I'm told Jalen Ramsey is fine playing TNF tonight, but a source just told me he doesn't anticipate being a member of the #Jags next Sun. Teams like KC, BAL, MIN, OAK, PHI, SEA hv all made substantive inquiries, but my understanding is almost every team has at least placed a call.
— ig: josinaanderson (@JosinaAnderson) September 19, 2019
Granted this isn’t exactly narrowing things down. Josina Anderson lists six teams specifically before suggesting the entire league has contacted the Jaguars about Jalen Ramsey.
Is there any chance the Seahawks would make this trade?
I still think it’s unlikely but there’s a few things to consider and note.
For starters, the Jaguars are reportedly asking for two first round picks. All things considered, they’re well within their rights to expect at least that. The Houston Texans traded two first round picks, a second round pick and two players to acquire Laremy Tunsil, Kenny Stills and a fourth rounder.
You could argue Tunsil plays a position where there’s a dearth of talent. College football is not producing many good offensive linemen. The Texans are in win-now mode and were desperate. That all contributed to the haul they gave up for Tunsil.
Yet Ramsey is also a superior player. He’s achieved more in the NFL so far (they were both part of the 2016 draft) and he’s legitimately one of the top players in the league at any position. The Tunsil move and the Frank Clark trade (including a first and second round pick) set a high bar for big name deals.
Even so, it feels like the Jaguars are backing themselves into a hole. All of the talk is about a forthcoming trade. The best way to max-out their asset is to at least keep up the pretence that they intend to keep Ramsey. Even with the heated dispute between the player and Doug Marrone last week, is this really a situation that can’t be resolved? Ramsey is, after all, set to play against the Titans tonight. If he was that much of a problem and a distraction he wouldn’t be playing.
The Jags seem to be saying ‘we need Ramsey to beat the Titans’ and in the same breath they’re suggesting, ‘we can win without him the rest of the year’. That’s an odd place to be. They sit uncomfortably as a team determined to compete and unwilling to accept their 0-2 start is the beginning of the end yet they’re also about to trade their best player.
Considering the minor mess that happened a year ago with Leonard Fournette, a trend seems to be emerging here between the powers that be and the best players on the roster.
It feels like Tom Coughlin is trying to assert his control. Which is fine to an extent. Even if you acquire two first round picks, you dream of acquiring a talent like Ramsey. The chances are they won’t add a player of his quality with the picks they get back. So why trade him? Again — if it’s a clash that is sending shockwaves through the franchise he wouldn’t be playing tonight.
If it is a Coughlin vs Ramsey situation, teams will know about it. If Coughlin is determined to move on, they’ll know about it. Good luck negotiating a fantastic trade in that environment.
At the moment there aren’t any desperate teams either. The clubs most linked to Ramsey — Philadelphia, Seattle, Kansas City — are a combined 5-1. Pittsburgh’s trade for Minkah Fitzpatrick was an attempt to try and be competitive after losing the quarterback. They were mildly desperate. None of the teams reportedly touching base with the Jags have this massive, gaping hole at cornerback. Could the Eagles, Seahawks and Chiefs do with an upgrade at corner? Sure. Every team could use Ramsey. There’s a difference, though, between an upgrade (however substantial) and a back-breaking need.
If Jacksonville’s weak bargaining position allows the price to come down to say a first and third round pick — you can imagine a team like the Seahawks being interested in a deal like that. I’m not sure the price will drop that low though — simply because Ramsey is that good.
So what’s the argument for the Seahawks making this happen?
Quite aside from the fact he’s an exceptional talent — it’s also about how this team is shaping up. At the moment it’s easy to look at three question marks for the long term. What happens at the end of the season to the pass rush (with Reed, Clowney & Ansah all free agents)? What happens at right tackle (with Ifedi & Fant free agents)? How do they add more talent in the secondary?
Tre Flowers and Shaquille Griffin have started the season quite well. Neither has been a liability. The Seahawks have always preferred to draft and develop cornerbacks instead of splurging. That said — next season they definitely need more depth, competition and talent across the secondary.
Ramsey would provide an immediate injection of talent. It’d no longer be a need — at least not at corner. You’d have a star and improved depth.
This tweet from Ian Rapoport also poses an interesting question…
The potential Jalen Ramsey trade brings up an interesting situation for GMs: Would you trade two late 1s to ensure you get a young All-Pro in his prime? Look at each team’s last two first-rounders and think, would you trade them for Ramsey? It’s a good exercise.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 19, 2019
There aren’t many teams (this isn’t just a Seattle thing) where you can easily make a case that Ramsey is superior to the last two players drafted in round one. The Seahawks haven’t had a pick in the top-15 for seven years. They want to compete for Super Bowls. They’re unlikely to be able to draft a player of Ramsey’s supreme caliber in the first round if they remain a playoff team.
For those reasons, of course a trade is appealing. It doesn’t mean you pull the trigger. You can make a case for it though and the Seahawks are right to be ‘in the mix’ for this trade even if it’s one of the many deals they’re involved in that doesn’t come off.
If they gave up their 2020 and 2021 first round picks, they’d still have two second rounders next year. If they win a Super Bowl in the next couple of seasons and Ramsey contributes towards that, nobody will complain. You could even argue Ramsey is talented enough that it’s not even that much of a roll of the dice — whether the end result is Championship’s or not.
The last player of Ramsey’s quality to be traded was Khalil Mack. He cost two first round picks. Is anyone in Chicago complaining about that deal 12 months on? Of course not. Oakland used Chicago’s pick at #24 on Josh Jacobs.
Who would you rather have?
One report suggested Ramsey wasn’t interested in featuring in a zone scheme and wanted to match-up in man 1v1. Some have argued this rules him out in Seattle. There’s a very important thing to remember here — Ramsey will go to any competitive team that’s willing to pay him a huge extension. He’s not going to complain about his role if a team provides him with Super Bowl opportunities and a record-breaking contract for a cornerback.
Financially can they make it happen? Sure. They have an estimated $75-80m in cap space for 2020. They have some starters reaching free agency but even if Ramsey was given a deal worth $18m a season — there’s still plenty of money to try and keep Reed, Clowney, Ansah, Ifedi, Fant and/or others if they wished. They’d also still have two second round picks to fill some holes.
I personally don’t think a trade to Seattle will happen. They’ll hide in the tall grass waiting to pounce if the opportunity is right. I think the team who trades for Ramsey will be the aggressor. I think the Seahawks wait for a possible deal to come to them, just as they did with Jadeveon Clowney. On this occasion, however, another team will make it happen and the deal will be too rich for Seattle.
It’d be foolish to completely rule it out, however. It’s not often a player like this becomes available. And let’s not forget this is still a front office that traded for Percy Harvin, Jimmy Graham, Sheldon Richardson and Duane Brown.
They have the picks and money to make it happen. Whether they want to pay a high price in both instances and outbid other teams is the question mark.
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