A day after Los Angeles found out they were parting ways with the linebacker Bobby Wagner, reports surfaced that the Rams could be parting ways with another key defensive piece. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, sources believe it’s the star cornerback. Jalan Ramsay will be resolved in the coming weeks.
Ramsey initially came to Los Angeles via trade in 2019 after some turmoil in Jacksonville. The 5th overall pick in 2016 has seen success every year during his time with the Jaguars. After finishing second in Defensive Rookie of the Year voting (behind Chargers pass rusher Joey Bosa), Ramsey was first-team All-Pro in his sophomore season and made the Pro Bowl every year after his freshman year. Despite his outstanding play in the defensive backfield, as a team, the Jaguars only made the playoffs once, reaching the AFC Championship in 2017.
In early 2019, Ramsey and the Jaguars head coach had a verbal altercation. Doug Marrone Following a Week 2 loss to the Texans, leaked reports said the two had to be physically restrained. Soon after, reports surfaced that Ramsey had requested a trade. Ramsey will play a few days later but will miss the next three weeks due to reasons ranging from injury to the birth of his daughter. It would be his last game with the Jaguars before being traded to Los Angeles for two first-round picks and a fourth-round pick.
The Rams knew they had everyone going for the future and showed it by making Ramsey the highest-paid cornerback in NFL history. They passed on Ramsey, signing him to a five-year, $105MM extension. Tretavious White, who just days ago held the title of highest-paid cornerback, averaging just $17.5MM per year. Ramsey responded to the new deal with one of his less flashy seasons, but rewarded the Rams with his second first-team All-Pro selection. A year later, Ramsey would return to his usual statistical flash, earning his third first-team All-Pro selection and helping the Rams to their first Super Bowl victory since 1999.
Now, Ramsey is 28 years old, still in his prime, and facing the trade market again. Ramsey is set to make $17MM in base salary this year, the biggest year over the course of the contract with a $25.2MM cap hit. The Rams created an option in the contract that would allow Ramsey to be released at the end of next season with a dead cap hit of $11.4MM, rather than a $32.1MM dead cap hit. Today. Los Angeles’ recent moves point to cost-cutting, cap-reducing behavior. If they continue this way, it’s only fair that Ramsey, who won his third major cap for the Rams in 2023, should be on the trade block.
As for the trade target, there are plenty of teams in the NFL in need of cornerback help. It will be interesting to see how much the Rams choose to accommodate Ramsey in any trade deals. Ramsey will want to go to a team capable of winning. The Rams can honor that, or they can take a deal that sets them up better for future success.
For teams with a chance to win, the Ravens can be seen Marcus Peters Walk in free agency and haven’t had the best of luck with their cornerback depth behind him Marlon Humphrey. Baltimore wants to invest at the cornerback position and pair Ramsey with Humphrey. Marcus Williams, Kyle Hamiltonand (maybe) Chuck Clark Ravens lock-down secondary. The Bills have some talent, but injuries are really hurting their depth throughout 2022. The Bengals are a team trying to become an AFC power, but up-and-down play in the secondary has hurt them lately. Finally, 49 people were able to see Emmanuel Mosley And Jason Verrett Hit free agency this year and was plagued by some injuries in 2022. Adding Ramsey to the defense in San Francisco would be the cherry on top of an already stellar unit.
As for teams with better draft capital, the Cardinals could use some veteran leadership at the position and currently hold the No. 3 overall draft pick in 2023. The Raiders lack great talent at the position and have a top-10 draft pick. There are plenty of other teams that meet halfway in terms of winning ability and draft capital and could use Ramsey’s talent. Teams like the Patriots, Steelers, Lions, Dolphins and Chargers fit into this category.
As mentioned above, the Rams went all-in in the early 2020s. It paid off with a Super Bowl LVI victory, but they are now facing the consequences. They need to build for the future, but all their assets are tied up in current, massive contracts. Releasing Wagner and trading Ramsey would help alleviate some of that financial pressure.
Another implication of this situation lies in the contractual details. It has become commonplace for teams to sign star players to huge contracts, allowing them to delay big salaries to delay cap hits, eventually renegotiating contracts and avoiding the cap issue altogether. This has led to many situations like Ramsey’s, where a team no longer wants to fulfill their financial obligations to the player based on the contract they drafted. This is why contracts have recently increased in guaranteed money. This is an example of why a player like the Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson It’s pushing for a contract that not only pays him more but guarantees he’ll get that money.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on Ramsey moving forward. Fortunately for both parties, this trade situation for Ramsey is much less complicated than in years past with Jacksonville. The hope is that both parties can find a way to move Ramsey in a way that truly benefits the player and the team.