The Los Angeles Rams have subtracted a lot of key players from their roster this season, but none bigger than cornerback Jalen Ramsey.
The Rams originally traded two first-round picks to acquire Ramsey from the Jacksonville Jaguars in the middle of the 2019 season, and in four seasons with the team, he was named to four Pro Bowls and two All-Pro teams while also winning a Super Bowl, of course.
Safe to say that was a successful trade for L.A., let me just start there.
But fast forwarding back to this offseason, it became clear early on that Ramsey had played his last game in the Royal and Sol.
Ramsey is coming off arguably his worst season (still a very good one though) and the Rams were 5-12 as a team.
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I was very vocal that it didn’t make sense to trade Ramsey, who is still just 28 years of age and one of the three best corners in the league. But all of the noise surrounding him and the organization was that he would be dealt.
And that day finally came last week when the Rams traded Ramsey to the Miami Dolphins for a third-round pick and tight end Hunter Long, who has one career catch in two seasons.
I think after hearing about the trade, my reaction was similar to everyone else’s: That’s it?!
Even though I was hoping the Rams would make one more push for a Super Bowl with their current core, I came around and understood why they were subtracting some pieces to get their salary cap in order and not have it become a problem for years to come.
And if the Rams are going through a “remodel” as they call it, then trading Ramsey makes sense considering he would be able to return the most in a trade. Or so we thought…
Why the compensation for Ramsey was so low
Now that the dust has settled and the trade is done, let’s explore why the Rams were only able to get a third-round pick and a project tight end back for one of the best defensive backs in the game.
The first thing worth mentioning is that Ramsey is closer to the end of his prime than the beginning of it. Defensive backs typically don’t age well past 30 in the NFL, and Ramsey is close to turning 29 and already has seen a bit of a decline in his play.
With that being the case, the Rams unfortunately were never gonna get a first-round pick back for Ramsey. But couldn’t they have at least gotten a second? That’s what so many other Rams fans are wondering.
And us Rams fans don’t want to hear this, but maybe they could have. Since the trade, various reports have revealed a few things that went on in negotiations.
The first is that the Rams did not want to trade Ramsey within the NFC. For a team that still has visions of competing in the next three years, that makes sense. But for a team trying to get as much compensation as possible for their star corner, cutting out half of the league from negotiations probably isn’t the best way to do that.
Other Ramsey motives
Secondly, reports have indicated that the Rams wanted to “do right” by Ramsey by sending him to his preferred destination, which he has made clear was Miami.
Regardless of how I feel about that, the Rams have always been an organization to take care of their stars and this is a prime example of that. I would have preferred trading Ramsey to whoever sent back the best draft pick, but hopefully, other stars around the league will take note of how the Rams handled this.
The final aspect of this trade though, and probably the most important one, is that the Dolphins guaranteed the rest of Ramsey’s contract. And even though the Rams salary cap sheet didn’t see much relief in 2023 ($6 million in savings) by trading him now, they will be completely rid of the contract by next offseason.
More Rams cost cuts
This is similar to the moves the Rams made cutting both Bobby Wagner and Leonard Floyd. They will not save money in 2023, but once 2024 rolls around, L.A. will be in a very good place when it comes to the cap with over $50 million in space to work with.
The Rams could have chosen to keep Ramsey and others for one more year, restructure his contract, and then be in cap hell for years to come. If the team won another Super Bowl in 2023-24 then that would have been worth it, but they obviously felt the likelihood of that happening was slim and chose to cut bait now.
While I will miss watching Ramsey and the intensity that he played with, I am excited to see what the Rams will do with all of their cap space a year from now. They also are known to find gems in the middle of the draft, so we’ll see what they can do with the third-rounder they got from Miami.