It’s not often you get a second chance at a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. With Jalen Ramsey, the Las Vegas Raiders might have that chance.
Once upon a time, All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey called Jacksonville his home. As the Jaguars started to move backwards, Ramsey became increasingly frustrated with the team. Soon enough, this would lead to the former first-round pick requesting a trade. The Los Angeles Rams wasted no time acquiring the first-team All-Pro, and the rest is history.
That wasn’t Ramsey’s vision, though. In fact, he had hoped for a different outcome altogether.
During an interview in 2022 with Behind The Cut, Ramsey was asked if there was another team he thought he would end up on following his trade request. There were no minced words in the response.
“The team that I pushed for the most, I was like ‘Please get me here,’ was, at the time, the Oakland Raiders – now Las Vegas Raiders,” the 28-year-old stated. “I dang-near begged to go to the Raiders.. I begged to go to the Raiders,” Ramsey added.
At the time, Daryl Worley and Gareon Conley were the Silver and Black’s starting corners, with Trayvon Mullen eventually taking over for Conley following a trade with the Texans halfway through the season. None of these three players are currently on the Raiders’ roster, while Ramsey has gone on to earn two more first-team All-Pros and a Super Bowl ring with the Rams.
Now in 2023, the Silver and Black might have another chance to get the star defensive back.
NFL executive predicts Jalen Ramsey starts his ’23 campaign on a new team
In mid-January, rumors started circulating of Rams’ All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey being available for trade. At first, these rumors appeared to be nothing more than stories created to stir the pot this offseason, until an NFL executive got involved in the matter.
According to the unnamed executive, one prediction he has is that Ramsey is dealt to a new team this summer.
Ramsey, poised to enter his eighth NFL season, is a five-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro. With Los Angeles, the Florida State alum has made three consecutive Pro Bowls (’19-’21), in addition to back-to-back first-team All-Pros (’20, ’21).
By many metrics, 2022 was an off-year for Ramsey, and is likely the root of these trade rumors. During his latest campaign, the ’22 Super Bowl champion logged an allowed completion percentage of 64.6%, surrendering an opposing quarterback rating of 97.5; both of which stand as career-lows during his time with the Rams.
Still, the star DB stood as Pro Football Focus’s fourth-highest overall graded cornerback, although his coverage grade ranked 14th-highest.
In comparison to the Raiders’ secondary, Ramsey’s 86.4 overall grade trails only Tyler Hall (86.9). His 77.8 coverage grade would also be the second-highest in the secondary, once again trailing only Tyler Hall (86.3).
Ramsey would immediately boost Las Vegas’ secondary by a noticeable amount.
Getting a feel for Ramsey’s trade value
It’s hard to predict exactly how much capital it would cost to acquire Ramsey, but there’s some key information at our disposal.
To get their corner, the Los Angeles Rams gave Jacksonville a pair of first-round draft picks, along with a fourth-rounder. This was back when Ramsey was younger, cheaper, and coming off of a Pro Bowl season – none of which applies to 2022.
When dealt to L.A., Ramsey still had a year and a half left on his rookie contract, including his fifth-year option. The former Jaguar has since agreed to a five-year, $100 million contract, set to have a cap hit of $25.2 million in 2023. While his new team doesn’t have to absorb the entire cap hit if traded, these are still factors that lessen Ramsey’s value via trade.
Furthermore, the Rams paying this price for Ramsey in 2019 doesn’t actually mean it was his going rate. After all, the Rams acquired Ramsey because they offered more than other teams, not because they offered the same capital yet were chosen as Jacksonville’s trade partner due to their name being drawn out of a hat at random.
Throwing their draft picks to the wind for proven players is the team’s style. Not only haven’t the Rams made a first-round selection since 2016 with Jared Goff, but their 2023 first-round pick is currently in Detroit’s possession thanks to the Matt Stafford trade. What’s more, L.A. had reportedly offered their ’24 and ’25 first-round picks for Carolina’s Brian Burns.
So, no; the Rams don’t exactly value draft picks the same as other teams. Now that Ramsey is currently with them, there is no Rams team to outbid the Raiders by carelessly throwing draft picks into a deal.
All things considered, it’s not unreasonable to think a future first-round pick, or immediate second-rounder would be enough to grab the veteran defensive back in a trade.
Jalen Ramsey would instantly become the Raiders’ CB1, playing alongside Rock Ya-Sin should Las Vegas choose to re-sign him. Without Ramsey, the Silver and Black have almost no choice but to retain Ya-Sin. With the addition of the All-Pro corner, Las Vegas has the flexibility to do as they please. A win-win, no matter what general manager Dave Ziegler decides to do.
Would Los Angeles truly trade Ramsey, though? We’ll see soon enough.
*Top photo: AP Photo/Peter Joneleit