It wasn’t that long ago that Les Snead sent shockwaves around the NFL when he sent not one, but two first-round picks and a fourth-round pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars for Jalen Ramsey to join the Los Angeles Rams.
Snead executed a trade for arguably the league’s best cornerback at just 25 years of age.
Still, the reaction? A meme of Snead with the caption “F Them picks.” “The Rams made a risky bet trading for Jalen Ramsey.” “Rams’ big investments may be what brings them down.” “The Rams are in major trouble with no picks.” “Snead disappoints again with flashy trade.” Some were even calling for Snead to be fired.
However, as I’ve stated before, Snead continues to show no fear and isn’t afraid to pull the trigger. That’s a type of general manager that most fans would love their teams to have.
Over the weekend, the Seattle Seahawks pulled off a trade that sent star safety Jamal Adams to the division rival. The trade? Similar to the Ramsey deal: two first-round picks, a third-round pick, and Bradley McDougald in exchange for Adams and a fourth.
The narratives are completely different despite the fact that the deals were essentially the same. Now, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t differences. The Seahawks have Russell Wilson under center. With that said, did the Seahawks really need to give up that much for Adams if they had Wilson? The Ramsey deal was also done midseason.
Aside from those two points, both players were traded at 24 years of age. Both players were traded either in or heading into their fourth NFL season. Adams and Ramsey are both among the best at their respective positions. It’s not as if the Seahawks got Adams earlier in his rookie contract or at a younger age and yet the narratives are completely different.
Heck, when the Rams they made the Ramsey trade the team was 3-3, in the middle of the NFC playoff hunt, and were the defending NFC champions.
Now, the issue with both deals, and it’s a fair one, is that trading away draft picks gives both teams less cap flexibility. The Rams obviously have less flexibility than the Seahawks, but at some point, both players will expect to be paid big money and won’t have the value of first-round rookie contracts to supplement other positions on the roster.
However, the narrative that the Rams don’t have any draft picks is a false one. In fact, the Rams tied for the tenth most draft picks back in April with nine. Additionally, Snead’s four picks on day two of the draft trailed just the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens.
The Rams currently only have four picks in 2021, but that doesn’t include the compensatory selections that they should receive for Dante Fowler and Cory Littleton. They will be back up to six picks in 2022.
A large point that’s also missing in both the Adams and Ramsey deals is that both defensive backs are better than any player that would be available at those respective spots.
In April, the Jaguars selected LSU edge K’Lavon Chaisson who is hardly the generational talent that Ramsey is. It’s also well documented how poorly the Seahawks have drafted in the first round by taking players like LJ Collier, Rashad Penny, Germaine Ifedi, and most recently Jordyn Brooks – another criticized selection.
Jamal Adams is better than any player that the Seahawks could have drafted in the 20+ range over the next two years. The same can be said for Ramsey and the Rams.
The fact of the matter is, teams aren’t built in the first round. The bulk of NFL teams are made up of day two and day three picks, plus the occasional undrafted free agent. When all is said and done, the first round makes up just 32 of the NFL Draft’s 250+ selections.
It’s arguably just as important, if not more so to hit on picks in the middle of the draft than it is earlier in the draft which is what the Seahawks and Rams for that matter (Kupp, Higbee, Johnson III), have both done.
The point in all this is just to say that neither the Rams nor the Seahawks overpaid in either deal. The fact that analysts are saying it’s “a great deal for the Seahawks” shows how Snead made a great deal when trading for Jalen Ramsey, giving up less to do so.
NFL general managers have to pay a premier price for young, premier talent. That’s simply market-value. John Schneider and, therefore, Les Snead did just that.