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October 15, 2019

Jalen Ramsey traded, not to the Eagles

The Jacksonville Jaguars have traded Jalen Ramsey.

No, not to the Philadelphia Eagles. He was dealt to the Los Angeles Rams, and as expected, the price was steep. The details, via Adam Schefter of ESPN:

And of course, the cost doesn't end there, as the Rams will also assuredly be giving Ramsey a new long-term deal that will no doubt be the most expensive at his position in the NFL, whenever that happens.

As a reminder:

  1. July, 2018: Todd Gurley becomes the highest-paid RB ever.
  2. August, 2018: Aaron Donald becomes the highest-paid defensive player ever.
  3. September, 2019: Jared Goff receives the most guaranteed money ever.

The Rams are going to be quite top-heavy, in terms of their salary cap allocation.

As for the Jaguars, this feels like quality compensation in return for a player that did not want to be there, and was likely to walk in free agency the first chance he got.

But enough about those other teams. How does this deal affect the Eagles? I think there are arguments for both sides of the coin here.

On the "that's too rich of a cost front," they keep their their next two first-round picks. For a team that had the second-oldest roster in the NFL heading into this season and a severe lack of young/cheap, first-contract talent, the Eagles need to hit on as many of their future draft picks as possible. Otherwise, after finally breaking through with the first Super Bowl title 20 months ago, they run the risk of seeing what might have been a nice long run of contention fizzling out earlier that anyone would have expected.

On the "but just go get him" front, the Eagles value the cornerback position highly, behind only the quarterback position, and likely a smidge behind offensive tackle and the pass rush. They've dumped a lot of resources into building their anemic cornerback position for years, and still haven't gotten that fixed, as any casual observer has seen over the last, um, decade? Ramsey would have boosted the Eagles' chances of contending this season, and would also check one of the cornerback boxes for the foreseeable future, assuming a trade for him would also result in an eventual contract extension.

Ramsey is a great player. He was the fifth overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, and has been absolutely worthy of that high selection since entering the league. In 2017, he was a First-Team All-Pro, and has been to the Pro Bowl in each of the last two years.

He's a big, 6'1, 208-pound corner who isn't just big. He's also an exceptional athlete:

In his first three seasons with the Jaguars, Ramsey had 193 tackles, 9 INTs, and an impressive 44 pass breakups, even with opposing quarterbacks being more willing to attack other parts of the Jacksonville defense.

He's still only 24 (he'll turn 25 in 9 days), and some believe that he is already the best cornerback in the NFL. Ramsey would have helped, for sure. It'll be interesting to see if the Eagles trade for a different corner instead, and how it all plays out.

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