Jalen Ramsey

NFC West Notes: Ramsey, 49ers, Seahawks

The 49ers have been accustomed to dealing with running back unavailability during Kyle Shanahan‘s tenure, but Jerick McKinnon is on track to make his 49er debut at long last. However, Tevin Coleman‘s status is now uncertain. The second-year 49ers back did not practice Friday because of the poor air quality in San Francisco, which has been affected by the recent wildfires raging in many west coast areas. Coleman, who has a sickle cell trait, also did not finish a practice earlier in training camp due to poor air quality, Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. Although the 49ers traded Matt Breida, they still have McKinnon, Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson on their active roster.

Here is the latest from the NFC West, moving first to the Rams’ resetting of the cornerback market.

  • The Rams were slightly over the 2020 salary cap earlier this week, but their Jalen Ramsey extension solved that problem. They created $7.5MM through the Ramsey deal, Joel Corry of CBS Sports tweets. Ramsey’s cornerback-record five-year, $105MM contract calls for only a $1.2MM base salary in 2020 — down from $13.7MM. The ensuing years, however, include base salaries of $17.5MM (2021), $15MM (’22), $17MM (’23), $14.5MM (’24) and $15.5MM (’25), Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. This contract’s rolling guarantee structure will convert injury guarantees to full guarantees the year before, essentially tying Ramsey to Los Angeles’ payroll through at least 2024, Garafolo adds (via Twitter).
  • Rams free agent signing A’Shawn Robinson qualified for the high-risk $350K stipend as an opt-out player, but his agent and the team reached a compromise that allowed the defensive lineman to avoid the opt-out list. The Rams instead placed Robinson on the non-football injury list and are paying him $500K this year, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. Robinson was on track to opt out. Even though he did not officially do so, his two-year contract will toll to 2021 if he does not play this season. Robinson will keep his $6MM signing bonus, but his $3MM 2020 base salary will toll to 2021, Breer adds. Robinson could, however, come off the NFI list and play by Week 10.
  • Seahawks special teams coordinator Brian Schneider took a leave of absence this week, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times tweets. Larry Izzo will take over in that role during his absence. Schneider has been with the Seahawks throughout Pete Carroll‘s tenure, following Carroll from USC to Seattle in 2010. Izzo is in his third season with the team.
  • Prior to roster cutdown day, the 49ers considered trading Ahkello Witherspoon, Matt Barrows of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Witherspoon was aware of the team’s effort, which did not end up producing a deal. The 49ers are set to be without Jason Verrett, who missed all of last season and has dealt with injuries throughout his career, Sunday due to a hamstring injury. Witherspoon is in line to serve as a key depth player to start the season. Emmanuel Moseley replaced him in the starting lineup during the playoffs. A fourth-year player, Witherspoon is set for unrestricted free agency in 2021.
  • The 49ers did not restructure Dee Ford‘s deal to set up a big move, John Lynch said (via NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco, on Twitter). The move, however, did create $9.5MM in cap space. That gave the team some breathing room; it holds $10.9MM in cap space as of Saturday. The move does, however, make Ford a more difficult cut in 2021. It would now cost the 49ers $14MM-plus in dead money to release the defensive end next year.

Rams Sign Jalen Ramsey To Extension

The Rams have locked down their shutdown corner. On Wednesday, the Rams announced a brand new five-year deal for Jalen Ramsey. It’s a five-year add-on worth $105MM, making Ramsey the highest-paid cornerback in NFL history, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

The pact, which averages out to $21MM per year, also comes with $71.2MM guaranteed at signing, another new record for the position. The deal comes after months of talks between the two sides, though recent word was that the talks were not moving in the right direction. Ultimately, the Rams were motivated to find middle ground, especially since they sent a wealth of draft capital to the Jaguars to acquire him.

The Rams shipped two first-round picks and a fourth-rounder to the Jaguars for Ramsey last October. Between his three games with the Jaguars and nine games with the Rams, Ramsey recorded just 50 tackles and one interception. He didn’t play up to his usual standards in L.A., but the belief is that he’ll play up to his whopping new deal.

Ramsey’s contract vaults him ahead of Tre’Davious White, who grabbed the mantle of highest-paid corner just days ago with $17.5MM/year. He also passed Byron Jones on a rocket ship for the most guaranteed cash paid to a cornerback. Jones, who inked his own sizable deal with the Dolphins earlier this year, secured roughly $57MM in guarantees.

Ramsey told the club that he wouldn’t hold out in 2020 if he didn’t have a new deal in place, but there were no promised made regarding a potential franchise tag in 2021. Without that safety net in place, the Rams did not want to roll the dice.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams, Jalen Ramsey Not Close On Extension

The Rams and cornerback Jalen Ramsey are not close to an agreement on a contract extension, per veteran NFL reporter Josina Anderson (via Twitter). However, Anderson’s source notes that it’s still early in the process, thereby implying that there is no real tension between player and team at this time.

Of course, given that Los Angeles ponied up two first-round picks and a fourth-rounder to obtain the outspoken star last October, the club will do everything in its power to keep him around on a long-term basis. Ramsey, the No. 5 overall pick of the 2016 draft, did not maintain the same high level of play during after his trade to the Rams that he displayed during his 3+ years with the Jaguars, but there is no reason to believe that he cannot return to form and serve as one of the game’s top corners for years to come.

Indeed, Rams head coach Sean McVay recently indicated that he views Ramsey as a player who can reset the CB market, which certainly won’t hurt Ramsey’s leverage. Currently, Darius Slay is the leader in the cornerback clubhouse with an average annual value of $16.7MM, so Ramsey is likely shooting for at least a $17MM AAV. And given that he won’t turn 26 until October, he is likely eyeing the ~$57MM in guarantees that Byron Jones took home from the Dolphins this offseason.

The Rams’ cap space could be a complicating factor in negotiations. According to OverTheCap.com, LA has roughly $4MM of room right now. Ramsey is presently slated to take home a $13.7MM salary this season with a corresponding cap charge, and while an extension could theoretically bring that number down a bit, the team also has future salary cap concerns, exacerbated by the fact that the 2021 cap could decrease by as much as $23MM.

So talks could extend into the season, but look for the two sides to come to an agreement at some point before the end of the 2020 campaign.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC West Notes: Rams, Ramsey, Seahawks, 49ers

On Tuesday, Rams star Jalen Ramsey confirmed that he won’t hold out this year if he doesn’t get the new deal that he’s seeking. Meanwhile, head coach Sean McVay tells reporters that he has every intention of keeping the standout cornerback for the long haul.

We went and got this guy with the hope that it’s not a short-time thing,” McVay said (Twitter link via Andrew Siciliano of NFL.com). “I sure hope he’s not leaving.”

McVay went on to say that he sees Ramsey as the type of player who can reset the market as his position (Twitter link via The Athletic’s Jordan Rodrigue). Currently, Darius Slay is the leader in the CB clubhouse with an average annual value of $16.7MM. As McVay suggests, Ramsey’s AAV could easily exceed $17MM, even though he was less-than-stellar in his half-season with L.A.

Here’s more out of the NFC West:

  • Speaking of Ramsey, new Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley intends to move him around this year by giving him some reps in the slot and possibly at safety (via Rodrigue). “He’s got command of all the positions in the defensive backfield,” Staley said. “You know, I do not look at him just as a corner. I look at him as a (defensive back). This guy can do anything. He thinks like a quarterback.”
  • Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times would be surprised if the Seahawks didn’t add a veteran lineman or two before the start of the season. As it stands, the Seahawks are set to trot out a defensive end rotation of Rasheem Green/Benson Mayowa/rookie Darrell Taylor plus Poona Ford and Jarran Reed on the interior. The defensive end group, in particular, could use some reinforcements. With Quinton Jefferson in Buffalo and Jadeveon Clowney unlikely to be re-signed, GM John Schneider will probably be scanning the market for the next few months. On the plus side, the return of Bruce Irvin should help in the edge rushing department, but Pete Carroll has him listed as a linebacker.
  • The 49ers might not have world-class depth in their secondary group, but Matt Barrows of The Athletic isn’t overly concerned with how the depth chart looks behind Richard Sherman, Jaquiski Tartt, Jimmie Ward, and the rest of the starters. However, if they do look to make an upgrade in that area, strong safety could be worth a look. As it stands, Marcell Harris is the only backup who has previous experience in SF’s scheme.
  • The Cardinals are keeping an eye on former Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen. He’s provide experience to Arizona’s young DE group, not to mention an impressive track record of getting to the quarterback. The 32-year-old has 74.5 career sacks to his credit.

Jalen Ramsey Won’t Skip Training Camp

Jalen Ramsey is seeking a contract extension, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to hold out. The Rams cornerback told reporters that he’ll attend training camp without a new contract (via ESPN’s Lindsay Thiry on Twitter).

[RELATED: Extension Candidate: Rams CB Jalen Ramsey]

“The Rams know where I stand, they’ve been in contact with my agent, they know what’s up,” Ramsey told reporters.

Back in October, the Rams sent a pair of firsts and a fourth-rounder to Jacksonville for the defensive back. Ramsey ended up getting into nine games (eight starts) for his new team, compiling 33 tackles, four passes defended, one forced fumble, and one interception. The 25-year-old ultimately earned his third-straight Pro Bowl appearance.

Ramsey will earn $13.7MM in 2020 thanks to the Jaguars’ (predictable) decision to pick up his fifth-year option. As our own Zach Links recently pointed out, Ramsey’s agents will surely be eyeing Darius Slay‘s $16.7MM average annual value, and they could point to Byron Jones and his $46MM in full guarantees and $54.4MM in effective guarantees.

The Rams don’t have a whole lot of financial flexibility, but they could always turn to the franchise tag next offseason. In that scenario, there’s a chance that Ramsey could end up holding out.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extension Candidate: Rams CB Jalen Ramsey

Just before last year’s trade deadline, the Rams swung a blockbuster deal to land Jalen Ramsey. Now, they have some more negotiating to do as Ramsey enters the final year of his contract.

[RELATED: Will The Cardinals Trade Reddick?]

Ramsey, 26 in October, is set to earn $13.7MM in 2020, a figure dictated by his fifth-year option. The expected market will dictate his rate on this go ’round, which means that he’s probably due for a raise. Before Ramsey arrived in Los Angeles, he had his sights set on a deal that would reset the market. Despite an iffy year, Ramsey still figures to play in that ballpark.

Between his three games with the Jaguars and nine games with the Rams, Ramsey recorded just 50 tackles and one interception. The former No. 5 overall pick did not play up to his usual standards, but the fact remains that Ramsey is one of the league’s most talented cornerbacks and any team would be happy to back up a Brinks truck for him.

Currently, Darius Slay stands as the league’s highest-paid cornerback on a per-year basis with an average annual salary of $16.7MM. Meanwhile, Byron Jones of the Dolphins leads corners in full guarantees ($46MM) and effective guarantees ($54.4MM). It’s safe to say that Ramsey’s reps will have all of those numbers handy when it comes time to talk.

The Rams, meanwhile, would be willing to toss figures around in that ballpark, though their lack of cap room makes it a bit tricky. It would be tough for the Rams to tamp down Ramsey’s 2020 hit while also giving him $17MM/year to top Slay. Meanwhile, there isn’t a lot of fat left to trim. They could carve out another $3.6MM for Ramsey by releasing Troy Hill, but that would also leave ~$900K in dead money and little room for extra improvements. A restructuring of Aaron Donald‘s deal could give them more dollars to work with – similar to what Jared Goff did recently – but that would also create a snowball effect on future cap years.

Ramsey promised the team that he wouldn’t hold out in 2020 if he didn’t have a new deal in place, though he won’t necessarily cooperate with the Rams if he’s franchise tagged for 2021. Without that safety net in place, the Rams will have to find middle ground with their star cornerback sooner rather than later.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles Notes: Schwartz, WRs, Groh, Staff

In a rookie receiver class that included big seasons from A.J. Brown, D.K. Metcalf, Terry McLaurin and others, the Eagles did not get much from second-round pick J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. The Stanford prospect caught 10 passes for 169 yards, even as the team losing each of its starters created consistent opportunities. The Eagles bypassed Metcalf for Arcega-Whiteside, but Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes the team placed a higher grade on the eventual Seahawks starter. But Metcalf having failed an Eagles physical meant the team did not want to use a second-round pick on him, McLane adds. Metcalf amassed 900 regular-season receiving yards and posted 160 in Seattle’s win over Philadelphia in Round 1. Regardless, the Eagles will likely be linked to first-round wideouts this year. The Eagles are “all over” this year’s wideout and cornerback classes, per Matt Miller of Bleacher Report.

Here is the latest from Philadelphia:

  • The Eagles restructured Alshon Jeffery‘s deal to create 2019 cap space, guaranteeing the veteran receiver’s $9.9MM 2020 salary. It would cost the Eagles more than $26MM to release the soon-to-be 30-year-old target, but McLane notes offset language is included in Jeffery’s deal. It is unclear, however, how much the Eagles would save if another team signed Jeffery after a release. Howie Roseman has done well in recent years to create roster-improvement avenues for the Eagles. But with Jeffery and 33-year-old DeSean Jackson‘s money nearly fully guaranteed, the veteran GM may need to get creative to improve Philly’s wideout situation.
  • Roseman appeared to hint at the Eagles’ window closing with their current nucleus, and McLane expects the team to cut ties with some regulars to infuse the roster with younger talent (Twitter link). Roseman projects the Eagles to hold 10 draft picks in April, meaning three compensatory selections, and held off dealing two first-round picks for Jalen Ramsey because of Carson Wentz‘s contract requiring more rookie-deal salaries on the roster (Twitter links via NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo and SI.com’s Albert Breer). Roseman has been aggressive on acquiring veterans for draft picks in recent years; the Eagles may change up that strategy in 2020. They currently have 11 starters under contract who are over 30 or will be by year’s end.
  • Jim Schwartz interviewed for the Browns’ HC job on Wednesday, but the Eagles would like him to stay. Doug Pederson would like him to return for a fifth season as Philly’s DC, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.
  • Pederson was clear on the statuses of offensive coordinator Mike Groh and wideouts coach Carson Walch, indicating (via ESPN.com’s Tim McManus, on Twitter) both will be back next season. Pederson, however, added all of the Eagles’ staffers remain under evaluation. Despite Schwartz’s interview with Cleveland and Pederson’s declarative statement on Groh and Wach, McLane sees the DC as being more likely to be back than the offensive staffers (Twitter link). It was obviously a rough year for Eagles wide receivers. And Groh’s offense — likely as a result of the frequent starter unavailability — ranked 14th in DVOA in his second season at the helm.

Injury Notes: Clowney, Ravens, Ramsey, Jacobs

Jadeveon Clowney hasn’t played in two weeks, but the 26-year-old is anxious to get back on the field for the Seahawks. The defensive lineman told ESPN’s Brady Henderson that “there’s no way” he’ll miss his team’s season finale against the 49ers. Clowney also acknowledged that the two missed games will help him in the postseason.

“Oh, for sure,” he said. “I’m in a way better place … I’ve been a lot better than I was the week before.”

Clowney missed Week 15 against the Panthers with the flu, and he was out for Week 16 against the Cardinals to deal with a lingering core injury. Henderson notes that Clowney was listed as limited on the Seahawks’ first injury report of the week.

Let’s check out some more injury notes from around the NFL…

  • Quarterback Lamar Jackson and running back Mark Ingram won’t be the only Ravens player missing their team’s Week 17 game against the Steelers. Coach John Harbaugh told reporters that safety Earl Thomas, offensive lineman Marshal Yanda, and defensive end Brandon Williams also won’t play this weekend (via Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic on Twitter). With Baltimore already having locked up a bye, the coaching staff is clearly playing it safe and providing the veterans with an extra week of rest.
  • Cornerback Jalen Ramsey will miss the Rams game against the Cardinals on Sunday. Coach Sean McVay told reporters that Ramsey is dealing with a strained lateral collateral ligament that was suffered during the team’s loss to the 49ers. The Rams sent a pair of first-rounders (along with a fourth-rounder) to the Jaguars for Ramsey, and the 25-year-old ended up chipping in 33 tackles, four passes defended, an interception, and one forced fumble in nine games (eight starts) for Los Angeles.
  • Raiders running back Josh Jacobs underwent a minor operation that shouldn’t keep him out of the lineup for Week 17. “Josh Jacobs woke up with discomfort in his leg on Wednesday and he was evaluated and treated for a superficial skin infection,” the team said (via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport on Twitter). While Jacobs will be in the lineup to help the Raiders secure an unlikely playoff spot, he’s still be a bit banged up. We heard earlier this month that the rookie was dealing with a shoulder ailment.

Ramsey Fallout: Ravens, Chiefs, Coughlin

Jalen Ramsey returned to action Sunday, and the Rams snapped their losing skid. Here is the latest on how Ramsey got to Los Angeles, and other franchises’ involvement, courtesy of SI.com’s Albert Breer.

  • In addition to the Eagles’ offer of first- and second-round picks, the Ravens resided as a Ramsey finalist, Breer notes. Baltimore and Philadelphia were the top runners-up for the All-Pro cornerback. One reason the Jaguars preferred the Rams‘ offer, other than the first-round picks coming their way: a desire for a “clean” trade that did not come with the Jags parting with draft capital in a pick-swap-style exchange. The Rams agreed to these terms, and it’s unclear if the other teams did. The Ravens were on Ramsey’s list, but hours before the Rams won the pursuit, Baltimore acquired Marcus Peters from the Rams to help facilitate the deal.
  • Both the Chiefs and Raiders were also on Ramsey’s list. While the two AFC West teams were previously reported as meeting with Ramsey’s approval, the Chiefs were not a serious contender to land him. However, it appears they wanted to be. Kansas City would have preferred to be in the Ramsey mix, but no Jacksonville call came as the process progressed, per Breer. The Jags expected the Chiefs’ draft picks to be too low for their liking, perhaps pointing to the Chiefs as being the team that initially offered two first-rounders. It’s unclear if the Raiders were a serious bidder.
  • Ramsey’s issues with the Jaguars‘ front office were all about Tom Coughlin, Breer notes. The third-year executive VP has been known to ruffle feathers, and the old-school leader made comments about certain Jaguars’ lack of attendance at offseason workouts. The Jags informed Ramsey over the summer they would not extend him in 2019, though Breer adds that he was fine playing out this season on his rookie deal. However, the fourth-year cornerback said the last straw was a contentious meeting after the Week 2 Texans game. Coughlin was not with the Jaguars when they drafted Ramsey in 2016.

Fallout From Jalen Ramsey Trade

The Rams helped put an end to the Jalen Ramsey saga when they traded two first-round picks and a fourth-rounder to the Jaguars for the disgruntled star earlier this week. Ramsey is expected to suit up for his new club today — his back seems to have healed up quite nicely after the trade was announced — and we have a great deal of Ramsey-related notes to pass along:

  • The Eagles were considered a front-runner in the Ramsey sweepstakes, and as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports, Philadelphia did make a legitimate effort to land the soon-to-be 25-year-old All-Pro. Schefter says the Eagles offered a first- and second-round choice to the Jaguars for Ramsey, and they thought they would be able to complete a deal. But when they were outbid by the Rams, the Eagles did not increase their offer, largely because they expect to have four defensive backs returning from injury in the next two weeks.
  • The back injury that reportedly kept Ramsey out of the Jaguars‘ lineup for the past several games was widely thought to be an injury of convenience, and Jags owner Shad Khan steadfastly refused to give in to Ramsey’s trade demands (for a while). But as Schefter writes in a separate piece, three doctors cleared Ramsey to return from his injury, and Khan believed the “heart-to-heart” he had with Ramsey had helped to turn the tide. Khan thought Ramsey would play in last week’s game against the Saints, but when he didn’t, that was the final straw. Khan then gave his front office the green light to strike a trade.
  • Ramsey, in an interview with ESPN’s Ryan Clark on Sunday morning, said his negative feelings towards the Jaguars this year started when head coach Doug Marrone did not trust him enough to challenge a completed pass during the team’s loss to the Texans that Ramsey insisted was incomplete. Ramsey said a meeting with unnamed Jacksonville execs after that game also prompted him to call his agent and request a trade (Twitter links via veteran NFL reporter Ed Werder).
  • In yet another Ramsey piece, Schefter details the series of events that led to the trade to LA. It started with the Rams offering Marcus Peters to the Browns for guard Joel Bitonio. Cleveland countered with an Austin Corbett-for-draft pick offer that the Rams accepted. Los Angeles then offered Peters to the Ravens — another player in the Ramsey sweepstakes — and Baltimore was not only interested, but it wanted the deal to happen right away so it could have Peters for its key matchup with the Seahawks on Sunday. The 2020 fifth-rounder the Rams got back from the Ravens allowed them to add a 2021 fourth-rounder in their package to the Jaguars for Ramsey, which is what allowed the deal to get done.
  • Rams‘ COO Kevin Demoff is one of those execs who is more willing to part with draft capital to acquire proven talent, a philosophical shift that has made for more exciting trade seasons in the NFL in recent years. Demoff said, via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, “[w]e don’t value late first-rounders as much as we do proven players. It is a further crapshoot when you get to that point in the round.”
  • Demoff refuted the notion that the Rams, losers of three straight, made the Ramsey trade out of desperation, pointing out that the team would have kept Peters if it was truly desperate. Instead, the Rams, who knew they were not going to re-sign Peters in the offseason, elected to get something for him while sending him to a club that will be able to get the most out of his talents. Of course, as noted above, it was the Peters trade that helped to facilitate the Ramsey deal.
  • Rapoport says that the Rams are expected to work out a long-term deal with Ramsey in the offseason. The trade was obviously not contingent on having such a contract in place, though the topic was discussed. Schefter says Ramsey has promised he will not hold out if the two sides do not come to terms on an extension in 2020, though all bets are off if the Rams attempt to use the franchise tag on him in 2021. Interestingly, Schefter says the Rams could turn around and trade Ramsey this offseason if they feel they won’t ultimately be able to sign him to a long-term pact.