CB Darious Williams is ‘other guy’ in LA Rams-Ravens trade

Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports /

When the LA Rams traded CB Peters to the Ravens, nobody factored DB Darious Williams in as the ‘other guy’ in the exchange

The LA Rams are frequently reminded that they traded away cornerback Marcus Peters to the Baltimore Ravens mid-season in 2019 for inside linebacker Kenny Young and a 2020 fifth-round draft pick.  That transaction was just one in a series of three planned transactions designed to retool the Rams porous secondary.

After all the dust cleared, the Baltimore Ravens ended up with Peters, the Miami Dolphins ended up with injured CB Aqib Talib and the Rams 2020 fifth-round pick, the Jacksonvile Jaguars ended up with the LA Rams 2020 first-round, Rams 2021 first-round and fourth-round picks, and the LA Rams ended up with Jalen Ramsey, the Baltimore Ravens 2020 fifth-round pick, and the Jacksonville Jaguars 2022 seventh round pick.

The ‘other guy’ in the equation

A quick and dirty analysis reveals that the LA Rams parted ways with two cornerbacks, and paid a rather steep price to obtain one defensive back from the Jaguars. And that is where the analysis, trade grades, and discussion ends. But it should not stop there. There were more players involved.

In fact, it definitely must add the other guy in the equation.  You see, there is a little known fact that the Ravens had waived another defensive back, Darious Williams, to make room for Jimmy Smith in 2018. And yes, the Rams were more than eager to claim him.

Including Williams in the overall equation changes everything in terms of answering the question – who came out ahead in these transactions?

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Recalculating the winners

Now, who won the exchange of all teams involved? In order of value you have:
IV- Miami Dolphins – The Dolphins added a 2020 fifth-rounder at the cost of Talib’s salary and a 2022 seventh round draft pick. Grade C
III – Jacksonville Jaguars – The Jaguars added a 2020 first rounder and 2021 first and fourth rounder in exchange for DB Jalen Ramsey. While the draft picks are valuable, the Jaguars surrendered one of the elite shutdown defensive backs of the NFL. The Jaguars had no chance of keeping Ramsey, and got the most in a trade as possible. Grade B
II – Baltimore Ravens – Recaliberating the results from the Peters trade, the Ravens ended up with a great cornerback fit in Marcus Peters. But the team did so at a cost of a 2020 fifth-round pick, ILB Kenny Young, and DB Darious Williams.  Not as special in the end as originally expected. The original grade of this transaction ignored the fact that the Ravens waived an eventual starting cornerback playing among the NFL’s best for the Rams., and they got nothing in return. Grade B-
I – LA Rams – Adding the acquisition of defensive back Darious Williams from the Ravens at no cost changes the balance of all transactions considerably. The Rams gave away two first-round picks, one fourth round pick, and fifth-round pick, an injured (and expensive) Aqib Talib, and a poor-fitting Marcus Peters. In return, the Rams added DB Jalen Ramsey, DB Darious Williams, and a 2022 seventh round pick. That’s two starting defensive backs who are both playing among the NFL’s best. Grade A-
In the end, it was the Rams who walked away with two starting defensive backs. One is a shutdown corner. The other is playing lights out.

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While the Ravens have patted themselves on the back for landing a great fit from the Rams, it’s the Rams who have equaled that success from the Ravens. In fact, the player the Ravens discarded for zero compensation is now a star on the Rams defense. And he’s playing among the best defensive backs in the NFL.

So yes, all’s well that ends well. The Ravens ended up with Marcus Peters, who has three interceptions for them this season. The Rams ended up with Jalen Ramsey. They also ended up with Darious Williams, who has four interceptions for them this season. If you believe in a win-win trade scenario in the NFL, then the Rams-Ravens exchange fits the bill.

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But if you insist that one team must win in any exchange over the other, then it was the Rams who came out far ahead of the Ravens in their transactions.  The Ravens ended up with a starting cornerback. The Rams ended up with a starting cornerback, and starting inside linebacker, and a fifth-round draft pick. To be honest, the Rams defensive back is playing better than Peters this season.