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Sean McVay says Jalen Ramsey could reset cornerback market with next contract

Frank Schwab
·3 min read
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The hidden cost of trading valuable assets for a young and established NFL player is the player then gets a lot of contract leverage.

Simply put, a team can’t justify trading a top pick for a year or a year-plus of a player and then let him hit free agency. That’s why Amari Cooper got paid by the Dallas Cowboys and why the Houston Texans made Laremy Tunsil the highest paid offensive tackle in NFL history. Those teams traded first-round picks for those stars and were backed into a corner.

Up next: Jalen Ramsey and the Los Angeles Rams.

Ramsey is entering the final year of his rookie deal. The Rams traded two first-round picks and a fourth-round pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars for Ramsey. And now the Rams have to extend Ramsey.

Jalen Ramsey entering contract year

The Rams didn’t trade two first-round picks and a fourth for nine games of Ramsey in 2019 and the full 2020 season. Ramsey and his agent know that. At least the Rams know it too.

Ramsey told ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry that he’ll attend training camp without a new contract, which should be a relief for the Rams. But even without a holdout, they’re under pressure to pay.

Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey is entering the final year of his contract. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong, File)
Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey is entering the final year of his contract. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong, File)

Rams will have to pay a lot for Ramsey

The largest cornerback contract, in terms of total value, is Byron Jones’ new five-year, $82.5 million deal with the Miami Dolphins. New Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Darius Slay has the most average value at a little less than $17 million per year on his three-year, $50.1 million deal.

Ramsey is probably a better player than Jones and Slay and has an amazing amount of leverage. Again, the Rams didn’t trade all those picks, including two firsts, for 27 games max from Ramsey. The Rams already have a lot of big deals on the books, and can plan to add Ramsey to that list soon.

Ramsey might make a run at being the first $100 million cornerback. At very least, using Jones’ deal as a benchmark, $90 million seems safe. McVay already said Ramsey will reset the market.

The Rams presumably knew this was coming when they gave up a lot to get Ramsey in a trade. The cost increases soon, with the finalization of that extension.

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