It’s hard to believe that it’s already been a week and a half since the Super Bowl transpired. The Kansas City Chiefs are the 2019 NFL Champions. Now, all eyes shift to the 2020 NFL season, and that starts with the offseason schedule.
The next big event coming up is the NFL combine, which always happens at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana in late February. Then, unfortunately after that, a long couple of months until the NFL draft in late April, followed by another 2-3 months until training camp. And, that’s if you don’t count OTA’s and all of the other offseason events.
Over the next few weeks, there will be vast number of mock drafts from all platforms, even right here at Downtown Rams. But, I feel we need to discuss the biggest elephant in the room when it comes to players currently under contract.
If you read the title, this piece will focus on what I think is the Los Angeles Rams’ number one priority going into the 2020 season. In addition to Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey is the defensive corner piece around whom this franchise should build, especially since Rams will be moving into SoFi Stadium in 2020 and expected to be perennial NFC contenders.
Why Jalen Ramsey? Well, here’s why:
The Huge Haul
During the 2019 season, the Rams sent their 2020 and 2021 first-round picks to the Jacksonville Jaguars to get the 25-year-old corner from Florida State. In twelve games last year, Ramsey accumulated one interception, four pass deflections, two forced fumbles, and 50 combined tackles (33 combined with the Rams). Ramsey is considered a Top 10 cornerback in the NFL, and has the ceiling of a Top 5 cornerback. That’s why the Rams decided to go all in a guy who could be the top corner for the franchise for years to come.
According to Pro Football Focus, he was graded 71.5 overall for the 2019 season (most likely considered a down year for a player of his talent). When it came to targets he was ranked T-49th, with 64 targets. This gives the indication that QBs didn’t want anything to do with Ramsey so they wanted to keep the ball away from him. But, he also ranked T-36th for receptions with 43 (not bad but with more experience in the system he can easily rebound to regain his elite coverage).
Ramsey is a shutdown corner with still lots of potential and this is a guy who’s considered Top 10, maybe even Top 5 in the league for the position.
Ramsey’s Giant Market
The market value for Ramsey is staggering. His market value right now, according to Spotrac, is $14.3M annually. When it comes to rankings in terms of contracts, he’s currently 33rd for cornerbacks and 292nd for the whole NFL. His average right now is $5.83M, which is crazy to think about for a guy who’s 25 and already an All-Pro and 3x Pro-Bowler. If the Rams went up to the $14.3M that Ramsey has earned, he would be ranked 4th among all corners and 65th in the league.
The contract the Rams would be looking at to give to Ramsey, again according to Spotrac, would look like 5 years/$71.576M. For the player of Ramsey’s caliber, you would make that deal yesterday if that meant locking down a key piece to your defense, and the core of the team, until 2026 (once that deal kicks in after 2021). If you compare that deal with former Rams corner Marcus Peters (3 years/$42 M, $14M annually) that is a no brainer move for the Rams. It wouldn’t make much sense to trade draft capital, especially for two first-round picks over the next two years, if the Rams don’t extend Ramsey’s contract.
The Rams need to make this deal happen, primarily if they want to keep this core of Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, Jared Goff, Todd Gurley, etc. going for the next few years, and secondarily if they want to make a splash before moving into the brand-new SoFi stadium after this season. Don’t be shocked if a deal gets done sometime this year or before free agency next year.
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