The Miami Dolphins‘ secondary is about to get a whole lot better. The Dolphins are trading for six-time Pro Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey, giving new coordinator Vic Fangio a true running mate to Xavien Howard.
Let’s grade the trade, which gives the Rams needed cap relief and gives the Dolphins a more-than-suitable replacement for Byron Jones, who will be cut next week.
Grading the Jalen Ramsey Trade
The Ramsey-to-Miami deal cannot become official until the league year begins Wednesday, but if it falls apart, Ramsey will apparently be heartbroken. He sent out a series of tweets Sunday expressing his approval, including the following:
“God is SO AMAZING! OHMYGOD!”
“Can’t ever tell me prayer don’t work! 🙏🏾
Y’all have a blessed & happy Sunday! Ikno I am!”
“I prayed for this specifically for about a month & now it’s happening! 🙏🏾 @MiamiDolphins LETSGO! 🧡
“Thank you 🐐 @DavidMulugheta🙏🏾… not the first time you’ve helped my dream come true!”
Miami Dolphins Get a Ferrari in the Secondary
The terms of the deal were incredibly favorable to a Dolphins team that spent the past week creating cap space to absorb such a contract. NFL Media reports that the Dolphins get Ramsey on an adjusted contract for a package of tight end Hunter Long and a third-round pick (77th overall).
The terms? Two fully-guaranteed years with an AAV of $20 million. As part of the team, Ramsey shaved a year off his contract but got an additional $25 million in guarantees over his previous contract, per NFL Media.
That’s a steep price, particularly since the Dolphins only had roughly $30 million in projected cap space this free agency. But by shedding Long and the draft pick, it does free up nearly $2 million of other 2023 obligations.
This move signals the Dolphins — who ranked 27th in pass defense (234.8 yards per game) and 30th in interception rate (1.3%) last year — are all-in in 2023.
Ramsey, who allowed 62.6% of passes thrown in his completion area last year with four interceptions recorded and five touchdowns surrendered, arguably becomes the best player on a defense loaded with stars. A secondary that includes Ramsey, Howard, and Jevon Holland is as talented as any (assuming Howard bounces back after a 2022 season that was below his standards).
The only reason this deal isn’t an A? It leaves Miami with limited cap space to improve an offensive line that also needs help.
Did Los Angeles Rams Wave White Flag on 2023?
The Rams hinted last week that they were open for business, but trading Ramsey in the prime of his career for spare parts suggests that the teardown/rebuild might be a painful transition.
Ramsey’s departure leaves Los Angeles with just three cornerbacks under contract in 2023: Robert Rochell, Decobie Durant, and Derion Kendrick.
It also got Ramsey’s contract off their books going forward. While the cap hit the Rams took in the deal is unclear based on his redone contract, it does take his $17 million base salary off their books.
The Rams — who are cap-strapped — now have four Day 2 picks to begin rebuilding a once-formidable defense. It will probably take more than that, though. LA’s defense in 2023 looks like it’s going to be Aaron Donald and a bunch of obscure names on a roster. Good luck, Raheem Morris.
Jalen Ramsey Gets What He Wants
We’ll learn in the coming days why Ramsey was so determined to get to Miami. But it was obviously his preferred destination. While he, like Howard, wasn’t at his best in 2022, Ramsey was still darn good — and has put together a consistently excellent career.
Since Pro Football Reference began reporting advanced stats in 2018, Ramsey has not allowed 10 yards per target or a passer rating of 90 or higher in any season. Pairing him with Howard and Fangio on a defense that also features Bradley Chubb, Jaelan Phillips, and Christian Wilkins could turn back the clock.
Listen to the PFN Dolphins Podcast
Listen to the PFN Dolphins Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Dolphins Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms. Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Dolphins Podcast on our NFL YouTube channel.