Jalen Ramsey

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.

Ramsey, Gurley Expected To Play In Week 7

Jalen Ramsey‘s expected quick recovery from a back injury that kept him out of his final three Jaguars games appears set to commence. Sean McVay expects the recently acquired cornerback to play Sunday, per ESPN.com’s Lindsey Thiry (on Twitter).

It’s not certain if Ramsey will be available for a full workload, but he’s expected to suit up against the Falcons. So is Todd Gurley, per McVay. Both have been removed from the Rams’ injury report. This represents big news for a Rams team seeking to snap a three-game skid.

The Rams send two first-round picks and a fourth-rounder to the Jaguars for Ramsey, who has not played since Week 3. But with many believing the All-Pro corner’s absence was related to his trade request, and not necessarily the back injury that cropped up, it should come as no surprise the 24-year-old standout will be available in his first Rams game.

Gurley got through a limited practice Friday. The All-Pro running back missed Week 6 because of a quad injury. Rams backup running back Malcolm Brown is doubtful to play this week, leaving Gurley and rookie Darrell Henderson in position to share time Sunday.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaguars To Trade Jalen Ramsey To Rams

A third Rams trade is happening Tuesday, and it’s big. The Jaguars have finally agreed to trade Jalen Ramsey, and the Rams will send them two first-round picks to make that happen, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).

The Rams, who traded Marcus Peters earlier today, agreed to send the Jags their first-rounders in 2020 and 2021. Jacksonville will also acquire Los Angeles’ 2021 fourth-rounder. This marks a seismic bet for the Rams, who appear set for yet another high-end extension. Although, no extension parameters have been discussed yet, per ESPN.com’s Josina Anderson (on Twitter). But much like the Laremy Tunsil trade, which also involved two first-round picks changing sides, an investment on this level will make re-up talks imminent.

Ramsey has lobbied for a trade for weeks now and continued to sit out Jaguars games due to a back injury, one that has generated league-wide skepticism. The fourth-year standout has not played since Week 3, missing his first NFL games due to this back malady/trade request. Ramsey has since Photoshopped himself in Rams gear (Twitter link), which seems like an indication he will have recovered in time to face the Falcons on Sunday.

This trade comes after Shad Khan insisted he wanted to keep Ramsey and after the Jags owner expressed a willingness to make the disgruntled defender the NFL’s highest-paid corner. Instead, the Jaguars are moving on — after receiving their offer of two first-rounders and then some.

Los Angeles placed Aqib Talib on IR with a rib injury Monday and traded Peters to Baltimore. While Talib will be out at least eight weeks, the Pro Bowler looks like an IR-return candidate. He would be in line to join perhaps the NFL’s best cornerback upon return.

Ramsey, the 2016 No. 5 overall pick, has made two Pro Bowls and landed on the 2017 All-Pro first team. The Florida State product who played a major role in elevating the Jags to the 2017 AFC championship game is signed through the 2020 season.

He had expressed frustration with the Jaguars’ front office; the Jags had refused to discuss an extension with the soon-to-be 25-year-old defender this year. The Rams have handed out a bevy of high-profile re-ups over the past two years — to Brandin Cooks, Todd Gurley, Aaron Donald and Jared Goff — and now look to be ready to reset the stagnant cornerback market.

The Rams entered this season with Talib and Peters as contract-year starters. Ramsey will now lead their corner group for the next two months, with Troy Hill, Nickell Robey-Coleman, Darious Williams and third-round rookie David Long. Les Snead has not shied away from splashy moves during the Sean McVay era, and with the Rams having now lost three straight games for the first time in three seasons, the longtime GM is taking a big gamble on a top-tier talent.

This marks new territory for cornerback trade hauls, with the Jags now holding two first-round picks in 2020 and ’21. Darrelle Revis once fetched first- and fourth-round picks in 2013; this price certainly blows that return away. It will continue a run of Rams drafts without first-round picks. They have not made one since trading up for Goff in 2016.

It also represents a major shift for the Jaguars, who are moving on from probably their best player. Jacksonville has used second-year UDFA Tre Herndon in Ramsey’s place since his absence began. That Herndon-A.J. Bouye setup looks set to continue, with the Jags breaking up one of the league’s premier corner tandems.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Ramsey, Steelers, Kafka

It looks like Jaguars owner Shad Khan was mistaken. Khan, who has seemingly been overly optimistic about the Jalen Ramsey situation ever since his trade demand became public, said earlier this week that he expected Ramsey to play in Week 6. That was apparently news to Ramsey, and his camp soon put out word that he hadn’t committed to playing this week. Indeed, it “would be a major surprise if he plays this week,” tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Ramsey was limited in practice all week, which is obviously a step in the right direction considering he hadn’t practiced until then since his back injury popped up. All indications are that Ramsey hasn’t wavered from his trade demand, although Khan continues to act like nothing is wrong. The Jaguars owner has also said he intends to give the Florida State product a record-breaking extension. Jacksonville has a tough game against the Saints on Sunday, and it looks like Gardner Minshew will be leading them into the game shorthanded.

Here’s more from the AFC:

  • Speaking of injured cornerbacks, Steelers corner Steven Nelson won’t be playing this week either. Nelson suffered a groin injury during the team’s Week 5 loss to the Ravens, and the team just announced he’s been ruled out. In his place, Pittsburgh will start 2016 first-round pick Artie Burns. Burns has been labeled a bust by many and the Steelers declined his fifth-year option this past offseason, which shows you how they feel about him. Nelson had been playing pretty well alongside Joe Haden, so this is a big downgrade to the Steelers’ secondary as they prepare to take on the Chargers.
  • Add one more young assistant coach to the list of ones to monitor in the Chiefs’ Mike Kafka. Kafka is “very well respected” and is a possible future head coach, tweets Adam Caplan of Sirius XM NFL radio. Kafka was a former backup quarterback for the Eagles, and he now works under his former head coach Andy Reid. Kafka is Patrick Mahomes‘ position coach and there’s a long history of former Reid assistants landing head jobs, so it certainly makes sense.
  • In case you missed it, the Jets moved on from quarterback Luke Falk after he started the last two weeks for them.