On Tuesday, Jalen Ramsey got what he wanted. Eventually, he’ll get what he wants.
By trading for the best cornerback in football without signing him to a new deal, the Rams have given Ramsey considerable leverage. They’ve given up two first-round picks and a fourth-round pick for a player who is signed through 2020 only. He eventually will command a record deal for cornerbacks, jamming the bar much higher than the current new-money maximum of $15.1 million per year.
When the Texans did the same thing for tackle Laremy Tunsil, they were labeled as bumbling and inept. In fairness, those who criticized the Texans for not extending Tunsil when trading for him (me included) should also criticize the Rams for not getting a new contract with Ramsey before finalizing the trade.
Ramsey was desperate to get out of Jacksonville. To make that happen, who knows what he would have committed to over the next five years? Instead, the Rams have painted themselves into a corner with the cornerback, and it’s eventually going to cost a lot to get them out of it.
It’s unclear whether the Rams were planning this move before Aqib Talib suffered fractured ribs, or whether it became a priority after Talib became injured. It’s a move that bolsters a pass defense that has struggled, but that does nothing to improve an offense that was held to 78 passing yards without the threat of Todd Gurley on the field against the 49ers.
Will Ramsey make a difference for a 3-3 team that is stuck in third place in its division and that will have a hard time grabbing one of the wild-card berths in the NFC? It remains to be seen. But the Rams have issues that go far beyond Tuesday’s swap of Peters for Ramsey, and one of those issues will when will they pay Ramsey, and how much?