The Los Angeles Rams have reached the part of the offseason where speculation is running rampant regarding what direction the organization will head in.
After a 5-12 season, the Rams could go a variety of ways. It’s no secret that they don’t have a ton of salary cap space to work with, so their options are essentially standing pat and running it back with the same core, truly going all-in and making a trade for another big-name player as the Rams have done so many times, or go through a bit of a reboot by trading one or multiple of their big-name players.
Once Sean McVay announced he will be returning for another season, to me, that third option went out the window.
If McVay is going to go through the rigors of being an NFL head coach for another year, a job he obviously takes very seriously and dedicates a lot of time to, he’s not doing it to go through a rebuild. He is doing it to try to get this team back in Super Bowl contention.
And if you’re a team with Super Bowl aspirations, you don’t trade away great players for draft picks.
So to me, that begs the question: Why would the Rams trade Jalen Ramsey?
This is a suggestion I’ve seen a lot on Twitter over the past few weeks. And in fairness, a lot of the noise has come from national media as opposed to Rams media.
Reasons why it would be a bad idea
I personally have no interest in even thinking about a potential Ramsey trade, and there are a variety of reasons why.
If the Rams did look to move Ramsey, they would arguably be doing it when his value is at its lowest.
The Rams traded away two first-round picks to the Jacksonville Jaguars to acquire Ramsey. Even though he’s still just 28 years of age, his value now is probably only one first-rounder, if that.
The perception of Ramsey around the league seems to be that he is coming off a “down” year. And maybe by his standards, which is the best defensive back in the league, he is.
The Ramsey 2022 file
But that doesn’t mean Ramsey still wasn’t a ridiculously good player in 2022. He had a career-high in both tackles (88) and sacks (two) while tying his career-high in interceptions (four) and forced fumbles (two). According to Pro Football Focus, he was the third-highest-graded cornerback in the league and he was the highest-graded run defender in the league. That’s not just at his position, but in all of football.
That’s not even to mention the leadership he brought to the Rams locker room and the defensive back room, which was and will continue to be very young outside of him. He was also willing to play all over the field, which gives Raheem Morris a lot more options as Ramsey can play near the line of scrimmage to help stop the run, or he can play on the outside and lock down the opposing team’s No. 1 wide out.
So again, that’s a down season? And that’s a guy a team with playoff aspirations should be trading away?
The way things stand currently, the Rams need to add talent, not subtract it. Sure, there will be a point where the organization needs to go into a rebuild and that may come as soon as a year from now if things don’t go well in 2023 and McVay, Aaron Donald, Matthew Stafford, etc. all decide to call it a career.
Ramsey still has three years remaining on the five-year, $100 million extension he signed with the Rams. But there also is a potential out in his contract after next season, which would make him a lot easier to cut or trade.
So for now, keep one of your most talented players and vocal leaders, who also is as sure of a bet as there is to stay healthy. See how things go in 2023, and then assess from there. Ramsey will still only be 29 years of age a year from now. His trade value isn’t going to change drastically and who knows, it may even go up if he gets back to being the best defensive back in the league as he was during his first three seasons in L.A.