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Tyreek Hill trade could be model if Rams want to move on from Jalen Ramsey

Replace a star with multiple starting level players? Well, it’s happened before.

Kansas City Chiefs vs Jacksonville Jaguars Set Number: X162202 TK1

Rumors are swirling that the Los Angeles Rams could trade away star corner Jalen Ramsey this offseason, and Ramsey has fueled speculation on his own with cryptic social media posts.

Ramsey is one of the most important building blocks on the Rams roster, and general manager has historically been in the business of collecting stars - not trading them away. All of this talk may over time be proven to be just fodder, but sometimes when if you follow the smoke you find the fire.

At first glance, considering LA’s lack of depth among the secondary, subtracting Ramsey is a head scratching move. For a team looking to compete right now, it doesn’t make sense to move on from one of the best and most versatile corners in the NFL.

Los Angeles Rams v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Veteran Troy Hill is a free agent but could return on an affordable deal. David Long also has an expiring contract and has been a frequent starter for the Rams, though he’s probably played his way out of Los Angeles. That leaves the team with Robert Rochell - who is heading into his third season after playing a minimal amount of defensive snaps in year two - and rookies Cobie Durant and Derion Kendrick. Kendrick was one of the worst players on the Rams defense this past season according to Pro Football Focus (PFF).

But the Kansas City Chiefs found themselves in a similar boat last offseason when receiver Tyreek Hill wanted a new contract. Was the KC offense better off building around a couple of expensive stars - Hill and tight end Travis Kelce - or could they use the money not spent on Hill to replace his production with a committee of multiple starting level players?

In other words, the Chiefs turned the $25M Hill was asking for on an annual basis into free agent deals for Juju Smith-Schuster (1-year, $9.4M), Marques Valdez-Scantling (3-year deal paying $10M annually), and Justin Watson (1-year, $1M). Kansas City also drafted Skyy Moore in the second round who has less than a $2M cap hit for the better part of the next four years.

The Chiefs also got a king’s ransom of draft capital in return for Hill from the Miami Dolphins: first, second, and fourth round picks in 2022 and then fourth and sixth rounders in 2023.

It was a massive gamble for a team that expected to compete for a Super Bowl - moving on from a franchise cornerstone is never easy - but ultimately the Chiefs were better for it this season. Instead of having a passing attack centered around Hill and Kelce, Patrick Mahomes can identify the weakness of the defense and get the ball where it needs to go. The wealth of production goes to a different receiver almost every play and every game, you never really know which will beat you - but they all have the ability to.

What would that trade-off look like on the defensive side of the ball, to move a star like Ramsey to clear cap space and acquire draft capital that can be used to reinforce the secondary or elsewhere?

Would the Rams be better off with three starting quality corners, or could they be formidable with Ramsey, Durant, and whatever third option they can find in free agency or the draft?

There’s no telling which way Les Snead and Sean McVay are leaning at this point in the offseason, but we could know their answer before too long. Snead called this offseason a “remodel” for the Rams, and the Los Angeles brass are going to make roster tweaks and aim for a return to contention in 2023.

Is Jalen Ramsey a part of that remodel?