Jalen Ramsey has been one of the elite cornerbacks in the NFL since he was selected fifth overall in the 2016 NFL Draft. A shutdown corner in every sense of the word over the first five-plus years of his career, Ramsey was a pivotal piece of the Los Angeles Rams‘ Super Bowl run.
Now, he might be on the move. With a trade to a third career destination potentially on the horizon, where might Ramsey land?
Jalen Ramsey Potential Landing Spots
It appears Ramsey’s time in Los Angeles may be coming to an end. With free agency and the NFL draft rapidly approaching, “The Rams have had trade talks about six-time Pro Bowl CB Jalen Ramsey, and league sources now believe it’s very likely Ramsey is dealt in coming weeks,” according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
The three-time All-Pro defensive back appeared to push back on Peliserro’s report when he tweeted 12 minutes later, “The ‘story’ sounds better than the truth sometimes I’ll admit that…”
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With the Rams currently sitting bottom-10 in salary cap space and the team’s chest of draft capital looking bare after spending season upon season trading for high-priced veterans, a trade can’t be out of the question.
Any team acquiring Ramsey, assuming no re-negotiation of his contract takes place, would be taking on a three-year deal with $17 million (2023), $14.5 million, (2024) and $15.5 million (2025) in base salaries. Only $5 million remains in guarantees. In terms of draft capital, despite being an aging veteran with a substantial contract, he won’t come cheap.
Let’s break down where Ramsey might land if he’s shipped away this offseason.
The Detroit Lions are contenders. That alone feels strange to write, but it’s true. Head coach Dan Campbell had the squad in Honolulu Blue fighting tooth and nail to win games in 2022. And by the season’s end, Detroit was one of the teams nobody wanted to face with the playoffs on the line.
I’m not saying the Lions are among the top Super Bowl contenders in 2023, but add a few more pieces, especially on defense, and Detroit could be downright dangerous. Detroit has both the draft capital (five picks in the first three rounds) and cap space (top 10 as of the writing of this article) to pull it off.
The Lions badly need some reinforcements in the secondary, and pairing Ramsey with former third overall pick Jeff Okudah would be a terrific start to an offseason in which they hope to catapult themselves squarely into playoff contention. The Lions and Rams traded a marquee player in Matthew Stafford just two offseasons ago. Is it time for another?
It seems like the Minnesota Vikings are always in need of cornerback help. But if we’re being realistic, that’s most teams in the NFL, as CB is one of the most difficult positions at which to find year-over-year consistently high-end play. Ramsey has provided that in spades for the Jaguars and Rams, and maybe now it’s time he does so in purple and gold.
Now, let’s be clear about something. Ramsey wasn’t perfect in 2022. He landed middle of the pack in both passer rating allowed and completion rate allowed. But the entire Rams team fell off a bit last year, in large part due to injuries sustained all over the roster.
Patrick Peterson saw a renaissance of sorts in Minnesota last season, but he’s set to be a free agent. Fellow starter and 2020 third-round pick Cameron Dantzler Sr. allowed a whopping 77.4% of passes thrown his way to be completed last year. And 2022 second-round pick Andrew Booth Jr. played in just six games and started only one before landing on injured reserve.
Suffice it to say Vikings could use some help on the boundary, and Ramsey could provide it. Cap space might be an issue, but Minnesota has several contracts with pricey vets that can be cut, restructured, or extended. There’s enough room to make it work.
Las Vegas Raiders
Head coach Josh McDaniels, fairly or not, might be coaching for his job this season, given the disappointment that 2022 brought. Quarterback is squarely at the top of the team’s priority list, but cornerback isn’t far behind.
Rock Ya-Sin is a free agent, and fellow starter Nate Hobbs was one of the league’s worst players at the position last season, allowing a 120.2 passer rating and 75.3 completion percentage when targeted. 2020 fourth-round pick Amik Robertson flashed here and there, and he may be an option to start next season, but there’s no doubt CB is high on the team’s offseason wishlist.
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The Raiders have a boatload of cap space, sitting third in the league in dollars to spend. That said, a large portion of that will need to be laid aside as the team searches for a quarterback to replace the recently released Derek Carr.
The Raiders are also flush with draft picks, holding nine in 2023. If the team wants a quick fix in the secondary, Ramsey certainly makes plenty of sense.
The Miami Dolphins are ready to win now. With stars littered throughout the roster in Tyreek Hill, Christian Wilkins, Jaylen Waddle, and Jevon Holland, Miami has the talent to make a Super Bowl push. And with QB Tua Tagovailoa still on his rookie contract, the team is loading up to make a run.
Could Miami fit Ramsey into that plan? It’d be tough, given that the Dolphins have very few draft picks (five) and are near the bottom of the league in cap space.
But Miami has a need at corner. Xavien Howard, injured for most of the year, didn’t look like himself in 2022. Byron Jones didn’t play a single snap as he dealt with an injury of his own and is likely to be elsewhere in 2023. Undrafted rookie gem Kader Kohou is sure to remain relevant going forward, but CB is undoubtedly one of Miami’s top roster needs.
The price would have to be right in terms of trade compensation. And Miami will already have a ton of cap space tied up at the position, even if Jones is released or traded. So this is likely the longest-shot destination on our list.