The number one name on the trade block is not a player who could be going to the L.A. Rams, like usual, but one who could be leaving. And yes, you could argue that Lamar Jackson is the top name on the trade market, or Aaron Rodgers, perhaps even Justin Fields, but excluding quarterbacks and focusing on those NFL players who legitimately may have no road other than “EXIT” right now, Jalen Ramsey stands alone.
Okay, I’ll give DeAndre Hopkins some credit too. But Ramsey and Hopkins stand...alone. At least Jalen Ramsey may have more trade value. When is a reasonable time to expect a deal or no deal?
Another hot rumor out here in Indy: #Rams CB Jalen Ramsey is generating a ton of interest on the trade market. We fully expect him to be moved in the next week.— uSTADIUM (@uSTADIUM) March 5, 2023
Before the end of the first round, at least
It’s safe to assume that no Jalen Ramsey trade will happen after April 27th. That’s day one of the NFL Draft and you would have to think that the Rams are setting a deadline that at least allows them to flip Ramsey into 2023 draft value. Technically this could still happen on April 28th if Ramsey isn’t valued as a first round pick anymore, but Les Snead must want to set a deadline of the 27th, to be safe.
Still, this is much later than I would expect.
The Rams want the cap space before free agency, which officially opens on March 15th, two days after the tampering window opens. On the other side, Ramsey wants to probably hit a new team before free agency too.
In my estimation, Ramsey is probably even more responsible for these rumors than the Rams are because he has a well-established history of wanting to make the most amount of guaranteed money possible whenever he gets his opportunities. I know fans want to take it out on the team when a popular player is traded, but Ramsey could actually make it very easy for the Rams to keep him if he adjusted his contract.
He’s not willing to do that and I don’t fault him for it. It’s just the reality. Ramsey’s $25.2 million cap hit in 2023 is the second-highest of any cornerback, but he has no guarantees left after this season. He can play the part of ignorance and act like he has no control here with the rumors, but he’s even more in control than Snead. He’s got the keys to his future and he’s not going out of his way to block an opportunity in which the acquiring team will probably be happy to give him future guarantees on a new contract in order to lower his 2023 salary cap hit—$17 million for the team that trades for him.
I don’t know what it is that causes fans of a franchise to think of the people who run the organization as “villains” at certain moments, especially 13 months removed from winning the Super Bowl, but this is a very clear case of both sides wanting a separation: The Rams because they have no resources, Ramsey because he wants more guaranteed money.
Take it out on Snead and Sean McVay, I guess, but Ramsey could put an end to all of this at literally any time. He’s choosing not to do that, so a trade should come much earlier than the draft.
March 13, Tampering Window Opens
L.A. should try to trade Ramsey before teams can start talking to outside free agents, but realistically there won’t be any cornerback with greater interest than Ramsey. Jamel Dean, James Bradberry, Byron Murphy head free agents, while Stephon Gilmore is also on the trade block.
The Rams want to try and fit Ramsey on another team’s salary cap before they can talk to other free agent cornerbacks though. That’s why a deal happening in the next eight days makes the most sense.
March 6-March 10, Post-Combine Week
As we sit here on Sunday, March 5, the NFL Scouting Combine is doing its last round of evaluations. GMs and coaches at the combine have been having discussions too and even though Snead, McVay aren’t there (again), this still impacts the Rams and their plans with Ramsey.
How many teams came away from the combine feeling confident in the cornerbacks class? Perhaps a few teams in the Ramsey discussions are hesitating to trade a pick for a 28-year-old corner if they think there’s really good depth and talent in this class. Pride of Detroit was really impressed with this group, even more notable given that they’re a Lions blog and the Lions are thought to be one of the most sensible teams in the Ramsey talks.
There’s a handful of first round talents who might be able to start in Week 1 for Detroit, but also depth on day two that could make Brad Holmes hesitate before trading a second for Ramsey at a high 2023 salary cap hit or a new contract.
Other GMs who actually attended the combine might also have worked out trades or gauged reasonable contracts for players like Gilmore and Bradberry. The Rams might have lost a few suitors this weekend.
Or gained some.
Perhaps teams like the Dallas Cowboys, gaining more mention in the Ramsey rumors lately, don’t like their chances of getting a starting cornerback at pick 26. I’ll be a little surprised if Ramsey commands a first round pick, but if certain teams feel that this class won’t help their secondary or defense, now would be the time to act.
When will Ramsey be traded?
As more signs continue to point to an inevitable trade, the Rams may secure a Jalen Ramsey trade package after Tuesday’s franchise tag deadline passes. At that point, teams are a little more aware of the market and can sense, “Okay we can afford that guy” or “Okay we aren’t going to get that guy, so we have money to spend”.
Once GMs have settled that round of contract uncertainty, next look for some trade dominoes to fall, including Rodgers and Ramsey.
I’ll take a shot at this: Jalen Ramsey’s most likely trade date is Wednesday.
I’m just taking bets on a calendar, nothing more, but I don’t think teams want to wait much longer than post-tag deadline. Once the QB-needy teams in the Rodgers, Lamar Jackson, Geno Smith, Daniel Jones market know who is tagged and who isn’t, maybe that’s when the rest of the carousel starts to fall into place.
Then what’s the wait after that? Just get your ducks in order with the biggest trade chips and Ramsey qualifies as that.
We’ve been writing for months at Turf Show Times that Jalen Ramsey would probably holdout (quietly) for a new contract once he gained leverage in 2023, usually at the criticism of fans and writers for other blogs; we probably should have pretended to have “sources”, but the only source was Ramsey’s history and L.A.’s disappointing run it back campaign with an inevitable collision of cap issues and not enough draft picks.
Now that we’re potentially moments from a deal, it sounds like everyone is an agreement that this is going to happen. We may not have to wait much longer.