PFF proposes unlikely LA Rams trade Jalen Ramsey to the Dolphins
By Bret Stuter
The NFL Free Agency market officiall opens in three weeks. But the crazy NFL trade scenarios are already open for business, and the flavor of the month appears to include any and every possible trade scenario that involves the LA Rams and All-Pro defensive back Jalen Ramsey.
At one point, the Rams rumors were merely trade scenarios that greatly resembled children's Christmas wish lists, a shopping list that began with "I wish the (insert fan's favorite NFL team name) would trade for the LA Rams DB Jalen Ramsey," and that was it. But those types of social media desires grew in number and volume.
Those Rams rumors grew in frequency and volume, to the point where NFL reports seem to have a new daily dose of the topic in some form or fashion. The latest Rams rumor of trading Jalen Ramsey actually was included in a recent Pro Football Focus article about 5 NFL Trades. In his article, Brad Spielberger lists off five different NFL trade scenarios, each involving a major NFL player. But there is some confusion with the entire premise.
The article just proposes the trades, but offers next to nothing in terms of the motivation for those trades. Should the reader guess why the Green Bay Packers would want to trade Aaron Rodgers to the Las Vegas Raiders? Or should we just accept that it's for the good of the game?
What does that Rams rumored trade look like?
Where the article loses me is the proposal that the LA Rams would trade Jalen Ramsey to the Miami Dolphins. But before I critique that proposal, let me lay out what the trade entails:
The LA Rams traded for Ramsey from the Jacksonville Jaguars by offering up two first round draft picks plus a fourth round pick. But in this proposal the LA Rams are honored to trade Ramsey away for two second round picks, but must kick in a fifth round pick to balance the value? What is wrong with this trade scenario? Let me count the ways:
The first hurdle to this trade scenario is the dollars involved. While the LA Rams could trade Ramsey, why would they endure the financial chaos that trading Ramsey would cause to their salary cap? Right now, the LA Rams are $15 million over the 2023 NFL salary cap and have three weeks to fit under the ceiling. You might think that trading away a highly compensated player would help accomplish that. But, that is not the way it works. While Ramsey hits the LA Rams for over $25 million in 2023, part of that salary cap hit is money that was paid previously that is spread out over the life of Ramsey's contract. In short, the Rams will only save $5 million by trading Ramsey.
Threshold for Rams to make this trade is not met
While the Rams would love to get two new second round draft picks, the immediate need if the team does trade Jalen Ramsey becomes adding an elite defensive back who can start immediately. If the Rams believe such a defensive back is available in the 2023 NFL Draft, then this is a possilbe scenario. But in the second round? Well, you can bet that the Dolphins would take that gamble as well if they believed such a player existed.
But there is a bigger flaw in this scenario at work. Why would the LA Rams, a team that has invested heavily in winning now, take a path that sets the secondary, and the entire team, in a much worse position? If the goal is to 'free up' cap space, the team will quickly negate any savings realized by the need to restock the position in time for the upcoming 2023 NFL season.
This PFF proposed trade scenario does not:
Free up salary cap space for the LA Rams
Upgrade the LA Rams roster
Improve the LA Rams' chances of winning
All of which sends me back to my original protest. Why would the Rams do this? In the absence of any reasons to do so, I am forced to conclude that they would not do it.
I know that Rams rumors about trading Jalen Ramsey are hot right now, but shouldn't they include compelling reasons why the LA Rams would do so? While some may have lost confidence that Ramsey is the same shutdown corner he was once feared to be, he remains one of the NFL's elite pass defenders. And he has few equals in his position at run support and tackling.
The first premise of any trade scenario is incentivizing both teams to engage in that trade. In this one, that threshold for the Rams is simply never met.