Jaguars CB Jalen Ramsey Traded to Rams for 2 1st-Round Draft Picks, More

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 15, 2019

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 19: Jalen Ramsey #20 of the Jacksonville Jaguars looks on during the second half of a game against the Tennessee Titans at TIAA Bank Field on September 19, 2019 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
James Gilbert/Getty Images

The Jacksonville Jaguars have traded two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey to the Los Angeles Rams, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The Jaguars will receive first-round picks in 2020 and 2021 and a 2021 fourth-rounder.

The move comes on the same day the Rams traded Marcus Peters to the Baltimore Ravens.

Schefter reported last November the Jaguars would potentially be open to dealing Ramsey, a report they refuted by saying they had "zero intention of trading CB Jalen Ramsey."

He remained in Jacksonville through the offseason, but things reached a head only two games into the regular season. During the Jags' 13-12 defeat to the Houston Texans, Ramsey got into an argument with head coach Doug Marrone on the sideline.

Schefter and ESPN colleague Chris Mortensen reported Sept. 16 that Ramsey had formally requested a trade, which his agent subsequently confirmed to Schefter.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport added the issue "has been steadily building."

Ramsey explained on the UNINTERRUPTED podcast 17 Weeks his frustration stemmed from "the front office and the organization." 

Ramsey has one more year on his rookie deal after the Jaguars triggered his $13.7 million fifth-year option for 2020, and he has made no secret of his desire to get paid, reporting to the team in July in an armored truck.

The 24-year-old previously indicated he knew the Jaguars wouldn't be offering him a long-term extension in 2019. According to ESPN's Josina Anderson, "no parameters have even been discussed" between him and the Rams over a new deal.

Shortly after Ramsey's revelation, Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report questioned whether the two sides would reach an agreement over the kind of contract Ramsey would inevitably demand:

"Ramsey is a foundational piece for the Jaguars, but he's still a defensive back. While DBs are arguably the best pure athletes in all of sports, in the NFL they are still seen as highly replaceable. No matter what they've accomplished, no matter how talented they are, they are viewed as cogs who can easily be tossed aside like pieces of plastic in the recycling bin.

"This may sound harsh, but it's true. Tom Coughlin, the old-school executive vice president of football operations of the Jaguars, loves Ramsey but historically has built around quarterbacks, offensive tackles and maybe pass-rushers (especially if look at his best Giants teams). That's about it."

Freeman cited Malcolm Butler, Stephon Gilmore, A.J. Bouye and Trumaine Johnson as examples of cornerbacks who received more money on the open market than they would've gotten from their old teams.

The fact that Jacksonville granted Ramsey's request and traded him is notable because this kind of move is rare in the NFL.

Trades involving star players are scarce, and those that do happen are almost always initiated by the front office. Between Ramsey and Minkah Fitzpatrick, who requested a trade from the Miami Dolphins and quickly landed with the Pittsburgh Steelers, some are wondering whether this will start a larger trend.

The Rams capitalized on the situation to make a significant upgrade to their secondary.

Ramsey finished with 65 combined tackles, 13 passes defended and three interceptions in 2018. Pro Football Focus ranked him as the 15th-best player in the NFL entering 2019.

Through six weeks this year, he has 17 combined tackles and one pass defended.

Ramsey is likely to face an adjustment period as he learns Los Angeles' defense on the fly and builds a rapport with his new teammates. Within a few games, he should be comfortable enough to perform like one of the league's top cornerbacks.

Looking further forward, Ramsey's contract situation will now be the Rams' concern. Clearly the front office wants him to make an immediate impact, but one would expect general manager Les Snead to view him as a contributor beyond 2020 as well.

The idea of the Rams making a play for Ramsey gained steam when they dealt Peters. Los Angeles had just placed Aqib Talib on injured reserve, so the team had a clear need for a proven cornerback.

In general, the 2019 season hasn't gone according to plan for the reigning NFC champions. They're 3-3 and third in the NFC West.

The offense has arguably been a bigger reason for the team's on-field struggles, with Jared Goff's four-year, $134 million extension looking regrettable before it even goes into effect.

Snead had few realistic options to address the offense's biggest problems, though, so it makes sense to load up on defense to compensate.

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