It’s a good thing the NFL doesn’t enforce tampering rules the way the NBA does because right now we’re getting some good entertainment as a result. As the Los Angeles Rams look like they’re heading into somewhat of a rebuild, the idea of shipping Jalen Ramsey to the Detroit Lions has quickly gained steam. It seemed like nothing more than a fantasy until Lions WR Amon-Ra St. Brown decided to give it some legs this past weekend.
“Jalen, if you can hear this, I know you played with (Lions QB Jared) Goff before—Detroit might seem like a landing spot, my guy,” St. Brown said on his podcast. “Talk to me, talk to me.”
Ramsey responded Monday morning in a tweet that wasn’t a yes, but certainly wasn’t a no.
Question of the day: Should the Detroit Lions trade for Jalen Ramsey?
It’s easy to see the connections—Brad Holmes and a good chunk of Lions brass came from the same Los Angeles Rams regime that brought Ramsey to LA. The Lions have a giant question mark at CB1 entering the offseason. The Rams will likely need a year or two to reload, and it seems logical that they’d want to move Ramsey. In a way, it almost makes too much sense.
I wouldn’t be so quick to deal, though. In a PFF article projecting hypothetical offseason trades, Ramsey was dealt to the Miami Dolphins alongside a fifth-round pick in exchange for Miami’s 2023 & 2024 second-round picks.
That’s a steep cost to pay for any player. It’s hard to justify that unless you believe that player is the missing piece to get you to a Super Bowl. Funnily enough, you can make that argument for Ramsey on the Lions with the way they looked to end the season. However, a position like cornerback is as streaky as they come, and you never know what a change of scheme does to a player’s performance. There are absolutely zero guarantees the Lions get an elite cornerback out of this trade with so many variables at play.
Plus, a part of me doesn’t see this lineup with how this regime is building out the roster. Dan Campbell and Brad Holmes have made it clear they want a young nucleus built through the draft. They haven’t been splashy in free agency or with veterans so far. However, the Lions are also in a position to win, unlike any previous time under this regime, so there’s no telling what’s on the table. The Jameson Williams draft pick made it clear that Brad Holmes is willing to pay the price for the right player.
Speaking of prices, Ramsey comes tied to three years left on his contract. Out of the $55 million left on his contract, only $12.5 million is guaranteed, which isn’t too big a price if things really went south for any reason. Ramsey is also only 28, meaning you’re still getting the remainder of that contract somewhat in his prime.
My answer: Personally, I like a lot about this potential trade. However, I look at the alternatives and I think it costs ever so slightly too much for me to pull the trigger if I’m Brad Holmes, so I wouldn’t make the trade.
Second-round picks average about $2 million per year against the cap. You can take the cost of two expensive second-rounders out of Ramsey’s $17 million average and still be left with $13 million annually to spend on a free agent defensive back. That’s a relatively premium defensive back and two second-round corners on rookie deals. When I weigh that against trading for Ramsey, I see the first option rounding out the Lions CB room better than adding Ramsey does.
Ultimately, it’s a close call. As Brad Holmes taught us on his interview on the GM journey podcast, close decisions are the best because you really can’t go wrong. I understand the love for Ramsey and Amon-Ra St. Brown’s enthusiasm for bringing him to Detroit. Ramsey is a damn good player, and corners are a hard position to hit on. The cost is marginally too much for me, but maybe Brad Holmes feels differently. Time will tell.
What do you think? Is the price right? Is a trade like this too far out of Brad Holmes’ ballpark? Is Ramsey the Lions’ missing piece? Vote in the poll below and let us know your thoughts.
Should the Lions trade for Jalen Ramsey?
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