play the Texans on Nov. 12 at the Coliseum in their first home game since their Oct. 8 defeat to the Seahawks.
On Tuesday, the Philadelphia Eagles traded for running back Jay Ajayi, who rushed for 77 yards against the Rams last season in a 14-10 Miami Dolphins victory at the Coliseum.
The Rams play the Eagles at home on Dec. 10.
While the Rams did not acquire any players via trades, coach Sean McVay is optimistic that the NFL’s second-highest scoring team will receive a boost from within.
Running back Lance Dunbar, signed in the offseason as a potential change-of-pace backup for star Todd Gurley, began practicing this week.
Dunbar, 27, barely participated in offseason workouts and was sidelined for training camp because of a left knee injury. He began the season on the physically-unable-to-perform list.
Dunbar’s participation in practice on Monday started a 21-day clock. The Rams can put him on the roster, put him on season-ending injured reserve or release him.
McVay said he would meet with general manager Les Snead to determine Dunbar’s status later this week.
“It provides a great opportunity for Lance to come in, kind of serve as the role we envision in the first place,” McVay said Monday. “We’ve got a lot of playmakers who have stayed healthy and are available, so it’s a positive problem.”
The 5-foot-8, 191-pound Dunbar played five seasons for the Dallas Cowboys as a running back and kick returner.
With Dunbar sidelined, McVay has utilized receiver Tavon Austin as a running back. Austin has rushed for 135 yards and a touchdown. He has seven receptions.
“Tavon’s role is only going to increase as we move forward,” McVay said.
Dunbar is just happy to be back on the field. While sidelined, he helped younger players such as Justin Davis. He said after Monday’s workout that it seems like forever since he had been able to practice.
“That’s probably the longest I’ve been without playing football since I was 6 years old,” he said. “It was tough. Very challenging.
“But I’m a mentally tough person, I’ve been through a lot and know how to get through situations like this.”
Dunbar described himself as “a playmaker, a hard-nosed guy that can do whatever they need me to do.”
When he might be available is still to be determined.
The Rams play the New York Giants on Sunday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
Could Dunbar be ready to play?
“As a competitor I would say yes,” Dunbar said. “But I know I need some time to get adjusted to the game speed and all that. … It wouldn’t be in my best interest to go out there and not be fully ready.”
Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins was suspended for Sunday’s game for violating team rules. Jenkins was drafted by the Rams in 2012. Before last season, the Rams opted to put the franchise tag on cornerback Trumaine Johnson and let Jenkins hit the open market. Jenkins signed a five-year $62.5-million deal with the Giants. He has one interception this season. … The Rams were off Tuesday. They resume practice Wednesday.
Follow Gary Klein on Twitter @latimesklein
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