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Newcomer Young comes to grips with trade that seems too-good-to-be-true for Broncos

Rams told him it was a cost-saving deal. Said Young: "I'm not cool with it but I respect it."

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — To explain the trade that made little sense, the Los Angeles Rams told Kenny Young he was getting sent to the Broncos because of financial reasons.

Huh? Young is only making $2.183 million in the final year of a 4th-round rookie contract – highly affordable for a starting inside linebacker who was the second-leading tackler for a 6-1 team. This wasn’t a 2-5 team saving $1.33 million – which the Broncos pick up for the final 10 games.

This was a Rams team that may be headed to the Super Bowl.

The minimum salary for players with 4 years of service is $990,000. A couple hundred thousand was worth saving at the risk of messing with team chemistry and saying goodbye to a quality player, who, by all accounts, is also a good guy?

The explanation Young received didn’t clear up matters but it helped him move on.

“Yeah, it had nothing to do with my on-the-field ability, nothing like that,’’ Young said Wednesday at what was his introductory press conference with the Broncos. “It was about finances. It’s something weird for me. I’ve never heard or experienced that. But it makes sense what they did. I’m not cool with it but I have to respect it because they had no other choice.”

Credit: AP
Los Angeles Rams inside linebacker Kenny Young (41) walks back to the locker room after the team defeats the Detroit Lions in an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

The Broncos, in crisis mode at their injury-riddled inside linebacker position, only had to give up a 6th-round pick in the 2024 draft – that’s right, three years from now – to get a proven NFL starter. And wait. Besides Young, the Broncos will also get the Rams’ 7th-round pick from 2024 in return. It’s great for the Broncos. It’s almost too-good-to-be-true for the Broncos.

Seems terrible for the Rams, although they do have third-round rookie Ernest Jones who will replace Young, ready or not.

As for Young, he’s taken on a professional attitude.

“My obligation is to do my job always so I’ll just keep it at that,” he said.

Forgive him, though, if he didn’t break into a cartwheel upon learning he was moving from a 6-1 team in L.A. – he played his college ball at UCLA – to a 3-4 team that plays at the base of the Rocky Mountains as colder weather begins to roll in.

“At the time, we were on a run and I’d played a very good game (against Detroit on Sunday) and it was confusing for me for a second, but I think it had to do with the cap space and finances,’’ Young said. “There’s nothing they could have done about it or I could have done about it. Yeah, it was a weird situation but … ‘’

Credit: AP
Los Angeles Rams linebacker Kenny Young is pictured before an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, in Seattle. The Rams won 26-17. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

With that he shrugged his shoulders and moved on to the next question.

He immediately got a few practice reps a couple hours after his plane landed Tuesday and was expected to get more as the week goes on. He hasn’t been told how much he will play Sunday against Washington but he will play and he may start.

“These past 72 hours have been a whirlwind,’’ Young said. “I’m just here trying to learn as much as I can. Try to get caught up on things. There is some similar schemes (as the Rams’ defense). Just different verbiage.’’

Young was less surprised than other players might have been because this was the second time he was dealt. He was a Ravens’ draft pick in 2018, only to be moved the next year to the Rams in the Marcus Peters’ trade.

“So until the (trading) deadline is over it’s not over,’’ he said. “I never know what to expect. It’s the business of football."

RELATED: Broncos acquire starting linebacker Kenny Young from Rams

Credit: AP
Los Angeles Rams inside linebacker Kenny Young, right, sacks Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) during the second half of an NFL football game in Inglewood, Calif., in this Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, file photo. The injury-riddled Denver Broncos acquired inside linebacker Kenny Young from the Los Angeles Rams on Monday, Oct. 25, 2021, four days after they were gouged by third-string Cleveland running back De'Ernest Johnson. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian, File)

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