The NFL trade deadline is still two weeks away (Oct. 29) but Tuesday's start to the annual fall league meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, brought forth movement from Los Angeles. The Rams completed three separate deals with the acquisition of star cornerback Jalen Ramsey serving as the likely culmination.
The Jaguars as well as a fourth-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Here are the trade grades for each team:
Jaguars trade grade: A
Ramsey made it clear that he did not want to remain in Jacksonville despite owner Shad Kahn publicly pleading his case for the cornerback to stay. If his future was not with the Jaguars and he was going to continue finding reasons not to play for them, then trading him was the only option.
The trade demand generally would have disposed of any leverage the AFC South franchise had in negotiations but several teams were involved and it became a bidding war. Jacksonville added three draft choices, including two first-round picks for an asset on the shelf.
Jacksonville was still riding high in the division race until consecutive losses to the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints set them back. Each game was decided by one score, however. They can compete without Ramsey and now they have more resources to potentially build around rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew II.
The trade grade would be even higher if not for the acknowledgement that Ramsey is a fantastic player and it hurts any time a team loses a player of his caliber. They can now focus on their future rather than the distraction of Ramsey's trade request. The Florida State product felt as though he were being held hostage and it was unlikely he would develop Stockholm Syndrome any time soon.
Will Brinson, Ryan Wilson and Sean Wagner-McGough issue their immediate reaction to the Jags dealing Jalen Ramsey to the Rams on the latest episode of the Pick Six Podcast. Listen to the full show below and be sure to subscribe right here.
Rams trade grade: B-
The story will reflect that Los Angeles is surrendering draft choices for Ramsey but the commitment extends much deeper. He will enter the final year of his rookie contract next season and he is looking to be paid; that much was clear when he arrived to training camp in a Brinks truck. Spotrac suggests that Ramsey warrants a six-year contract worth roughly $101 million ($16.86 million annually). The deal would make him the league's highest paid cornerback and the 14th highest paid defensive player based on annual salary. It is a lot of money for a team that recently distributed lucrative deals for quarterback Jared Goff, defensive tackle Aaron Donald and running back Todd Gurley.
The defending NFC champions are sitting third in the NFC West behind the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks. After adding veteran cornerback Aqib Talib to injured reserve Monday and trading cornerback Marcus Peters to the Ravens , the Rams needed a boost. Ramsey was that boost.
The former No. 5 overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft had not missed a game until this season. He has played in exactly half of Jacksonville's 2019 regular-season contests. He should be plenty healthy when he joins the Rams despite a previously noted back injury. Over the course of his career, the 24 year old has 218 tackles, two forced fumbles, ten interceptions, 46 pass deflections and a touchdown. Teams are scared to throw in his direction.
Los Angeles has not made a selection in the first round since taking Goff No. 1 overall in 2016. Ramsey went four picks later. It appears unlikely that they will select in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, which is unfortunate because it is. General manager Les Snead will not lose any sleep over his team's lack of involvement though because he has Ramsey.
Ramsey is an elite player. If the NFC West franchise was not surrendering so much in the form of draft compensation and future salary cap space, the grade would be higher. All of that is factored into the equation though. For the sake of comparison, the Miami Dolphins received two first round picks and a second round pick from the Houston Texans in exchange for left tackle Laremy Tunsil. Those have been the blockbuster deals to this point in the year. Tunsil has not appeared in a Pro Bowl. Ramsey has two to his name.