When the LA Rams traded away All-Pro DB Jalen Ramsey to the Miami Dolphins for TE Hunter Long and a Round 3 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, it appeared as though the LA Rams were content to settle for a partial salary dump scenario. After all, Hunter Long was little more than a blocking tight end in the Dolphins offensive system, and a Round 3 pick for an All-Pro defensive back who could change the outcome of a game seemed as though the LA Rams were simply content to get whatever they could.
With nearly a full 2023 NFL season between now and the time of that trade, perhaps that is how the transaction went down. Perhaps this is as good of a time as any to revisit that benchmark trade that clearly set the 2023 stage for both the Miami Dophins and the LA Rams:
Now let's examine the pieces of that trade:
The truth is that All-Pro defensive back Jalen Ramsey continues to be an elite NFL player who is capable of elevating the play of an entire NFL secondary. Despite missing seven games in 2023, he has quickly emerged as the star defender for the Miami Dolphins. His post-season experience with the LA Rams has done nothing but enhance his value for a team that is eager to advance in the NFL Playoffs.
Ramsey has played 509 defensive snaps in the Dolphins' secondary, which has resulted in 18 tackles, three interceptions, and five passes defensed. He continues to play at a high level, reflected by his Pro Football Focus grade for 2023 at 72.6. The Dolphins have to be happy with Ramsey this year.
The Rams half of the trade certainly did not hit high marks with TE Hunter Long. Long suited up for just 123 offensive snaps in 2023, Despite appearing in four games for the LA Rams, Long was never targeted in the passing game. While he did serve some usefulness as an extra blocker, he has yet to warrant much in any discussion regarding his impact on the LA Rams roster.
Byron Young (77th overall 2023 NFL Draft)
The Rams-Dolphins trade would arguably be viewed as completely lopsided if not for the 2023 NFL Draft. But a funny thing happened in the draft. The LA Rams landed a rising star rookie edge rusher named Byron Young. And yes, he has hit the football field running this year.
If not for the sensational season by rookie teammate Kobie Turner, Rams fans would be overwhelmed with stories and articles about outside linebacker Byron Young's performance this year. While just a rookie, he has amassed 7.0 quarterback sacks, 18 quarterback hits, seven tackles for a loss, and 60 tackles. He is not just a good rookie, he leads the entire 2023 rookie class in quarterback sacks but for one player: NT Kobie Turner.
Will Byron Young rise to the level of Pro Bowler in his NFL career? Will he ever be in the running for NFL All-Pro? That's not a question we can answer right now. We do know that his four-year contract with the LA Rams is only a fraction of the cost as Ramsey's three-year deal with the Miami Dolphins. In 2023, the Rams simply could no longer afford to pay Ramsey.
In the end, the Rams landed in a pretty good spot, good enough to declare everyone a winner from that trade after all.