Jalen Ramsey

Dolphins Place CB Jalen Ramsey, RB Jeff Wilson On IR

Jalen Ramsey is not set to make his Dolphins debut for months. With the All-Pro cornerback in the team’s plans for 2023, he needed to be placed on the 53-man roster before an IR move could commence. The latter transaction will take place Thursday morning.

Ramsey is now on IR, and running back Jeff Wilson joins him. The latter sustained a finger injury recently. The Dolphins also placed offensive lineman Robert Jones on IR and signed cornerback Justin Bethel. Wilson must miss at least four games because of this designation. Mike McDaniel said a midsection issue also led to Wilson landing on IR; the second-year coach added he “wouldn’t be surprised” if Wilson returns this season, via the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson. That comment does not make it sound like Wilson is a lock to come back when first eligible.

Thursday’s moves give the Dolphins three potential IR-return players. Ramsey’s knee injury required surgery, a procedure that is expected to sideline the trade acquisition until at least December. Teams can bring up to eight players off IR per season, with the NFL reintroducing a limit on such moves last year.

Wilson will begin a second season on an injured list in three years. He opened the 2021 campaign on the 49ers’ reserve/PUP list due to an offseason foot injury. Formerly playing for McDaniel in San Francisco, Wilson reunited with the former 49ers run-game coordinator via a deadline-day trade last year. The veteran running back joined fellow ex-49er Raheem Mostert in re-signing with the Dolphins this offseason. Both stayed on one-year deals. The Dolphins also reupped Myles Gaskin in March, but after a release Tuesday, the fifth-year back signed with the Vikings.

Miami kept five halfbacks on its active roster. Wilson’s injury looks to have factored into that decision. Mostert, third-round pick Devon Achane, Salvon Ahmed and rookie UDFA Chris Brooks comprise the Dolphins’ group of available backs to start the season. Wilson, 27, hit the ground running in Miami last year. He averaged 4.7 yards per carry, gaining 368 and totaling three touchdowns in eight games with the Dolphins.

This injury opens the door for an early-season Achane workload, though the Texas A&M product is also dealing with an injury. Achane is not a lock to start the season on time, per McDaniel (via Jackson). Despite only coming into the draft with four selections, Miami used one on a running back. The Dolphins have also scoured the trade market and free agency for available standouts. After being connected to Dalvin Cook for months, the team went back and forth in negotiations with the Colts on Jonathan Taylor. Although no deal commenced — due in part to the Dolphins viewing the Colts’ ask as exorbitant, as one Indianapolis proposal included Jaylen Waddle — the parties can reconnect in talks ahead of the October 31 trade deadline.

Bethel, 33, re-signed with the Dolphins in March and was among the veterans the team released on cutdown day. Miami continues to have the ace special-teamer in its plans, however.

Jalen Ramsey Undergoes Surgery, Expected To Miss Extensive Time

1:48pm: The surgery Ramsey underwent will force the Dolphins to drastically alter their cornerback plan this season. Ramsey underwent a full meniscus repair Friday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (on Twitter), adding that the operation is expected to sideline the recent trade acquisition until December. Ramsey’s post-trade contract reworking fully guaranteed his 2024 salary, giving the ex-Jaguars and Rams standout some security as he prepares for rehab.

11:57am: The Dolphins’ new-look defense suffered a blow yesterday when All-Pro corner Jalen Ramsey suffered a knee injury which will require surgery. Further updates on his status and how the team is reacting to the news have emerged.

Ramsey suffered a non-contact injury, head coach Mike McDaniel indicated on Friday. The required surgery will take place later today, and the success of that procedure will determine his recovery timeline. In any event, though, Ramsey will indeed miss the beginning of the regular season as originally feared (Twitter link via Adam Beasley of Pro Football Network).

The Dolphins acquired the six-time Pro Bowler as part of their efforts to upgrade their secondary this offseason. A role which would see him play both on the boundary and in the slot under new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio was thought to be in play, but those plans will be on hold for now. McDaniel expressed confidence in the team’s remaining crop of corners, but he added (via Beasley, on Twitter) that Miami will work out depth options in the near future.

A number of experienced options remain on the open market, including William Jackson, Ronald Darby, Casey Hayward and Troy Hill. Byron Jones is also unsigned, but his Dolphins release is believed to have marked an official end to his playing days. Miami currently has just under $13.5MM in cap space, giving them plenty of flexibility to add a low-cost veteran to help offset the loss of Ramsey for what could be an extended period.

The Dolphins must approach any CB signings with the knowledge that they are still in the running for Dalvin Cook, however. A homecoming for the four-time Pro Bowl running back remains a possibility, though his upcoming Jets visit could very well lead him elsewhere in the AFC East. Attention will be paid to the success of Ramsey’s operation, but it will be worth watching how the Dolphins react after it is completed as they look to withstand the absence of their prized offseason acquisition.

Dolphins CB Jalen Ramsey To Undergo Knee Surgery, Likely To Miss Start Of Season

Jalen Ramsey‘s debut with the Dolphins likely won’t come in Week 1 after the cornerback suffered a knee injury during practice today. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter), Ramsey will undergo knee surgery and is expected to miss the start of the regular season.

NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reveals on Twitter that the All-Pro cornerback suffered a meniscus injury that could force him to miss six to eight weeks. Pelissero clarifies (on Twitter) that the best-case scenario would see Ramsey back on the field “right around the season opener.” The worst-case scenario would see the veteran sidelined for much longer, and the player’s timeline will be determined following surgery. Cameron Wolfe of NFL Network tweets that a meniscus trim would result in a speedier recovery, while a “full repair” would sideline Ramsey for much longer.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweets that doctors will determine during surgery what the best course of action is for the player. While a source cautioned that no decision has been made, RapSheet notes that the “likely outcome” would be a full meniscus repair. While this route would be the “best and healthiest option,” it would also keep Ramsey off the field until around December. For what it’s worth, Ramsey tweeted that the “end of the season push” will be “legendary,” perhaps an indication that he’ll miss more than the season opener.

Fortunately, we should have some clarity soon, as Wolfe tweets that Ramsey will have surgery on the meniscus in his left knee tomorrow. The cornerback suffered the injury during practice today after colliding with receiver Tyreek Hill. Ramsey was seen grabbing the back of his knee before he left the field. As Wolfe notes on Twitter, Ramsey previously suffered a meniscus injury in 2016 when he was a rookie with the Jaguars.

The Dolphins sent the Rams a third-round pick and tight end Hunter Long for Ramsey back in March. The 28-year-old earned his sixth-straight Pro Bowl nod in 2022, finishing with a career-high 88 tackles to go along with four interceptions and 18 pass breakups. Pro Football Focus graded Ramsey as the third-best cornerback among 118 qualifiers in 2022, with the site giving him top-10 positional marks during each of his three-plus seasons in Los Angeles (including a 2021 campaign where he finished first).

Besides his top-end production, Miami added the high-priced cornerback because of his playoff success and his versatility. The acquisition was expected to play opposite Xavien Howard on the outside with Kader Kohou manning the slot, but there were recent reports that Ramsey could see plenty of time in the slot for Miami in 2023. With Ramsey sidelined, the Dolphins could lean even more on Kohou during his second season in the NFL, and second-round rookie Cam Smith should also have an opportunity to step into a role right away. Miami will also eventually welcome back Nik Needham, who continues to recover from an Achilles injury that ended his 2022 season early.

Dolphins Eyeing Slot Work For Jalen Ramsey

When star cornerback Jalen Ramsey first changed coasts, he changed roles. After spending the majority of his time in Jacksonville as an outside cornerback, the Rams began to use utilize him a bit more in the slot, while still primarily playing him outside. Now, headed back to the east coast, there’s an expectation that the ratio of snaps will continue to shift towards the slot in Miami, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

As a young defender in Jacksonville, Ramsey was dominant while continuously playing over 80 percent of his snaps at outside cornerback. In the position, he delivered a first-team All-Pro year that saw the best defensive grades of his career, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). In the waning years of his rookie deal, he continued to play on the perimeter but failed to meet the expectations set by his stellar sophomore season.

Instead of extending the perennial Pro Bowler, the Jaguars opted to trade Ramsey to Los Angeles in the middle of his fourth year on the team. There were reported altercations with then-Jacksonville head coach Doug Marrone, and the team honored reported requests to be dealt elsewhere.

Once established in Los Angeles, the Rams began to do something the Jaguars hadn’t: move Ramsey around. During his time in LA, Ramsey played much more of a “star” role than he had the opportunity to in Jacksonville. During his first year with the Rams, the snap share only went up to about 17 percent, still a much larger share than any year with the Jaguars. By 2021, though, over 30 percent of his defensive snaps came from the slot. As a result, Ramsey began to show signs of dominance again, putting up the best defensive and coverage ratings, according to PFF, since his elite sophomore season.

In fact, 2022 saw Ramsey give up an uncharacteristically high 98.6 passer rating, driven up mostly by his play on the perimeter. When playing in the slot last year, Ramsey only gave up a 79.7 passer rating. According to Jackson, this is something that new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio will take into consideration.

Last year’s rookie standout, Kader Kohou, is expected to take the majority of snaps in the slot for the Dolphins, while Ramsey slots in opposite Xavien Howard on the outside. But Fangio plans to deploy Ramsey in the slot at times based on the success he’s seen when splitting his time between the two positions.

Fangio is blessed with a fairly deep cornerback group that includes Ramsey, Howard, Kohou, and South Carolina second-round pick Cam Smith leading the group. Nik Needham and Keion Crossen both provide serviceable depth after being forced into more playing time last year due to injuries. Release candidate Noah Igbinoghene and special teams ace Justin Bethel round out the likeliest corners to make the final 53-man roster.

That depth should allow Fangio the freedom to experiment a bit with moving pieces around without compromising the quality of play too much. This could result in Ramsey continuing the success he found in California, splitting his time in the slot and outside.

Release Candidate: CB Noah Igbinoghene

The Dolphins’ cornerbacks room could end up looking fairly different in 2023 than it did in 2022. That’s partially because of injuries that kept players like Noah Igbinoghene, Byron Jones, and Nik Needham off the field for large portions of the year. It’s also due to the acquisition of star defender Jalen Ramsey and the use of their top draft pick on South Carolina cornerback Cam Smith.

With all the adjustments, there’s a chance that Miami may have worked themselves into a situation in which a former first-round pick doesn’t make the 53-man roster at the end of the summer. According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, barring injury to his teammates, Igbinoghene may find himself to be the odd man out come final roster cuts.

Ramsey and Xavien Howard are no-brainers to make the roster, as is the rookie top pick, Smith, likely. Ramsey comes in as a three-time first-team All-Pro and a six-time Pro Bowler. Over his seven-year career, Ramsey has started in every game in which he’s made an appearance but one, and that one was his debut with the Rams five days after being traded from Jacksonville. Howard is a former first-team All-Pro and four-time Pro Bowl selection, as well. He’s twice led the league in interceptions over his seven-year career.

Smith was a three-year starter for the Gamecocks and had experience outside and in the slot in Columbia. According to another report by Jackson, the Dolphins currently have Smith focusing on playing on the outside while trying to cut down on penalties. His versatility and ability to play in the slot, though, is a point against Igbinoghene, who was drafted to start in the slot.

After that, Kader Kohou and Keion Crossen may have earned their spots after stepping up in replacement of the injured Igbinoghene and Needham last year. As an undrafted rookie last year out of Texas A&M – Commerce, Kohou ended the season as Miami’s top-ranked cornerback, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). He started 13 games for the Dolphins, appearing just over half the time in the slot. Crossen was a reliable injury replacement who contributes strongly on special teams, as well.

Of the returning injured pair, Needham has shown more in his healthy time than Igbinoghene and has had more healthy time. Needham recorded two interceptions in each of his first three seasons in the league before missing 11 games due to injury last year. He was tabbed as the starter opposite Howard when Jones was expected to be out for the year. Miami re-signed him to a one-year deal this offseason after placing a second-round restricted free agent tender on him.

Igbinoghene struggled to stay healthy in his sophomore season, as well, missing 10 games. It wouldn’t reward the Dolphins much financially to waive the fourth-year player, whose fifth-year option was declined earlier this month. According to OvertheCap.com, the Dolphins would only gain about $536K in cap space while leaving about $3.04MM on the table in dead money, no matter when they waive him.

Many were a bit surprised by the use of a first-round pick on Igbinoghene to begin with. Three years later, and he hasn’t done much to inspire confidence in playing up to his draft stock. Only appearing in 32 games out of a possible 50, and making five starts, Igbinoghene has a career 29 total tackles, five passes defensed, and one interception. His injury history has contributed to the lack of production, but Igbinoghene has struggled to make the most of the opportunities he’s been given.

Regardless, the Dolphins have a logjam forming at the cornerback position. Special teams contributions will help Crossen and veteran special teamer Justin Bethel hold on to roster spots, while Ramsey, Howard, Smith, Kohou, and Needham are all expected to stay on the team. That alone would be seven roster spots dedicated to the cornerback position. Igbinoghene will need to have a strong offseason in order to prove he’s still worthy of a roster spot come August.

AFC East Notes: Ramsey, Patriots, Hardman

A year after acquiring Tyreek Hill and Bradley Chubb via trade, the Dolphins added another standout in Jalen Ramsey. Miami became a destination for Ramsey, whom Albert Breer of SI.com notes had zeroed in on landing with the AFC East club. Sean McVay met with Ramsey in January and informed him the Rams would explore trade options, mentioning the team would explore a deal as a way to restock its draft capital and reduce costs. Rams GM Les Snead called teams two weeks before the Combine to gauge interest, and after Dolphins GM Chris Grier confirmed his team might be, Vic Fangio provided a positive opinion of Ramsey’s place in his defense.

After Ramsey’s agent informed him about a Miami deal, the All-Pro cornerback instructed his representative to make sure he ended up there. The Rams may not have traded Ramsey to the Dolphins just because he wanted to be there, Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic tweets, but they did want him out of the NFC. Snead’s price point was initially too high for the Dolphins, per Breer, but the sides settled on a package of a third-round pick and tight end Hunter Long. A far cry from what the Rams sent the Jaguars for Ramsey in 2019 — two first-round picks and a fourth — but the Dolphins now have the eighth-year veteran on the roster and have since adjusted his contract.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • The Patriots discussed DeAndre Hopkins with the Cardinals early this offseason, per The Athletic’s Jeff Howe, but they backed off due to Arizona’s ask (subscription required). The Cardinals are rumored to be seeking a second-round pick and change here. The NFC West team is not expected to land that, as Howe adds other teams believe the Cards want to dump Hopkins’ salary ($19.45MM in 2023). The Bills and Chiefs are now the closest links to the former All-Pro wideout.
  • Mecole Hardman committed to the Jets after Aaron Rodgers indicated he wanted to be traded to New York, but the ex-Chiefs wideout said (via ESPN’s Rich Cimini) the four-time MVP’s intentions did not affect his decision. While it would seem that would have at least moved the needle a bit — compared to a world in which Zach Wilson was on track for a third QB1 Jets season, at least — Hardman said he was excited to play with Garrett Wilson and Allen Lazard. Hardman added (via the New York Post’s Brian Costello) the Jets showed interest throughout his free agency, which ended with a one-year deal worth up to $6.5MM. Hardman did not elaborate on a Chiefs offer to bring him back, but he seemed to confirm the defending champions’ previously reported plan to move on.
  • A faction of the Patriots‘ locker room voiced support for Bailey Zappe during last season’s brief QB controversy, Devin McCourty confirmed during a WEEI interview (via ESPN’s Mike Reiss). “It was just a back and forth, which to me, spoke more about what we had on offense than the quarterback,” McCourty said. “We never were solidified as an offensive group that guys had full confidence in anything we were doing. There was never true hope.” The Pats, who regressed on offense in 2022, have since rehired Bill O’Brien as OC. While Mac Jones won his job back amid a dysfunctional season, the Pats will give Zappe a chance to push him this year.
  • The incentives in Mike Gesicki‘s one-year, $4.5MM Patriots contract include $300K bumps starting at the 40-reception mark, Doug Kyed of AtoZSports.com tweets. Gesicki could collect $1.2MM if he reaches 70 catches in 2023. There are also up to $1.2MM in available yardage incentives, with that escalator package starting at 450 yards and ending at 750. Playing-time incentives are also included in the package.
  • Up to $4MM in incentives are present in Riley Reiff‘s one-year, $5MM deal. He will earn $800K by playing 53% of the Pats’ offensive snaps, per Kyed (on Twitter). These figures decrease the higher the snap rate goes, but Reiff can earn all $4.5MM by reaching an 80% snap rate.

Latest On CB Jalen Ramsey, Dolphins

It was expected early after acquiring star cornerback Jalen Ramsey in exchange for tight end Hunter Long and a third-round pick that the Dolphins would be looking for a way to rework Ramsey’s contract. According to Mike Florio of NBC Sports, Miami was able to reach that new deal with Ramsey yesterday, and the changes give the Dolphins a little bit of breathing room in cap space after taking on such a monumental contract.

As expected, the new contract has reduced the amount that Ramsey will receive in 2023 to assist the Dolphins in creating more cap space. In the original contract that Miami inherited, Ramsey was set to earn $17MM in 2023, $18.5MM in 2024, and $19.5MM in 2025. Those amounts are all reduced as a result of adding new bonuses throughout the deal.

Under the new contract, Ramsey receives an $8.84MM signing bonus and will earn $1.17MM of base salary fully guaranteed in 2023, $14.5MM of base salary fully guaranteed in 2024, and a $15.5MM base salary in 2025. Ramsey will be due a 2024 offseason roster bonus of $11MM, fully guaranteed, and a 2025 offseason roster bonus of $4MM. The new deal also includes $2.5MM escalators for 2024 and 2025.

After the $10MM that Ramsey receives from his signing bonus and base salary this year, the former All-Pro is still giving up $7MM in cash in 2023. In exchange, the $5MM of guarantees Ramsey had remaining on the contract from Los Angeles has increased. He now has $35.5MM in full guarantees to look forward to in his new contract.

As a result, the Dolphins are also rewarded with a bit of cap relief. Ramsey was set to count for $17MM against the 2023 salary cap, and now, he’ll only account for $4.11MM. According to OverTheCap.com, the Dolphins are in the middle of the pack in the NFL, functioning with an effective cap space of about $12.76MM.

Dolphins Acquire Jalen Ramsey From Rams

The Rams have agreed to trade CB Jalen Ramsey to the Dolphins, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link). CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson first reported that the two sides were deep in talks and that a deal seemed likely.

Miami is acquiring Ramsey in exchange for a third-round pick (No. 77, specifically) in this year’s draft, along with tight end Hunter Long. The ‘Fins will now be on the hook for the remainder of Ramsey’s contract, which runs through 2025.

The 28-year-old was scheduled to carry cap hits ranging from $22.7MM to $26.7MM over the next three years, figures which would represent a significant burden to any acquiring team. However, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets that his contract has been re-worked upon the deal being finalized. As a result, Ramsey has been given an additional $25MM in guaranteed compensation on top of what he was already owed in salary and bonuses, though his impact on Miami’s cap sheet may likely be lessened as well.

The Rams’ acquisition of the former top-five pick in 2019 was one of several blockbuster deals the team made as part of their aggressive approach to trades and free agency in recent years. It helped them earn a Super Bowl title, but has now put them in a financial situation where notable departures are set to continue dominating their offseason. Edge rusher Leonard Floyd has already been released, and the same will be true of linebacker Bobby Wagner once the new league year begins.

Once the news came out that Wagner’s Los Angeles tenure would end after only one season, it was reported that a trade sending Ramsey out of town was expected to take place. The light return the Rams are receiving compared to the price they paid to acquire him from the Jaguars (a pair of first-round picks, along with a fourth-rounder), along with what they were reportedly seeking in a deal, speaks to how urgently they wanted to offload his contract before the start of free agency.

The Florida State alum remained productive in what amounted to a disastrous 2022 season for the Rams. He recorded four interceptions and 18 pass breakups while being one of few key players able to stay healthy for the entire campaign. While his coverage stats were the worst of his three full seasons in Los Angeles, Ramsey will still return to Florida carrying significant expectations.

The Dolphins took a step forward on offense last season, the first with head coach Mike McDaniel in place. Their defense struggled, however, particularly against the pass. Miami ranked 27th in passing yards allowed per game, and 29th in interceptions, pointing to a need to add to their secondary. That became especially true when it was learned that cornerback Byron Jones – who missed the entire 2022 campaign due to injury – was unlikely to play again in the NFL. He will be released once the new league year begins on Wednesday.

Ramsey will provide an upgrade to a CB room which already features Xavien Howard. Those two, along with versatile safety Jevon Holland, will anchor the Dolphins’ secondary as their defense enters a new era under DC Vic Fangio. The veteran staffer came back to the coaching ranks this offseason on a deal which makes him the highest-paid coordinator in the league. His presence should allow for a rebound defensively for the Dolphins, who still qualified for the postseason in 2022 despite their underwhelming performance on that side of the ball and quarterback injuries.

Long, a third-round pick in 2021, has made just one catch across 16 games spent with the Dolphins. He will provide depth at the TE position for the Rams, while creating a further roster hole at that spot for Miami. Mike Gesicki is widely expected to depart in free agency after his usage took a step back within McDaniel’s new scheme. While the Dolphins will likely be active replacing him and Long, they have landed a major addition to their defense for the intermediate future.

Rory Parks contributed to this post.

Rams Receiving Calls On Jalen Ramsey, Eyeing Edge Rushers

The centerpiece of their secondary since sending the Jaguars two first-round picks ahead of the 2019 trade deadline, Jalen Ramsey now looks unlikely to return to the Rams.

A trade is expected, and Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic notes the Rams have already received calls from multiple teams on the high-profile chip (subscription required). Moving Ramsey stands to both replenish the Rams’ draft capital — an oft-discarded war chest during Sean McVay‘s tenure — and invite serious questions about the team’s coverage capabilities next season.

As far as what Ramsey could bring back, NBC Sports’ Peter King mentions a low-end first-round pick — from a team like the Chiefs, Bills or Cowboys — or a package fronted by a second-rounder could be available. By Rams standards, their 2023 draft arsenal does not look too bad. They hold a second-round choice and 10 picks overall. Though, only three of those will arrive before the fifth round.

The Rams may want more than just one first-round pick, with Rodrigue adding it will probably take a 2023 first-rounder or future first and at least one other pick. Although Los Angeles has made it known Ramsey is available, this price would count on a bidding war taking shape. A January report indicated the Rams were unlikely to fetch a first-rounder for Ramsey, but this seems to the be goal.

Pro Football Focus has rated Ramsey, who will play his age-29 season in 2023, as a top-20 cornerback in each of his three full seasons with the Rams. His three first-team All-Pro nods (2017, 2020, 2021) are tied for sixth among corners in NFL history. No active corner matches that feat, putting Ramsey squarely on the Hall of Fame radar. It would cost the Rams $19.6MM to trade Ramsey before June 1, and a team that acquired him would be taking on a $17MM base salary this year. Ramsey’s $20MM-per-year deal runs through 2025, though Rodrigue adds the Rams would likely rework the eighth-year veteran’s deal. That would help facilitate a move and increase the attainable compensation.

This would deplete a Rams team that cut future Hall of Famer Bobby Wagner. Both David Long and Troy Hill are free agents at corner. The team also has its edge rusher situation to clean up this offseason. The Rams offered their two-first-rounder platter to the Panthers for Brian Burns, though the picks being in 2024 and ’25 affected Carolina’s decision to pass, and pursued Bradley Chubb last year. This all came about after Von Miller spurned the team for the Bills, who offered guarantees into Year 3 — which the Rams and Cowboys did not.

While some in the front office did not want to re-sign Miller, per Rodrigue, who notes age- and injury-related concerns were behind these skeptics’ hesitancy on this front. Still, the Rams had made an aggressive push. Their subsequent Allen Robinson investment — enabled by the funds free from Miller’s Buffalo choice — tanked. Leonard Floyd‘s $16MM-AAV deal remains on the Rams’ books, but the Rams missed Miller in 2022. Floyd registered a team-high nine sacks; no other Rams outside linebacker notched more than one. As such, Rodrigue adds the team will pursue edges in free agency, via trade and through the draft.

The team has Aaron Donald signed for two more seasons. Capitalizing on what remains of the all-time great’s prime would be prudent. Then again, the Rams have exhausted resources attempting to do this — and largely succeeding — throughout the McVay-Les Snead partnership. It will be interesting to see the team attempt to go the other way, via trading Ramsey for draft capital and importing vital cost-controlled talent onto the roster.

Rams CB Jalen Ramsey Likely To Be Traded

A day after finding out that Los Angeles will be parting ways with linebacker Bobby Wagner, news broke that the Rams may be parting with another key defensive piece. According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, sources believe it is very likely that star cornerback Jalen Ramsey gets dealt in the coming weeks.

Ramsey came to Los Angeles initially via trade back in 2019 after a bit of turbulence in Jacksonville. The former No. 5 overall pick in 2016 saw 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 a first-team All-Pro in his sophomore season and made the Pro Bowl in every year after his rookie year. Despite his stellar play in the defensive backfield, as a team, the Jaguars only made the playoffs once, reaching the AFC Championship in 2017.

Early in 2019, a verbal altercation took place between Ramsey and then-Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone following a Week 2 loss to the Texans with reports leaking that the two had to be physically restrained. Soon after, reports surfaced that Ramsey had requested a trade. Ramsey would play a few days later but would miss the next three weeks with reasons ranging from injury to the birth of his daughter. It would be his last game with the Jaguars before getting traded to Los Angeles for two first-round picks and a fourth-round pick.

The Rams knew they were in a position where they needed to go all-in on the near future and showed that by making Ramsey the highest-paid cornerback in NFL history. They signed Ramsey to a five-year, $105MM extension, vaulting him past Tre’Davious White, who had nabbed the highest-paid cornerback title days before averaging only $17.5MM per year. Ramsey responded to the new deal with one of his least flashy seasons, statistically, 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 faces the trade market once again. Ramsey is due to have a base salary of $17MM this year, the largest year in the contract’s term, with a $25.2MM cap hit. The Rams built a potential out in the contract that would allow them to release Ramsey at the end of next season with a dead cap hit of only $11.4MM, as opposed to the $32.1MM of dead cap they would be left with if they cut him today. The moves Los Angeles has made lately point to cost-cutting, cap-clearing behavior. If they continue in this manner, it stands to reason that Ramsey, who holds the third-largest cap hit in 2023 for the Rams, should be on the trade block.

As for a trade destination, 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 likely want to go to a team with winning potential. The Rams may honor that, or they may take the deal that best sets them up for future success.

For teams with winning potential, the Ravens could see Marcus Peters walk in free agency and haven’t had the best luck with their cornerback depth behind him and Marlon Humphrey. Baltimore loves investing in the cornerback position and pairing Ramsey up with Humphrey, Marcus Williams, Kyle Hamilton, and (maybe) Chuck Clark would give the Ravens a lockdown secondary. The Bills have some talent at cornerback, but injuries really hurt their depth throughout 2022. The Bengals are a team that endeavors to become an AFC power, but up-and-down play in the secondary has hurt them in the recent past.

As for teams with top 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 standout talent at the position and also hold a top-10 draft pick. There are plenty of other teams that meet halfway on the scale of winning potential and draft capital and could use Ramsey’s talent. Teams like the Patriots, Steelers, Lions, Dolphins, and Chargers fit this category.

As mentioned above, the Rams went all-in in the early 2020s. It paid off with a victory in Super Bowl LVI, but they are now facing the consequences. They need to build for the future but have all their assets tied up in current, massive contracts. Releasing Wagner and trading Ramsey could help alleviate some of that financial stress.

Another implication of this situation is in the contract details. It has become commonplace for teams to sign star players to massive contracts that put off larger salaries to later years to delay cap hits, allowing them to eventually renegotiate contracts and avoid the cap trouble entirely. This has led to multiple 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 recently have seen an increase in guaranteed money. It provides an example for why a player like Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is pushing for a contract that not only rewards him with a high salary but also guarantees he will receive that money.

We’ll closely monitor the situation with Ramsey moving forward. Luckily for both parties, it appears that this trade situation for Ramsey is much less fraught than that of years past with Jacksonville. The hope is that the two parties will find a way to move Ramsey in a way that truly benefits both player and team.