The Rams find themselves in a tough situation this offseason. They have one of the worst cap situations in the league following a season where they had the worst record of a Super Bowl-winning team in NFL history. On top of that, Los Angeles has very limited draft capital because their first-round pick that landed at sixth overall belongs to the Detroit Lions from the Matthew Stafford/Jared Goff trade. There are not a lot of ways the Rams could improve their rosters this off-season.
Los Angeles has already been forced to make some tough decisions this offseason. A few days ago they decided they are going to release Second Team All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner one season into his five-year $50 million contract he signed last offseason. Now according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Los Angeles Rams are shopping Pro Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey.
If Los Angeles was going to move one of their star players for draft capital and cap release it felt like Ramsey would be the first to hit the trade block. He was acquired in a mid-season trade by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2019 to put the Rams over the top as Super Bowl contenders. In his second full season with the team, Ramsey helped the Rams win the Super Bowl against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Since being drafted fourth overall in 2016, Ramsey has been considered one of the best cornerbacks in the league. He has been named First Team All-Pro three times in his career and has been voted to the Pro Bowl in each of the last six seasons. His Super Bowl contributions last offseason solidify Ramsey as a future Hall of Famer.
Over the past three seasons, Ramsey hasn’t played the traditional outside cornerback position that most players of Ramsey’s caliber play. Instead, he lines up in the star position. He is essentially a nickel-cornerback/sub-linebacker hybrid who covers in the middle of the field. Ramsey has been outstanding at locking down the middle of the field since transitioning to that role. It is fair to say that despite how great of a player Ramsey is, it is a luxury to have a player of his caliber playing that role for their defense.
Los Angeles hopes that by moving Ramsey they could acquire the draft capital and gain the cap space needed to improve this roster. By trading Ramsey, Los Angeles would only free up $5.6 million in cap space and take on a $19.6 million dead cap hit. Here are the teams that could look to acquire Ramsey this off-season.
Las Vegas Raiders
Proposed Trade: Las Vegas Raiders trade 2023 first-round pick (7th overall) and 2023 second-round pick (38th overall) to the Los Angeles Rams for Jalen Ramsey, 2023 second-round pick (36th overall), and 2023 third-round pick (70th overall)
After cutting Derek Carr it appears that the Las Vegas Raiders are headed toward a rebuild. However, with $46.3 million in cap space and a lot of talented veterans on this roster, the team may look to retool the roster instead of tearing it down. Acquiring a player like Ramsey would show the rest of the league that the Raiders are looking to be competitive this season.
Las Vegas has needed to make upgrades in the secondary every season for the better part of a decade. They have attempted to fix the position group by drafting players in the first two rounds like Karl Joseph, Gareon Conley, Obi Melifonwu, Trayvon Mullen, Jonathan Arbam, Damon Arnette, and Tre’von Moehrig. They also traded pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue for former second-round pick Rock Ya-Sin last offseason. In recent years the only defensive backs that Las Vegas can point to as solid starters going forward for their defense are Moehrig and 2021 fifth-round pick Nate Hobbs.
The Raiders have lacked an outside cornerback they can rely on to cover opposing number-one receivers for a long time. Rather than trying to draft and develop another defensive back Las Vegas could try to acquire one of the elite defensive backs in the league in Ramsey. Last offseason the Raiders addressed their need for a number-one receiver by trading for Davante Adams. Who is to say that the Raiders won’t do something similar this year and acquire Ramsey?
Ramsey may be interested in joining the Raiders because he had an interest in the team when he was on the trade block earlier in his career. A recent interview with Ramsey from a few months ago exposed the fact that Ramsey asked the Jaguars to trade him to the Raiders. That type of information being exposed could be the reason why the Rams trade Ramsey to the Raiders.
If he was to get traded to the Raiders, Ramsey would likely have to return to playing outside cornerback full-time. Third-year player Nate Hobbs has been one of the best slot cornerbacks in the league since he was drafted. Adding Ramsey to this secondary could help this pass defense immensely. Las Vegas’ defense would have plenty of stars including Ramsey, Maxx Crosby, Chandler Jones, Nate Hobbs, and Tre’von Moehrig.
Proposed Trade: Philadelphia Eagles trade 2023 First Round Pick (31st overall), 2023 Second Round Pick (63rd overall), 2024 Third Round Pick to the Los Angeles Rams for Jalen Ramsey
Last season the Philadelphia Eagles arguably had the most well-rounded roster in the league. Their star-studded roster came within three points of winning the Super Bowl a few weeks ago. There are a large number of impact players that are slated to be free agents from the NFC Champions. Philadelphia cannot afford to lose many of those free agents if they expect to be legitimate contenders next season. Already this offseason the Eagles lost both coordinators Shane Steichen and Jonathan Gannon to head coaching jobs.
For a team that sustained great success throughout the entire season, they have an abundance of draft capital. Philadelphia was supposed to have three first-round picks last year from their trade down in the 2021 NFL Draft and the Carson Wentz trades. They then made a blockbuster deal with the Saints to spread out their draft capital over the next two drafts. Philadelphia has both the 10th and 31st picks in the 2023 NFL Draft.
One of the major free agents expected to hit the market for Philadephia is Second Team All-Pro cornerback James Bradberry. The Eagles were able to sign him to a cheap one-year deal because the New York Giants let go of him late in the offseason after the draft. Philadelphia’s cornerback room, secondary, and defense overall were one of its major strengths and some of the best in the league. It is unlikely that the Eagles retain Bradberry because of the value he is expected to have on the market and other free agents
The Eagles have two options when it comes to how they could address the cornerback position this offseason. Philadelphia is expected to take a young cornerback early in the 2023 NFL Draft to pair with veteran Darius Slay. But if Philadelphia wants to ensure that they are Super Bowl contenders next season they could make a blockbuster move and trade for a player like Ramsey with their extra draft capital.
Ramsey would keep the Eagles in the Super Bowl conversation and among one of the better overall rosters in the league. Philadelphia’s new-look defense would still have a loaded and arguably better secondary than they had the year prior. Ramsey’s current cap hit of $5.6 million would keep him an option for the Philadelphia Eagles who has a tight cap situation where they have to retain many veterans. Then they could extend Ramsey paying him what he is worth on the open market and making their cap situation easier going forward.
Proposed Trade: Detroit Lions trade 2023 First-Round Pick (18th overall) and 2023 Third-Round Pick (82nd overall) to the Los Angeles Rams for Jalen Ramsey and 2023 Sixth-Round Pick (via Tennessee Titans) (190th overall)
The Detroit Lions were one of the most exciting teams in the NFL last season. They were in shootouts all throughout the season. Detroit’s defensive struggles were part of why they fell just short of a playoff run a season ago. The Lions run-defense got better throughout the season, but their pass-defense needs to improve in a major way this offseason.
After the past two seasons Detroit may look for a new player that could trust to be their top cornerbacks. Former third overall pick Jeff Okudah hasn’t lived up to expectation. It may be better for Okudah and the Lions overall to bring in a veteran to this cornerback room. Detroit has the resources and cap space to improve their cornerback room. They could add the best cornerback available this offseason by trading for Ramsey.
Detroit may have an advantage when it comes to negotiating with Los Angeles because of the relationship between the front offices. Lions general manager Brad Holmes was the Director of Scouting for the Rams under general manager Les Snead before getting the job in Detroit. They also negotiated the blockbuster Matthew Stafford/Jared Goff deal back in 2021. Snead may feel comfortable making a deal with his former associate based on their relationship. Despite their relationship it is unlikely that Detroit gives Los Angeles the sixth overall pick back.
Ramsey would be joining a talented defense loaded with a ton of young talent. Detroit has foundational pieces on that defense including Aidan Hutchinson, Alim McNeil, Jeff Okudah, Kerby Joseph, James Houston, and Malcolm Rodriguez. The Lions are lacking a veteran superstar to lead this young defense and elivate the play of the entire unit. A former Super Bowl champion with the individual accolades of Ramsey would be the perfect player for the Lions to add to their team that’s looking to contend as soon as next season.
Trade Proposal: The Pittsburgh Steelers trade 2023 Second Round Pick (32nd overall) and 2023 Second Round Pick (50th overall) to the Los Angeles Rams for Jalen Ramsey
Despite having major gaps in their roster the Pittsburgh Steelers found a way to finish with a 9-8 record. Mike Tomlin deserves a lot of credit for getting this roster to play as well as they did down the stretch this year. Pittsburgh has an extremely well coached roster that could make life difficult for the other teams in the AFC North. That division is loaded with talent, especially on the offensive side of the ball. The Steelers may need to make huge additions to their roster if they want to make sure they are in the thick of things in the division and AFC overall.
Coming into this past year the Steelers have had major needs across their offensive line and in their secondary. They currently have the draft capital and could easily have the cap space to make some huge additions to their roster to address those needs. Pittsburgh need to capitalize on the fact that their starting quarterback is on a rookie deal. This could be the best opportunity for the Steelers to continue to build a loaded roster that could make them contenders.
The Steelers organization feels like the perfect fit to add a player like Jalen Ramsey. They are an extremely classy organization with a reputation filled with winning and producing great players. Ramsey would likely love the opportunity to play for Mike Tomlin. He would also be the elite cornerback this defense has been missing. Ramsey would go from playing with elite talents like Aaron Donald, Bobby Wagner, and Von Miller (last season) to playing on the same defense as T.J. Watt, Cameron Heyward, and Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Their additions from last offseason Levi Wallace and Ahkello Witherspoon are more of secondary cornerbacks than players who could be trusted to cover the top receivers in the league. Since the AFC North is loaded with receiver talent like Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, Amari Cooper, and Rashod Bateman it is vital that Pittsburgh has a corner that could cover those receivers when they matchup twice a year. Adding Ramsey to this cornerback group would immediately put it in the conversation as one of the best in the league.
The Steelers have an extra second round pick that they acquired in the Chase Claypool trade that could even get this deal done without having to trade their first round selection. That would be monumental for Pittsburgh if they could address one of their other major needs in the first round. This could make the Steelers a contender in the AFC once again.
Compensation: Dallas Cowboys trade 2023 First Round Pick (26th overall) and 2023 Second Round Pick (58th overall) to the Los Angeles Rams for Jalen Ramsey
For the second straight season the Dallas Cowboys have fallen short of their expectations after being one of the most well rounded teams in the league. This offseason Dallas could look to make bold changes to their roster to get this team to play like legitimite Super Bowl contenders. They already fired Kellen Moore and promoted Brian Schottenheimer to offensive coordinator.
Dallas’ defense has played at an extremely high level since hiring Dan Quinn as their defensive coordinator. A major addition to this defense may put this unit over the top and make it the best in the league. One of the biggest questions on this defense is the cornerback positon opposite Trevon Diggs. Anthony Brown is a free agent, Kelvin Joseph hasn’t played great, and DaRon Bland needs to continue to prove himself. Making a blockbuster trade to acquire a player like Ramsey could give Dallas the best cornerback duo in the leauge and put their defense in the conversation for best in the league.
The Cowboys have traded their first round pick for star players in the past. During the 2018-19 season Dallas traded their first round pick to acquire Amari Cooper which pushed the Cowboys offense to become one of the best in the league. Jerry Jones wants to win now and is not opposed to bringing in star players to do so. It was only a few months ago that Dallas flirted with the idea of signing Odell Beckham Jr. for their playoff run.
Adding Ramsey to a defense with Micah Parsons, Trevon Diggs, and DeMarcus Lawerence would be the bold move the Cowboys need to become contenders. The Cowboys had the opportunity to take Ramsey fourth overall in 2016 and instead took three time Pro Bowl running back Ezekiel Elliott. But the Cowboys have the opportunity to trade for Ramsey and should pounce if they want to be a contender next year.