Jalen Ramsey

NFC West Notes: Rams, Hopkins, Seahawks

Coming off disappointing seasons, the Cardinals and Rams may be looking to make high-profile cost cuts. DeAndre Hopkins and Jalen Ramsey may well be available in trades, with the Washington Post’s Jason La Canfora noting deals involving the two former All-Pros will come down to “when” and they are moved and not “if.” Both Ramsey and Hopkins have already been traded, each moving from the AFC South to the NFC West — Ramsey in 2019 and Hopkins in 2020. Although Ramsey required two first-round picks to be pried from Jacksonville, La Canfora adds neither player should be expected to bring in the kind of haul fans would anticipate.

Both talents are signed to lucrative extensions. Ramsey’s five-year, $100MM deal (which set the cornerback market in 2020) runs through 2025. Hopkins’ $27.25MM contract runs through 2024. Ramsey, 28, should be expected to command more in a trade compared to Hopkins, 30. Coming off a suspension- and injury-limited 2022, latter has been rumored to be a possible trade chip. Several teams called the Cardinals on Hopkins at the deadline. Ramsey, however, has been a dependable piece in L.A. His exit would leave the Rams vulnerable at corner, considering they have rotated low-cost pieces around Ramsey at the position for years.

A Ramsey trade before June 1 is not especially palatable for the Rams, who are again projected to enter the offseason over the cap. Dealing the All-Pro talent after that date, however, would save the team $17MM. The Rams having not restructured Ramsey’s deal makes a trade something to monitor, The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue notes (subscription required). Here is the latest from the NFC West:

  • This season’s Rams staff did not particularly appeal to Sean McVay by season’s end, Peter King of NBC Sports notes. Upon returning, McVay is expected to make staff changes. This may have been behind the Rams’ call to allow their position coaches to interview for other jobs without the threat of blocking the meeting. Whatever the reason, the Rams’ staff should look different in 2023. McVay also likely has a bit of regret of not taking a major TV job last year, per King, who adds no top-level gig was on the table for the six-year Rams HC this year.
  • The Rams will attempt to extend one of their UFA-to-be D-line starters (A’Shawn Robinson and Greg Gaines), Rodrigue adds, but probably will not keep both. A former sixth-round pick who has started for the past two seasons, Gaines appears likelier — per Rodrigue — to be the team’s higher priority. Robinson’s expected market value could price out the Rams, who have Aaron Donald making a cool $10MM more than any other interior D-lineman.
  • Jamal Adams, who suffered a torn quad tendon in Week 1, remains without a timetable, Pete Carroll said this week. Jordyn Brooks‘ ACL surgery is scheduled for Friday. The late-season ACL tear will make top Seahawks tackler a candidate to begin next season on the PUP list. Surgery could be in the cards for tight end Will Dissly, but he will first attempt to rehab his knee injury without a procedure (Twitter links via the Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta).
  • Despite issues in the first season under DC Clint Hurtt, the Seahawks are planning neither staff changes nor a move back to a 4-3 defense, Carroll said. Seattle, which brought in Hurtt and ex-Bears DC Sean Desai to install a Vic Fangio-style scheme, finished outside the top 20 in yards, points and DVOA this season.
  • The second-team All-Pro nod 49ers special-teamer George Odum received will increase his 2023 base salary by $250K, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Odum, who signed with the 49ers in 2022 after a Colts tenure, will also collect a $250K incentive for the All-Pro nod. Odum led the league with 21 special teams tackles. Attached to a three-year deal worth $5.7MM, Odum has become one of the NFL’s best special-teamers. He earned first-team All-Pro acclaim in 2020.

Rams Make Adjustments To Original PUP Assignments

JULY 24: After originally announcing some PUP moves on their website Friday night, the Rams have made a couple of adjustments to the list before it becomes final on Tuesday.

Head coach Sean McVay informed reporters that the team “decided to pivot and not place (cornerback) Jalen Ramsey on the PUP list,” according to ESPN’s Sarah Barshop. McVay conveyed that the team doctors had been able to clear Ramsey to participate in “above the neck” drills in camp. Ramsey would not have been allowed to work in such drills if he were placed on PUP.

Linebacker Travin Howard is also not going to be placed on the PUP list, but, unfortunately, will still be placed on the team’s non-football injury list, according to Josh Alper of NBC Sports. The change in placement is due to the disclosure of information that Howard’s injury occurred in workouts leading up to camp. Howard will see a core muscle specialist in Philadelphia this week for surgery with hopes of being ready by the start of the regular season.

Lastly, the Rams added one more player to the PUP list in addition to Lake and Williams (who were originally reported below). Wide receiver Warren Jackson will join the two as physically unable to perform, according to Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network.

JULY 23: The Rams have placed four players on the physically unable to perform list. According to the team’s website, defensive back Jalen Ramsey, linebacker Travin Howard, safety Quentin Lake, and running back Kyren Williams were all placed on PUP.

Ramsey played all of last season with tears in both shoulders, leading to an offseason operation. It’s only been a month since the defensive back decided to go under the knife, so he was always expected to be limited for the early parts of training camp. As head coach Sean McVay told reporters, the team is mostly focused on having Ramsey on the field for the start of the regular season.

“The thing with Jalen is, you want to see what the timetable is, because there are some parameters where you lose the ability to do certain things you might want to, but that’s definitely going to be a topic [Vice President, Sports Medicine and Performance Reggie Scott and I] will discuss this afternoon,” McVay said (via the team’s website). “But he’s doing good. He’s been attacking the rehab the right way. He’s feeling good. When we did do that surgery on him, obviously most importantly was how he felt about it, but then with the goal in mind of, alright, attack the rehab the right way, and most importantly, be ready for Sept. 8, ready to go. So we’ll be smart about that progress for him.”

Ramsey had another incredible season in 2021, culminating in him earning a Super Bowl ring. He finished the regular season with 77 tackles, 16 passes defended, and four interceptions in 16 games, with Pro Football Focus grading him as the top CB in the NFL. The performance also earned him his fifth Pro Bowl nod and third first-team All-Pro recognition. Ramsey started each of the Rams four playoff contests, collecting another 13 tackles.

Howard, who has mostly played a special teams role since joining the Rams, pulled his groin was training on his own. Williams, a rookie fifth-round pick, is still recovering from a broken foot suffered during offseason programs, but he’s expected to return to the field before the end of training camp. It’s uncertain what injury Lake is dealing with. The UCLA product was a sixth-round pick in this year’s draft.

Largest 2022 Cap Hits: Defense

After looking at this year’s top salary cap numbers on the offensive side of the ball, here is a rundown of the players counting the most toward their teams’ payrolls in 2022.

As could be expected, the salary figures here start below the quarterbacks. A few pass rushers, however, are tied to notable cap hits. Those numbers that check in within the top 20 leaguewide regardless of position. With the exception of true nose tackles and pure slot cornerbacks, every defensive position is represented here.

Here are the top cap figures on the defensive side for the ’22 season:

  1. T.J. Watt, OLB (Steelers): $31.12MM
  2. Chris Jones, DT (Chiefs): $29.42MM
  3. Joey Bosa, OLB (Chargers): $28.25MM
  4. Leonard Williams, DL (Giants): $27.3MM
  5. Aaron Donald, DT (Rams): $27MM
  6. Jalen Ramsey, CB (Rams): $23.2MM
  7. Deion Jones, LB (Falcons): $20.1MM
  8. Bud Dupree, OLB (Titans): $19.2MM
  9. Justin Simmons, S (Broncos): $18.85MM
  10. Javon Hargrave, DT (Eagles): $17.8MM
  11. C.J. Mosley, LB (Jets): $17.5MM
  12. Cameron Heyward, DL (Steelers): $17.42MM
  13. Robert Quinn, DE (Bears): $17.14MM
  14. Matt Judon, OLB (Patriots): $16.5MM
  15. DeForest Buckner, DT (Colts): $16MM
  16. Shaquill Griffin, CB (Jaguars): $16.44MM
  17. Tre’Davious White, CB (Bills): $16.4MM
  18. J.J. Watt, DL (Cardinals): $15.9MM
  19. Marcus Peters, CB (Ravens): $15.5MM
  20. Carl Lawson, DE (Jets): $15.33MM
  21. Eddie Jackson, S (Bears): $15.1MM
  22. Lavonte David, LB (Buccaneers): $14.79MM
  23. Budda Baker, S (Cardinals): $14.78MM
  24. Romeo Okwara, DE (Lions): $14.5MM
  25. Trey Hendrickson, DE (Bengals): $14.49MM
  • Illustrating how much the cap has climbed over the past several seasons, T.J. Watt is tied to a number nearly twice that of J.J. Watt, who has been tied to $16.7MM-per-year (a defender-record number in 2014) and $14MM-AAV deals as a pro. Trailing his older brother in Defensive Player of the Year honors, T.J. is signed to an edge defender-record $28MM-per-year accord.
  • Jones’ four-year Chiefs deal vaults from an $8.5MM cap number in 2021 to the league’s second-highest defensive figure this year. The standout defensive tackle’s cap hit accompanies Patrick Mahomes‘ $35.79MM number, which is well north of his 2021 figure, on Kansas City’s new-look payroll.
  • After two franchise tags, Williams scored a monster extension in 2021. The well-paid Giants D-lineman’s cap number this year is way up from his 2021 number ($9.4MM).
  • The Rams redid Donald’s contract last month, adding no new years to the through-2024 pact. The all-world defender’s cap hit actually decreases in 2023, dropping to $26MM
  • It is not certain Deion Jones will be back with the Falcons, who have jettisoned other Super Bowl LI cornerstones from the roster since the current regime took over in 2021. But they would save just $1MM were they to release the seventh-year linebacker.
  • To date, this represents the high-water mark for Mosley cap hits on his Jets deal, which at the time (2019) began a sea change for off-ball linebacker contracts. Mosley’s cap hit, on a pact that runs through 2024 because of the linebacker opting out of the 2020 season, increased by $10MM from 2021-22.
  • Hargrave is one of five Eagles pass rushers signed to veteran contracts. The ex-Steeler’s 2021 deal accompanies Brandon Graham, Josh Sweat, Haason Reddick, and Fletcher Cox‘s new agreement on Philadelphia’s defensive front. As cap hits do not reflect average salaries, Hargrave is the only member of this quartet tied to an eight-figure cap number in 2022.
  • Quinn has also been connected to a departure, with the 31-year-old pass rusher skipping minicamp after it became known he would like to be traded away from the rebuilding team. His cap hit tops the Bears’ payroll. The Bears would save $12.9MM by trading Quinn, should another team sign up for taking on his full 2022 base salary.

Rams CB Jalen Ramsey Underwent Shoulder Surgery

Jalen Ramsey went under the knife today. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter), the Rams cornerback has surgery on his shoulder. Ramsey is expected to be ready to go for the start of the regular season.

According to Rapoport, Ramsey played all of last season with “tears in both shoulders.” Specifically, the cornerback “played through dual sprained AC joints” for about half the year, per Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic (on Twitter). Since Ramsey was recently able to participate in workouts and on-field work, Rodrigue speculates that today’s surgery was merely a clean-up procedure.

Ramsey had another incredible season in 2021, culminating in him earning a Super Bowl ring. He finished the regular season with 77 tackles, 16 passes defended, and four interceptions in 16 games, with Pro Football Focus grading him as the top CB in the NFL. The performance also earned him his fifth Pro Bowl nod and third first-team All-Pro recognition. Ramsey started each of the Rams four playoff contests, collecting another 13 tackles.

The Rams brought in Troy Hill this offseason to pair with Ramsey. Since Ramsey will presumably be limited during the preseason, Robert Rochell, David Long Jr., and Decobie Durant should have more opportunities to compete for the third spot on the depth chart.

Tom Brady Coming Out Of Retirement, Will Rejoin Bucs

It looks like the Buccaneers’ quarterback questions have been answered for now. Get comfortable, Kyle Trask, you’ve got a bit longer to wait. After 40 days of retirement, Tom Brady has announced he will return for his 23rd season of NFL football in a tweet this evening. He announced he has unfinished business in Tampa after the team lost in the Divisional Round of the playoffs last year to the eventual-Super Bowl Champion Rams. 

Rumors of a Brady unretirement had persisted since his February 1st announcement. Brady even hinted at the possibility of a Favre-like return, coming back just in time for training camp. The Buccaneers, on the other hand, made it very clear that they had no intention of allowing Brady to play elsewhere for the 2022 NFL Season. It turns out, they have nothing to worry about for now. Brady cited his love for his teammates in his unretirement announcement.

Some details will need to be hashed out as Brady still had four years on his contract, with all years after 2022 being voided upon his retirement. Past that, Tampa Bay has several offensive pieces set to become unrestricted free agents including center Ryan Jensen, tight ends Rob Gronkowski and O.J. Howard, and running backs Leonard Fournette, Ronald Jones II, and Giovani Bernard. If they are going to attempt another glory run, these loose ends will need to be tied up.

In response to the news, no one is more happy to see the quarterback return than Rams’ cornerback Jalen Ramsey who was set to spend eternity as the last person to have Tom Brady throw a touchdown on them. On the other hand, no one is less happy to see the quarterback return than the unfortunate big-spender who just dropped $518,000 at an auction in a bid to receive Tom Brady’s final touchdown ball. Looks like there will be many other balls getting thrown past many other defensive backs before Brady retires again.

AFC East Rumors: Bills, Jets, Douglas, Jackson

On Friday, New York Governor Kathy Hochul made comments that all but guaranteed that an agreement for a new stadium for the Bills will be made soon, according to Mike Florio of NBC Sports.

Highmark Stadium (previously Rich Stadium, Ralph Wilson Stadium, and New Era Field) has been the home of the Bills since 1973. The Bills’ current lease on Highmark expires in 2023 and the franchise has been pushing with many government entities to build them a shiny, new stadium. The team has used the very real looming threat that there are plenty of other markets in the country that can support an NFL franchise.

Hochul commented on that threat saying, “That’s why we’re negotiating very intently, to make sure we have the right outcome for this community.” The new stadium will partially be funded by the public to the tune of about $850MM. The Governor claims that a deal will be done by April 1, in time for the annual budget.

Here are a few other rumors from around the AFC East, starting with a couple of notes that keep us in the Empire State:

  • The Jets are planning to use this offseason to add some weapons to the roster for quarterback Zach Wilson. They currently have Corey Davis and Elijah Moore sitting atop the depth chart. They would love to bring back Braxton Berrios as a fourth-receiver/gadget player and they haven’t yet given up on Denzel Mims. Still, New York will have ample opportunity to add a potential No. 1 receiver to the roster, according to SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano. The free agent market is home to many household names like Chris Godwin, Allen Robinson, Mike Williams, and, potentially, Amari Cooper. Players like Calvin Ridley and Cole Beasley have been rumored to be available via trade. The 2022 NFL Draft is also so rich in talented receivers that many believe some first round talent could fall to the second round where the Jets have two high picks, if they don’t choose to take a top prospect like Garrett Wilson or Drake London with the 10th overall pick.
  • That being said, Vacchiano also reports that, despite their vast spending ability, general manager Joe Douglas has been preaching the maintenance of financial flexibility. Though the Jets rank in the Top 5 in the NFL in salary cap space, Douglas rejected the notion that their $50-60MM in cap space will be dedicated to big spending in free agency. Douglas acknowledged free agency as just one of “a lot of different tools to improve your roster” and pointed to the Bengals as an example of responsible free agent spending. “I think Cincy did great in free agency last year,” he said. “They didn’t blow the doors off in terms of signing super high-priced guys. They brought in guys who fit exactly what they wanted to do.”
  • According to Mike Giardi of NFL Network, Patriots’ cornerback JC Jackson is likely headed for free agency with some lofty expectations. While Jackson still likes the Patriots, money is a big factor for the 26-year-old. Giardi claims that Jackson is strictly seeking compensation similar to Jalen Ramsey. New England won’t bring that money to the table and it sounds like they won’t be utilizing their franchise tag on Jackson, either. That information could lead to a tag and trade situation if other teams aren’t willing to shell out for Jackson in free agency.

AFC Rumors: Jackson, Ravens, Jaguars, Chargers

The Patriots’ defense struggled in their Wild Card loss to the division rival Bills. That struggle could perhaps have a noticeable effect on cornerback J.C. Jackson‘s future. An undrafted free agent in 2018, Jackson was on a one-year extension this season, meaning last week’s loss is the last game he will have played before potentially hitting the free agent market.

The game was possibly Jackson’s worst in his four-year career, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN, who called out Jackson’s technique playing the ball, coverage breakdowns, and overall effort. Reiss went on to deliberate on the odds of New England tagging the second-team All-Pro, which currently projects as a $17.28MM tag. Reiss believes that Jackson’s playoff performance could prevent New England from using their franchise tag on him at all. The Patriots could always agree on an extension with Jackson, but after an impressive, healthy season, the 26-year old will likely want to test the free agency waters.

Here are a few more notes from the AFC, starting with an item out of the North:

  • We got a bit of peek behind the scenes from Fox Sports’ Peter Schrager who tweeted out that, after some debate on who to take with their first of two third-round picks, the Rams got intel that Baltimore planned to draft Cooper Kupp at 74th overall. The Rams selected the now first-team All-Pro and Baltimore used their pick on current Steeler Chris Wormley.
  • Jalen Ramsey spoke recently with Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic about the events that lead to his exit from Jacksonville. Rodrigue did a deep-dive on Ramsey’s journey and the three-time All-Pro expanded on how undervalued he felt by the Jaguars’ staff and detailed an explosive meeting with the team’s top brass that lead to his eventual trade request.
  • In a tweet earlier this week, LA Daily News reporter Gilbert Manzano gave an account from Chargers’ general manager Tom Telesco on the pending free agency of wide receiver Mike Williams. Telesco praised Williams, who topped 1,000 yards receiving for the second time in his career this season, calling him a big part of the team but didn’t discuss how he planned to move forward on contract talks with the fifth-year Charger.
  • Also, in Chargers’ news, Giants’ assistant linebackers and special teams coach Anthony Blevins was interviewed to become Los Angeles’s new special teams coordinator, according to Jordan Raanan of ESPN. Giants’ special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey also met with Los Angeles and is being considered for the position.

Rams Place Jalen Ramsey, Tyler Higbee On COVID-19 List

The Rams have placed cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and Dont’e Deayon , along with tight end Tyler Higbee on the COVID-19 reserve list, per a club announcement. As well, Robert Rochell has been placed on Injured Reserve. With that, all four players will be ineligible for tonight’s marquee matchup against the Cardinals. 

The Cardinals can effectively lock up the NFC West crown with a win tonight, leaving the Rams to jockey for Wild Card placement. If Arizona was to complete the season sweep of L.A., they would remain atop the NFC at 11-2, while the loss would drop the Rams to 8-5.

Ramsey’s absence is a huge loss for a secondary that will be facing a Cardinals attack which has recently gotten back to full strength with a healthy Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins. Ramsey has 59 tackles and three interception in 2021. Without him, Darious Williams will be forced into an even heavier workload, as will David Long Jr., as the Rams’ cornerback room is suddenly dangerously thin.

Offensively, the loss of Higbee will be felt in the Rams’ passing attack. He had produced 44 receptions for 395 yards and three touchdowns so far this year. Already without wide receiver Robert Woods for the remainder of 2021, even more snaps and targets will likely be coming the way of recently-acquired Odell Beckham Jr. along with sophomore Van Jefferson.

The Cardinals won the first matchup of the season, 37-20, in Week 4. Even more than initially thought, Beckham along with Von Miller – both of whom were acquired after that game – will be counted on for the Rams.

This Date In Transactions History: Jalen Ramsey Requests Trade

The Jalen Ramsey saga in Jacksonville started in earnest on this date in 2019. On September 16, 2019, the Jaguars star cornerback requested a trade.

Before we discuss the trade demand, let’s review a bit. The fifth-overall selection in the 2016 draft quickly emerged as a star in Jacksonville. Following a rookie campaign that saw him earn PFWA All-Rookie Team honors, Ramsey took it to another level in 2017, earning a first-team All-Pro nod after finishing with 63 tackles, 17 passes defended, and four interceptions. Ramsey made his second-straight Pro Bowl in 2018, cementing himself as one of the league’s top defensive backs.

However, things weren’t especially rosy in Jacksonville. First, there was the 2018 team-imposed suspension. Then, following that 2018 campaign, the two sides started firing shots regarding an extension; Ramsey said he wanted a new deal, the Jaguars said “nah, not right now,” and then Ramsey warned that he wasn’t going to give any future discounts. While the cornerback was locked in through 2020 after the Jaguars picked up his fifth-year option, the cornerback started floating out potential suitors as early as August 2019.

Then came the bombshell. On September 16, 2019, Ramsey officially requested a trade from the Jaguars. While the defensive back was still upset about his lack of an extension, he apparently focused his anger on the coaching staff. Tensions reportedly boiled over between Ramsey and head coach Doug Marrone, as the player wanted to play man-to-man vs. the Jaguars’ preferred zone scheme. So, with Ramsey playing in an undesirable system on a rookie contract, he decided to ask out.

It sounded like a trade wouldn’t take too long to pull off. The Jaguars were open to trading their star defensive back, although they were requesting a bounty in return. A number of teams were naturally connected to Ramsey, with one report literally indicating that every team was interested.

There was little progress the week following the trade request. And there was little progress after that. At one point, Jaguars owner Shad Khan revealed that he was willing to give Ramsey a record-breaking contract, which was either a last-ditch effort to keep the player in Jacksonville or a last-ditch effort to save face. Ramsey temporarily continued playing for Jacksonville, but he eventually left the team to attend the birth of his daughter. Ramsey wouldn’t play for the Jaguars again. The team continued to hold out hope that Ramsey would change his mind, and the cornerback did eventually return to practice, but the organization finally found a trade partner for the disgruntled star.

On October 15, almost a month following the request, the Jaguars shipped Ramsey to the Rams. In exchange, Jacksonville received a 2020 first-round pick, a 2021 first-round pick, and a 2021 fourth-round pick.

Things ended up working out for Ramsey. He eventually got a hefty five-year, $105MM extension ($71.2MM guaranteed) from the Rams, and he earned a Pro Bowl nod and a first-team All-Pro selection during his first full season in Los Angeles.

It remains to be seen if the deal will work out for the Jaguars. 2020 first-round pick K’Lavon Chaisson had an underwhelming rookie campaign while 2021 first-round pick Travis Etienne will miss his entire rookie season thanks to injury. The front office used that fourth-round pick in a trade that netted the draft picks that turned into defensive end Jordan Smith and wideout Jalen Camp (who’s already been waived).

At one point in time, it looked like Ramsey could go down as one of the best players in Jaguars history. However, the cornerback drastically changed the course of his career on this day in 2019.

Jalen Ramsey: “I Highly Doubt” Deshaun Watson Plays For Texans

Deshaun Watson isn’t playing around, according to pal Jalen Ramsey. In an interview with the Huddle & Flow podcast (Twitter link), the Rams cornerback said there’s no real chance for reconciliation between the quarterback and the Texans. 

[RELATED: The Only NFL Players With No-Trade Clauses]

I highly doubt [Deshaun Watson] will suit up in a Texans’ uniform again,” Ramsey said. “He’s extremely serious.”

It’s worth noting that Ramsey and Watson are both represented by David Mulugheta, so Ramsey has more insight than most on the situation. Ramsey also knows a thing or two about forcing his way out of a toxic situation. The former face of the Jaguars ultimately got the trade he wanted, and he seems to think that Watson will also get his wish.

Watson is just one of eight known NFL players to hold a no-trade clause, which gives him extra leverage. So far, the Texans have not budged on their position. That hasn’t stopped other clubs from calling, including the Panthers, Broncos, and Dolphins. The Jets and 49ers have also been heavily linked to the star QB. According to a recent PFR poll, only ~14% of you believe that he’ll wind up staying with the Texans.