Two seasons ago, the Los Angeles Rams won the Super Bowl with an Ocean's Eleven approach that I loved. But last year's attempt at Ocean's Twelve bombed like Waterworld.
Now, Les Snead and Sean McVay are doing the right thing, tweaking and retooling the roster that just produced a 5-12 record. Consequently, the fabulous Jalen Ramsey is available. As my colleague Tom Pelissero reported last week, the Rams have had trade talks about the 28-year-old cornerback, and sources believe it's very likely he'll be dealt in the coming weeks.
A six-time Pro Bowler and three-time first-team All-Pro, Ramsey is a playmaker, a leader, a culture changer. He still has three seasons left on the five-year, $105 million extension he signed in 2020, with a base salary of $17 million in the coming campaign. Even at that price, many, many teams could greatly use his services. With that in mind ...
Here are my favorite potential trade fits, Schein Nine style.
The Rams and Lions executed the Matthew Stafford blockbuster, and both sides got what they wanted: Los Angeles nabbed the franchise's second Lombardi Trophy; Detroit loaded up on draft capital and found a new leader in resurgent quarterback Jared Goff. A true win-win trade. So ... let's make another deal!
Familiarity matters in deal-making, and these two sides are as thick as thieves. Lions GM Brad Holmes comes from the Snead tree. In fact, he spent 18 years with the Rams. Pick up the phone, y'all!
Los Angeles can recoup some of that draft currency from the Stafford trade, giving its roster a necessary infusion of youth. Meanwhile, Detroit can build on the inspired second half of last season and break through to the postseason. Honestly, the Lions could be NFC North favorites in 2023, seeing how the Vikings' 13-4 record was fueled by an unsustainable 11-0 mark in one-score games, the Packers could be making a change at quarterback, and the Bears are knee-deep in a rebuild. Ramsey can help show Detroit how to get it done in the regular season and playoffs, giving a hard-nosed team even more edge. Ramsey would absolutely thrive in Dan Campbell's culture.
I am obsessed with the Giants' new leadership. Brian Daboll just earned Coach of the Year honors for his first season in the big chair. GM Joe Schoen is a savvy antidote to the ham-handed roster management of Dave Gettleman. No wonder Big Blue exceeded all expectations this past season and returned to the playoffs for the first time in six years. But the roster refinement continues, with New York set to release Gettleman signing blunder Kenny Golladay on the first day of the new league year. How about adding an actual difference-maker?
According to Over The Cap, the Giants currently have the fourth-most cap space in the NFL at just under $47 million. A portion of that grand sum could go to QB Daniel Jones and RB Saquon Barkley, though I wouldn't overpay for either. I would go after Ramsey, a stud cover man who'd give the G-Men swagger. His play and attitude would go over brilliantly in New York. And I think the versatile playmaker would flourish under aggressive defensive coordinator Wink Martindale.
Could they? Would they? Well, I'd love to see it -- and yes, they can!
The brass that traded a disgruntled Ramsey to L.A. is gone. Let's get this man back to Duval County! The Jacksonville fan base would love it. And it'd make sense for a Jags squad on the rise.
Fresh off an AFC South title and an epic playoff win over the Chargers, Doug Pederson's team is ready for big things. With quarterback Trevor Lawrence really hitting his stride down the stretch of last season, the offense is poised to take another big step forward in 2023. The defense has a bunch of young talent, but Ramsey would give the unit a true alpha dog -- and one of the league's best cornerback duos, alongside rising star Tyson Campbell.
Jacksonville took Ramsey with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Seven years later, it's time for the Jaguars to boldly go after their man once again.
Ramsey is one of those guys who just "plays like a Raven," as the expression goes in Baltimore. He has the practice habits, the game-day domination, the unrelenting passion and uncanny focus of Ravens legends like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.
Obviously, Baltimore has to figure out the Lamar Jackson situation, first and foremost. My opinion on that matter remains the same: The Ravens should do everything they can to reach a long-term deal with the former MVP. He's a franchise-changing talent. You PAY for those guys -- guys like Ramsey. It's easy to envision the edgy corner in purple and black. It just feels right.
I previously touched on the 2022 Vikings' fluky win total. But before you completely rake me over the coals, Vikes faithful, know that I was the one who gave Kevin O'Connell a first-place vote for Coach of the Year. He worked wonders in his first season as a head man. The Vikings just didn't have the dudes on defense, which finally sunk them in the playoffs.
Well, Ramsey would be THAT DUDE in Minnesota, giving the defense the brashness -- and greatness -- it sorely lacked over the past few seasons. The Vikings haven't finished above 24th in scoring defense or total D since 2019, back when Ramsey moved from the East Coast to the West Coast. How about another relocation to the Midwest?
Remember, this list is based on what I'd most like to see, within reason. The Bengals currently have $35.5 million in cap space, per Over The Cap, but they're working on a long-term extension for Joe Burrow. That's gonna cost a whole lotta money, and rightfully so: Burrow is worth every penny. I'd also like to see a new deal for Tee Higgins, who, along with Ja'Marr Chase, gives Burrow one of the best WR tandems in football.
Long story short: The Bengals have money to spend, but they need to take care of their own first.
That said, if you want to talk about how Cincy can get back on top of Kansas City in the highly competitive AFC, this is the move. Adding dynamic defenders like Ramsey is how you approach the cheat code who goes by the name of Patrick Mahomes. Ramsey and Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo would make sweet music together.
I'd really like to see Las Vegas draft feisty Illinois cover man Devon Witherspoon. This team is so desperate for major upgrades at cornerback, a longstanding problem area for the Raiders. Add Witherspoon and Ramsey, and CB instantly becomes a strength. Which would be huge in the division that houses Mahomes and Justin Herbert.
I said above that it's easy to envision Ramsey as a Raven. Same story here with Ramsey as a Raider. Can you see this cat donning silver and black? I sure can, and it looks glorious.
Jaycee Horn + Jalen Ramsey = LOCKDOWN
What a dreamy duo that'd be. And it'd provide a strong veteran leader to a defense with an enticing array of growing talents, including Horn, DE Brian Burns, DT Derrick Brown, LB Frankie Luvu and S Jeremy Chinn. In a wide-open division, Carolina could ride this defensive core to the top of the standings.
The Panthers nailed it with new head man Frank Reich, who put together a fabulous coaching staff. Now it's time for a fresh influx of star power. With a reputation for boldness, owner David Tepper presumably craves the big name. Ramsey checks that box.
Speaking of owners who crave the big name ... Say hello to Jerry Jones! As a potential Cowboys blockbuster acquisition, Ramsey is straight out of central casting.
Remember, back in 2016, there was a lot of buzz that Dallas would select Ramsey with the No. 4 overall pick. In fact, Ramsey, who grew up a Cowboys fan, said on a podcast last offseason that Dallas brass told him prior to the draft that the team would take him if he were still on the board. He was, but the 'Boys opted for Ezekiel Elliott instead. It'd be pretty ironic if Dallas were to add Ramsey and subtracted Zeke this offseason.
For all of the reasonable Dak Prescott criticism, Dallas' defense was good -- but not truly great -- this past season. Ramsey could change that. Pairing him with ballhawking cover man Trevon Diggs would give the Cowboys some real back-end juice to complement a front that just finished third in sacks.