There’s one thing pretty certain when it comes to the NFL. If a player demands to be traded, sooner or later he’s going to be traded.
Jalen Ramsey told the Jacksonville Jaguars a month ago he’d rather play elsewhere. At first, he seemed a little belligerent about it, talking smack to the organization about a lack of respect and commitment.
And then he just disappeared for three weeks with variety of personal ailments and conflicts. You didn’t need a degree in general managership to understand Ramsey didn’t want to play and the Jaguars weren’t going to risk injuring a valuable trade chip by letting him play.
Finally on Tuesday, the saga came to an end as part of a whirlwind day for the Los Angeles Rams, the defending NFC championship.
Losers of three straight, and struggling with injuries and ineffectiveness in their secondary (20th against the pass), the Rams traded first-round picks in 2020 and 2021 (and a 2021 fourth-rounder) to acquire the mercurial Ramsey.
The trade was made around the same time as the one which sent cornerback Marcus Peters from the Rams to the Baltimore Ravens. And it came a few hours after the Rams announced that their best cornerback, Aqib Talib, was going on injured reserve for eight weeks with a rib injury. The plan is for Ramsey to play this weekend.
Here’s a refresher course on the Ramsey timeline:
He originally got pissed off during the Week 2 loss at Houston. He and coach Doug Marrone got into a shouting match on the sidelines and Ramsey’s teammates had to intervene. Apparently, Marrone refused to throw a challenge flag after a reception Ramsey wanted contested.
And then his boss, Tom Coughlin, the vice president of football operations, had the temerity to tell Ramsey after the game that he was out of line. Ramsey did not like that very much, saying Coughlin was disrespectful.
The next day, news leaked Ramsey had demanded a trade, something he originally denied came from his camp.
“Let’s be clear about something in regards to that,” Ramsey said at the time “I did not leak that information. Me and my agent, we are not the ones who leaked that information and I was very strict about that because I did not want it to get out.
“I didn’t want to be a distraction. I didn’t want everybody asking my teammates all type of questions throughout the week, so let me be real clear — me and my team, we were not the ones to leak that information because I thought about my teammates. I thought about stuff like that. So y’all need to ask the other side, or whoever.”
After surprising everyone by playing the following week against Tennessee, he did not practice following the game claiming he was ill and had back issues. Then he left the team to be present at the birth of his second child.
Finally, the Jaguars decided to take him off the active 53-man roster for their last three games, ending a streak of 51 straight starts. At some point during that time, Jags owner Shad Khan had a meeting with Ramsey and then told the Associated Press he did not want the guy dealt.
The guy was then dealt.
Despite his personality flaws, Ramsey is considered one of the best cornerbacks in the game. In fact, there are those who believe he is the best, a game-changing generational talent. It’s obvious the Rams felt the same way because they paid a very steep price for the guy.
But he can be a jerk. This is the fourth year of Ramsey’s original five-year rookie deal and he is scheduled to make $13.7 million. He had been asking the Jaguars to renegotiate the deal was becoming increasing angry with the team’s slow response. Ramsey certainly made note when the Jags gave Bortles a three-year, $54 million extension and then signed guard Andrew Norwell to a five-year, $66.5 million deal. Ramsey wanted his share.
That’s why Ramsey showed up at camp driving an armored bank truck filled with bags of money. The message couldn’t have been clearer. He wanted his money. And now if he gets it, the Rams will be writing the checks.
Ramsey’s resume is filled with superlatives. He’s fourth in the league in pass breakups over the last four seasons. Quoting NFL Next Gen Stats, ESPN tells us he also has the fourth-lowest completion percentage allowed as the nearest defender with a minimum of 200 targets.
The Rams project him as key member of defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ 3-4 defense. And having a shutdown corner in a division with Jimmy Garoppolo, Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray as opposing quarterbacks in an absolute necessity.
The bottom line is that Ramsey finally got exactly what he wanted, much like former Dolphins cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick did when he asked out and was quickly accommodated by being sent to the Steelers.
Ramsey has made it clear he believes he is undervalued and underappreciated as a player, despite his nine career interceptions and the accolades of being a two-time Pro Bowl pick and All-Pro.
Now he will get his chance to show his worth with one of the league’s high-profile teams. Let’s see if he’s up to the task.