Did you feel that? Business just picked up in front offices across the National Football League. All because of the seismic waves caused by Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey on Monday afternoon. Ramsey has formally submitted a trade request to the Jacksonville Jaguars after a very public spat on the sideline of the team's 13-12 loss to the Houston Texans in Week 2.
Let's be honest -- the only way you didn't see this one coming is if you haven't been paying attention. The Jaguars and Jalen Ramsey have had a very open dispute regarding his contract situation for months on end now -- with Ramsey calling out the organization all the way back in June on an Instagram Live stream with teammate Leonard Fournette.
"Next year, especially after I ball? They're going to come to me -- 'hey, you know...we wanna holler at you!' That number is going to be so ungodly. That number's gonna be so ungodly they're just gonna look... they're gonna say 'oh my God! We can't get a little discount? Twenty percent off?' I'm gonna tell them last year y'all could've got that discount. This year? I need all that."
This has been a long time coming. And since the Jaguars have kicked Ramsey's contract extension down the road without intent to pay Ramsey to his own satisfaction, the talented cornerback is taking matters into his own hands. He wants out.
There are those that would tell you Jalen Ramsey is the best cornerback in all of football. I'm not sure I'd fight you if you wanted to debate me on the subject -- he's a special, special talent. But his objective is clear: he's ready to graduate off of his rookie contract. So whomever targets him via trade, be ready.
Jacksonville is requesting at least one 1st-round pick for Ramsey, but to be honest a player of Ramsey's caliber will require more -- even with an extension on the table. And so the question begs to be asked: which landing spots make the most sense for Ramsey?
Welcome to this week's edition of Studs & Duds.
STUD - The Kansas City Chiefs
What if I told you the Kansas City Chiefs were a team in "win now" mode who have invested heavily into the defensive front seven this offseason and their only real weakness lies in the secondary, where they currently start Bashaud Breeland and Charvarius Ward on the outside. Their best corner is their nickel -- Kendall Fuller. And with Tyrann Mathieu and Juan Thornhill manning the safety positions, the Chiefs would greatly benefit from an upgrade on the outside.
Oh. Yeah. And Patrick Mahomes has two more years PLUS a club option in 2021 on his rookie contract. That gives the Chiefs a three year strike zone to bring Ramsey into the fray -- pay him his guarantees and then address the cash situation when Mahomes is ready to re-up on a record setting contract.
Yes, the Chiefs still need to pay DL Chris Jones, who is in a contract year. But they're currently listed as having over $23M in 2019 cap space and have an out in WR Sammy Watkins' contract this offseason that could save the team $14M all by himself.
Which would you rather have, Chiefs fans? Sammy Watkins as your 3rd best receiving option in the passing game or Jalen Ramsey locking down opposing receivers?
This roster is LOADED. There's so few places where a potential 1st-round pick -- and a late one, given Kansas City's situation -- could step in and be a plug and play starter. Except, you know, cornerback...where the Chiefs have a chance to jump on the best one in football.
DUD - The Seattle Seahawks
Remember that time that the Seahawks brought in a Big-12 safety from the 5th-round of the 2018 NFL Draft (Tre Flowers) and he played like...really good football at corner for Seattle? Fun times. And there lies the problem for Seattle: I don't think they NEED this investment. Would they benefit from an upgrade in the secondary? Sure. But they're a team I think would make a lot of sense for a different investment -- Miami Dolphins defender Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick has expressed his desire to play more deep safety and nickel corner -- the Dolphins have looked to play him on the second level at times and be a primary run defender as a strong safety. Seattle has that box checked with 2019 2nd-round pick Marquise Blair. Fitzpatrick in Seattle's secondary is super exciting -- and with Ramsey now on the market, the Dolphins' asking price for Fitzpatrick may serve as an appealing alternative.
Seattle would benefit from the addition of Ramsey, make no mistake about that. And in a crowded NFC field, they'd get a big boost to their playoff aspirations to bring Ramsey into the picture. But this team already invested in a star this fall -- remember, they traded for DE Jadeveon Clowney (they essentially got him for free, but I digress) and will need to pay him the big bucks after he plays 2019 on the franchise tag. Cap space wouldn't be a problem to sign them both, though.
I just think Seattle could get more bang for their buck by attacking other places on the roster with some of the assets the Jaguars would require in a deal.
STUD - The Oakland Raiders
So you have to play the Kansas City Chiefs twice a year. You know what might help with that? Having Gareon Conley and Jalen Ramsey playing the cornerback position. Yes, the Raiders are a good spot for Ramsey!
The Raiders have a boatload of cap looming on the horizon in 2020 and have two easy restructure candidates on their roster in QB Derek Carr and OT Trenton Brown, who are both on the books for $21.5M cap hits next year (yikes). Ramsey would step onto this team and immediately be their best defender.
Oh, and bonus points for the Raiders already having two first round picks in 2020 thanks to the Khalil Mack trade. Imagine Oakland flipping some of their package for Mack into landing Jalen Ramsey? That'd be a big win.
Oakland can pull this deal off and still keep a 1st-round pick for this year's NFL Draft. It makes a ton of sense.
DUD - The Los Angeles Chargers
Once upon a time, the Florida State Seminoles secondary boasted a junior named Jalen Ramsey and a freshman named Derwin James. It took us a few years to get the Odell Beckham/Jarvis Landry reunion tour in Cleveland -- who else is game for a reunion tour of these two studs?
Ehhh. Maybe not.
The Chargers are in an awkward spot with draft picks. How long will Philip Rivers continue to ball out? If the Chargers have an idea that Rivers has aspirations of playing another two or three years, then yes -- the Chargers stand to have a reasonable chance to get in on that action. Like the Oakland Raiders, the Chargers also have to deal with the likes of Kansas City twice a year. Unlike the Oakland Raiders, the Chargers seem to have a reasonable chance to challenge for the division title.
And with some other players (hi, Melvin Gordon) ready to find a chance to play elsewhere, the Chargers have a modest chance to recoup some of the Draft capital it would cost to make a move for Ramsey.
BUT! The Chargers have massive issues along the offensive line -- if you're going to try to win now with an aging quarterback, isn't it more sensible to attack the offensive line and protect your veteran signal caller? The Chargers surrendering multiple high picks to land Ramsey -- and subsequently paying him -- will really knock down their efforts to boost the offensive line, either through the draft or through free agency. The Chargers are currently on the books for $56M in cap next year -- but that's without anything on the books for Philip Rivers ($23M cap hit in 2019) and whatever it would cost to pay Ramsey (think in excess of $15M per year average).
Money starts to get tight the more you think about a deal for the Chargers and Jaguars.
STUD - The Los Angeles Rams
The bad news: the Rams have like $2.5M in cap space this year. The good news? The Rams have a whole TON of cash coming open for 2020 -- the team has Dante Fowler's $12M, Andrew Whitworth's $11.25M (he is 38, I'm just saying), Michael Brockers' $11.08M, Aqib Talib's $9.5M and CB Marcus Peters' $9.07M as expiring contracts.
Shoot. You could bring everyone back and just let Dante Fowler walk and fit Ramsey under the cap.
Could the Rams make 2019 work? Ramsey is due $3.634M in base salary. And he's already played two games for the Jaguars. Yes -- a simple roster move or two should be able to open the wiggle room financially to make this move work until the cash frees up in 2020 for the big payday for Ramsey.
Ramsey playing in the bright lights of Los Angeles feels like a great fit for his personality, too. And Ramsey plays to win -- he'd do a lot of that with the Rams, too. Ramsey can step in and give the Rams a terrifying CB duo of he and Talib in 2019 and help marginalize the up and down play of ballhawk Marcus Peters.
In the long-term? The Rams' foundational pieces are pretty set. They don't need 1st-round picks to step in and help this team win -- hence why the Ramsey marriage would be so much fun.
DUD - The Dallas Cowboys
Woah buddy. There's a whole sub-section of #CowboysTwitter who was completely up in arms that Dallas elected to draft Ezekiel Elliott with the 4th pick instead of Jalen Ramsey back in 2016. And, if you close your eyes and listen carefully, you can hear the hyperventilating Cowboys fans realizing they may end up with Byron Jones and Jalen Ramsey as their one/two punch at cornerback.
But alas -- reality beckons for "America's Team". Dallas could realistically haul Ramsey in a deal. But would doing so be selling their soul for a one or two year window at a Lombardi?
Dallas has handed out more guaranteed money in contract extensions this summer than Jerry Jones did when he bought the damn Cowboys back in 1989. AND HE'S NOT DONE -- he still needs to pay Amari Cooper and Dak Prescott, who is balling out of his mind to start the season.
Could Dallas really bring Ramsey in and pay him, Dak and Cooper after already paying up big for Zeke, Demarcus Lawrence, Jaylon Smith, Byron Jones, La'el Collins? After already having big contracts for Zack Martin, Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick on the books?
Man, I guess so -- but then you'd really need those 1st-round picks you're coughing up to replace the holes in a deep roster that will inevitably be created in letting other players walk.