The Rams are expected to be without their backup running back for the remainder of the regular season and playoffs, as Los Angeles head coach Sean McVay told reporters today that Malcolm Brown is likely to be placed on injured reserve after suffering a clavicle injury last week (Twitter link via Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com).
Once he is formally moved to IR, Brown’s 2019 campaign will officially end, for a few reasons. One, the Rams have already designated the NFL-maximum two players to return from injured reserve in cornerback Aqib Talib and return man Pharoh Cooper. Two, Brown’s recovery is expected to take eight-to-ten weeks, so even if league rules didn’t prevent him from coming back this season, Brown wouldn’t be ready until — maybe — the NFC Championship Game or the Super Bowl.
Brown didn’t see many snaps behind All-Pro Todd Gurley, but he did produce when called upon. Brown has averaged 4.9 yards per carry this season, while Football Outsiders ranks him as a top-10 back in DVOA among runners with fewer than 99 carries, meaning he was extremely efficient on a per-play basis. Meanwhile, Pro Football Focus assigned him a pass-blocking grade of 90.0, which would rank first among NFL running backs if he had enough snaps to qualify.
Brown, 25, is scheduled to become a restricted free agent next spring. While he almost certainly won’t be offered a first-round tender, a second-round tender (which should be worth approximately $3MM) isn’t out of the realm of possibility. If the Rams don’t believe Brown will have much of an RFA market, they could opt to use the right of first refusal tender, which will only be worth ~$2MM.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.