The Jalen Ramsey sweepstakes came to a swift end right before the start of the legal tampering period when the Los Angeles Rams and Miami Dolphins came to terms on a deal.
Miami acquired the star cornerback in exchange for the 77th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft and tight end Hunter Long, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Miami also adjusted Ramsey’s contract, giving him $36.9 million guaranteed over the next two years, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Let’s break down the deal and see why Miami wisely added the 28-year-old to their defense.
Miami Dolphins Trade for Jalen Ramsey
The Dolphins continue to be whale hunters in the offseason. Just days after restructuring contracts for stars Terron Armstead and Tyreek Hill to open cap space, the Dolphins took advantage by trading pennies for Ramsey. The Rams have been looking to break up as much of their salary commitments to aging players as possible.
Ramsey considered Miami as his “preferred destination,” per Rapoport, which could’ve spurred this deal along. Jordan Schultz of The Score reported that the Detroit Lions were among his other suitors, but Miami was considered his “best fit and destination.” He’ll slide into the team’s secondary opposite star CB Xavien Howard after Byron Jones missed the entire 2022 season and was released to open cap space.
Ramsey is a much different player than Jones but more similar to Howard. The former Jacksonville Jaguar and L.A. Ram ranked 82nd in target separation, 93rd in receptions allowed, 91st in yards allowed, and 78th in passer rating allowed last season as the entire season collapsed for Los Angeles. He gave up 62.6% of targets for 659 yards and five touchdowns.
While Ramsey’s reputation has been earned more from being a playmaker than a shutdown corner, it has to be concerning that he’s been closer to average in coverage than not.
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Early reports on Ramsey’s trade market said that it would “likely take a first-round pick or a package with a second-round pick and more,” per ESPN’s Sarah Barshop, which would’ve been a ridiculous price for someone who has a large contract and is declining despite being named to the Pro Bowl in each of his last seven seasons.
However, Miami was smart to make this deal for a third-round selection and backup tight end who was a strange pick from the start. Ramsey is a tenacious run defender, and he’s totaled eight interceptions over the last two years. Giving new Dolphins defensive coordinator Vic Fangio two excellent ballhawks is a wise decision.
There weren’t many avenues for Miami to find a second star corner this offseason. Darius Slay is even more expensive and older than Ramsey. Jamel Dean is an unrestricted free agent but is more like Jones as a coverage star and isn’t a ballhawk.
I wouldn’t have advised a team to trade more than what Miami gave up for Ramsey because of the risks involved. The Dolphins now have two high-risk, high-reward players on the back end and two great young safety talents in Brandon Jones and Jevon Holland.
Howard will also have to play better than last year, though, as he ranked 40th in target separation, 85th in targets allowed, 83rd in yards per reception allowed, and 73rd in catch rate allowed. For this to work, this can’t be a unit that lives solely on reputation. Both stars need to raise their game for this unit to reach its high ceiling.