After weeks of suspicious injuries and missed practices, the Jacksonville Jaguars finally sent All-Pro CB Jalen Ramsey packing. Late Tuesday afternoon Ramsey was sent to the Los Angeles Rams in a blockbuster trade featuring years’ worth of picks. Dustin takes a look at early winners and losers of this trade and what it means for both teams going forward.
Winner- Jalen Ramsey
After arriving to training camp in a literal Brinks truck, Ramsey made it very clear that he expected to be paid and paid well. After it became known that the Jaguars were not likely to be spending that much money to retain him, he requested a trade. In the weeks since his trade request, he has missed 3 games for various reasons (birth of his second child and a suspicious lingering back injury). That the Jaguars finally found a trade partner is great news for Ramsey, who is still one of the top CB’s in the entire NFL. Still, he’s looking to get paid and will immediately turn his attention to the Rams and their accounting department.
Loser- The Rams’ Salary Cap
As currently constructed, the Rams have about $3.3 million in cap space. Huge extensions to Aaron Donald, Todd Gurley and Jared Goff has already limited the team’s flexibility but now adding in Ramsey, a premium CB who expects to be paid as such, they’re going to have to get extremely creative. The move is clearly an all-in attempt to turn the season around and make another run to the Super Bowl while they can. Earlier Tuesday the team sent CB Marcus Peters to Baltimore in exchange for LB Kenny Young. Coupled with them placing CB Aqib Talib on Injured Reserve, many fans were holding out hope that this meant a move for Ramsey was imminent. Now that he’s on the team, it’s going to be on the Rams’ front office to make any moves needed to put together a long-term deal for Ramsey or they’ll be dealing with the same situation that the Jaguars were in. After trading for Ramsey, unless the Rams make some more moves, this would make it 5 straight drafts for the team without a first-round pick. This makes it even more important for them to get creative with the cap and to nail later round picks going forward.
Winners- Aaron Donald, Wade Phillips and the Rams Defense
Aaron Donald is arguably the best player in football on either side of the ball. He is a terrifying defender that draws double, triple and even quadruple coverages on almost every snap he plays. His ability to pressure the QB paired with Ramsey’s shutdown abilities and uncanny knack for the ball gives defensive coordinator Wade Phillips endless possibilities to get creative with his scheming. Ramsey is an immediate upgrade over just about anyone but especially Marcus Peters who leads the league in pointing at teammates and asking where his help was on a big play.
Loser- Jared Goff
Remember how all season long analysts and critics have examined Jared Goff and questioned if his contract extension was a mistake? Well the Ramsey trade multiples that scrutiny by 1000. The pressure has been on Goff to resemble his first two seasons with Sean McVay and so far, the results have been less than promising. An all-in trade for a player of Ramsey’s caliber means that spotlight just got even hotter and brighter. Fans, coaches and even teammates are going to be counting on Goff to deliver even more than before. Throw in the fact that Ramsey has had less than flattering words about Goff before, and this situation is going to be extremely interesting to watch going forward.
Winners- The Jaguars’ Front Office
The Jaguars had reportedly had a steep asking price when fielding offers for their disgruntled superstar, and while they didn’t quite get that much in return, the front office should be feeling pretty damn good right now. The Rams are sending first-round picks in 2020 and 2021 in addition to a fourth-round pick in 2021. Combined with earlier trades with the Rams and Steelers, the Jags are building a nice little stockpile of assets to continue building their team. The surprise emergence of rookie QB Gardner Minshew after Nick Foles went down with a broken collarbone in Week 1 has given the Jaguars even more room to breathe. If Minshew continues to trend upwards on his extremely affordable rookie deal, the team may look into trading Foles and acquiring even more future assets. Whatever they decide to do, they are positioning themselves to be a major player in the AFC going forward.
Losers- Baltimore Ravens, Philadelphia Eagles
Both teams had previously been mentioned as potential landing spots in a Jalen Ramsey trade but the Rams swooping in has left both teams out in the cold. The Ravens get the consolation prize of adding Marcus Peters, while frustrating, Peters should help improve CB play for the inconsistent Ravens defense. The Eagles meanwhile, continue to be an extremely hot and cold team this season. Coming off a drubbing at the hands of the Vikings, they could’ve used Ramsey to help them limit opposing offenses as they wait for their offense to get healthy and start clicking again. It’ll be interesting to see what moves the teams make to try to sure up their defenses as the season goes on but for now they’re on the outside looking in.
Time will tell what impacts will have on both teams and the league as a whole going forward. What is certain is that it will be fascinating to see how the Rams defense looks with Ramsey and what the Rams are going to do with their salary cap. In a win-now league, no team is going harder than the Rams, now it’s time for them to prove it’s worth it.