By Richie Lay – Los Angeles Rams Writer
Who says the NFL is boring midweek?
A flurry of business on Tuesday was concluded with a huge trade when the Jacksonville Jaguars announced they were shipping star cornerback Jalen Ramsey to the Los Angeles Rams.
Tuesday started with news that Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Austin Corbett was headed to California in return for a 2021 fifth-round draft pick. Corbett has been underwhelming at best for the Browns in his two years, making just one start for Cleveland. I am not convinced he will be the missing piece that transforms this dire Rams O-line, but it seems a decent value swap for LA – and he can’t be much worse than the current options available to the Rams.
But the trade saga was only just beginning, and fans began asking questions of General Manager Les Snead when news broke out that current starting cornerback Marcus Peters had been sent to the Ravens, for little-known linebacker Kenny Young (along with an undisclosed 2020 draft pick). Young, who was a fourth-round pick in 2018 out of UCLA, is a promising young player. While not the finished article yet, he could turn into a solid starter for the Rams in the future and fits into a position group that is without the injured Clay Matthews.
However, this seemed a particularly strange move for a team whose secondary unit was suddenly looking very thin, having just placed their other starting cornerback Aqib Talib on injured reserve. Marcus Peters had turned into an excellent player for Los Angeles, and while not a total ‘lock-down’ cornerback, he was certainly an excellent coverage man and got more than his fair share of interceptions.
To me, the Rams were the big losers in this individual trade when looked at in a vacuum. Yes, Peters’ contract is up for renewal at the end of the season and, likely, the Rams didn’t want to pay him knowing how little salary cap room they had. But it did leave LA on very thin ground at the cornerback position and to me, Kenny Young did not represent good enough value.
So, a bad day of trades for the Rams… unless…
The trade saga had one final twist when Les Snead revealed a move that very few people, if any, saw coming. Stud CB Jalen Ramsey has made his discontent in Jacksonville clear this year; a sideline bust-up with Head Coach Doug Marrone in a Week 2 loss quickly resulted in a trade request for the former fifth-round pick, who had become a far cry from the defensive team leader and motivator that he was in Sacksonville’s 2017 campaign.
What did it cost the Rams? In simple terms: a lot. Jaguars owner Shad Khan indicated several times that trade for the disgruntled star was not on the table, but the Rams’ offer of two first-round picks (2020 and 2021) and a fourth-round pick in 2021 clearly tempted him.
Ramsey is arguably the top player in the NFL at his position, and he comes to the Rams at a time where they desperately need talent at cornerback. He should slot straight into the defense in LA where they run a press-coverage scheme that will suit the 24-year-old perfectly. Not only this, but Ramsey has become infamous for his boisterous and cocky nature. His ability to drum up motivation and fire up a defense is well documented. Ramsey could be the spark that Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips needs to get his unit going and help to turn around the Rams’ three-game losing streak, during which their pass defense has been noticeably poor.
Short term, I love this trade. Jalen Ramsey is one of those players that if he isn’t on your team, you say he is an overrated, cocky loud-mouth – but secretly, every fan would love to see him playing for their team (don’t try and tell me you wouldn’t!). That scenario has just become a reality for me as a Rams fan and I can’t wait to see him in white and blue this weekend up against Julio Jones and the Falcons.
In saying that, the cost was extremely high, and it remains to be seen whether this trade will still look good for the Rams in years to come. Draft picks are a lottery, and we will never know what the Rams will miss out on in that regard. But that’s a problem for future Richie to worry about – present-day Richie is all aboard the Ramsey hype-train. Oh, I almost forgot the Kenny Young and Austin Coleman trains too…
Featured Picture – Credit: Bill Kostroun/AP