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The only person to blame for the Jalen Ramsey trade package is Jalen Ramsey

Les Snead got the best offer possible for a 28-year-old cornerback with contract demands

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

Last September, I posted comments by Jalen Ramsey to Bobby Wagner in regards to the ongoing contract negotiations between Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens. The reason that I posted those comments was that Ramsey had a history of openly wanting a new contract, getting “injured” during the season, missing games, and then getting traded to a team that he felt confident would pay him the amount of money that he was looking for at the time.

If Ramsey would look to be traded in 2019 when he was eligible for a new contract, then why not again in 2023 when he only had $5 million guaranteed left on his contract and knew that he may never get a better opportunity than this offseason? The Rams would not be the team to pay him again, they had already paid him. The best way to gain leverage for a new contract was to be traded. On Sunday, Ramsey was traded to the Miami Dolphins in return for a third round pick and tight end Hunter Long, but the most notable transaction that took place was Ramsey’s new guarantees:

From $5 million left on his deal to $39 million. There were not going to be many teams open to paying Jalen Ramsey $17 million in 2023 and $14.5 million in 2024, guaranteed. That drastically reduced the number of teams that would bid on Ramsey and it’s unfathomable that L.A. general manager Les Snead would have turned down offers that included first or second round picks.

The greatest barrier to acquiring Ramsey was not the draft picks. It was having $39 million guaranteed for the next two years.

Don’t believe me? Jalen Ramsey himself cited the contract as his “dream come true”...

For months, we’ve been writing that the Rams could trade Ramsey this offseason, and that had to heat up after the season with each additional signal that he was on the market. Every time, there were responses was that Turf Show Times was incorrect, if not defaming the Rams and Ramsey for something that could “never happen”.

The comments on that article from September included:

“this is a malicious article taken out of context. shame on you dude.”

“Ppl that have absolutely no comprehension skills will start attacking our own guy for his opinion.”

“It’s not really Rams related and the fact of the matter is Ramsey did what he said, and never held out as a Ram (never needed to). The headline kind of made it seem like he was having an issue with HIS current situation.”

And I understand. At the time, Jalen Ramsey was a member of the Rams. He had only ever done good for the Rams. He had helped the Rams win the Super Bowl and he was signed for four more years, including 2022, so was it really “fair” to write that Ramsey could force L.A. to pay him or trade him in 2023 based on the fact that he knew he could be as good as gone, if the Rams decided to go in that direction?

Yes, for me, it’s fair. Because the NFL is a business and just as the Rams have every right to cut or trade Ramsey, the player has every right to leverage all opportunities he has to get more money in a violent and physical sport that “takes” from your body on every single play.

Nothing I’ve said is intended to disrespect Ramsey, though I understand why people view any talk of a player wanting more money when he is under contract as though it must be a criticism. I have never criticized Ramsey for wanting more guaranteed money, I’ve only ever pointed out that this moment was probable based on how his contract is structured and his history with the Jaguars.

I’ve also been writing since the end of the season that Ramsey was probably even more likely to be traded and many of the replies were along the lines of, “That’s not what Ramsey seems to be driving at based on his tweets!” Ramsey wasn’t just cryptically making it sound like his time with the Rams could be over, he would also come out and tweet things as if he was totally ignorant of any potential separation and that the media was basically making things up.

Then on Sunday, Ramsey tweeted that he was “specifically” praying for this moment “for about a month”.

That sounds like he was aware of a potential trade when he tweeted that he was “just at Nobu”.

I’ve always been in support of Ramsey. As a player, as an entertainer, as an all-time great cornerback in his prime, and as a Ram. There is also room for factual reporting of the situation and speculation based on words that come out of his own mouth.

When it came time to address Ramsey’s contract demands to have his 2023 and 2024 salaries guaranteed, did Rams fans want Les Snead to simply give in? At this time when Rams fans are simultaneously complaining that the team doesn’t have enough cap space to build for the future?

So now you’ve got a player who you can’t pay, who once stopped playing for the Jaguars when he was openly requesting a massive contract extension. What’s next?

You trade him. That is a loss of leverage.

Then teams talk to his agent and find out that Ramsey wants his $17 million and $14.5 million base salaries guaranteed. That is a loss of leverage.

Ramsey turns 29 in October. That is a loss of leverage.

Ramsey was better in 2020 than he was in 2021 and 2022. His interceptions went up the last two years. So did his touchdowns allowed. By a lot. That is a loss of leverage.

Ramsey was never going to get back a first round pick. I’m sure that Snead went looking for an early second. If the Lions would have ever paid that price, of course the Rams would have taken a second round pick to send him to Brad Holmes and some of his old friends. The fact that they didn’t trade Ramsey to Detroit, a team with two firsts and two seconds, tells you that the Rams didn’t have an offer of a second round pick from the Lions.

Obviously. And that is a loss of leverage.

If Ramsey went to the Rams and said, “I love being here, don’t trade me, how can we work this out?” He’d be on the Rams.

If Ramsey went to the other teams and said, “I want to win, I want to help, my contract will take care of itself,” that would have increased L.A.’s trade leverage.

You don’t have to be mad at Jalen Ramsey, this is who Jalen Ramsey has always been. There’s nothing wrong with that and just because he plays sports for your favorite team, it doesn’t mean he should operate his life and his financials differently than if he worked on Wall Street or Bank of America or ESPN or Target. Like Darrelle Revis once set the standard for, he’s working his career to be as financially successful as possible, while still finding teams that he could help win a championship.

You don’t have to fault him for it. You don’t have to fault Snead for the BEST trade package being a third round pick and Long. And I guarantee you don’t have to blame me for pointing out that this was always a possibility.