The beginning of the season hasn’t been kind to Jacksonville. Nick Foles got hurt on his very first touchdown pass as a Jaguar and was declared out for the year shortly afterwards. They lost a heartbreaker to the Texans despite the last-minute heroics of sixth-round pick and general enigma Gardner Minshew II, and Jalen Ramsey was seen arguing passionately on the sideline with his head coach.
Now, Ramsey has asked for a trade. He’s an extremely talented corner in only his third year but a fiery personality who can clash with teammates and coaches alike. The Jaguars are reportedly asking for a first-round pick in the deal, and we’ll see if that’s what they’ll get, but teams will be reaching out regardless. Here are four potential destinations that make sense for the All-Pro cornerback.
The Seahawks haven’t had an elite corner since the last days of Richard Sherman in Seattle, and their defense has clearly suffered as a result. Jadeveon Clowney and Bobby Wagner are fierce in the front seven, but they did just give up a career-high in passing yards to Andy Dalton, of all people, in Week 1. They clearly need some help on the back end.
Seattle has always been careful about how they spend their draft picks, and would probably only pull the trigger if they could somehow fleece a second AFC South team for a disgruntled young star and get a deal similar to the one they executed for Clowney. Ramsey would be putty in Pete Carroll’s hands if he did end up a Seahawk, and would immediately give their defense the upgrade they’re looking for to take the weighty burden currently on Russell Wilson’s shoulders.
As the only team with several first-round picks in this year’s draft not named the Dolphins (who would be committing to sheer chaos if they traded for Ramsey), the Raiders have to be included on a list like this. Ramsey makes a lot of sense in many areas; there are few players who appear to fit the mold of a future Las Vegas superstar like Ramsey, they’re struggling mightily at the corner position, and despite what Jon Gruden might say, they’re unlikely to compete for a few years, and Ramsey is only 26.
On the flip side of things, you need only rewind two weeks to recall how Oakland’s last foray into the trade market went. As it turns out, trading picks for a disgruntled superstar does not always work out unless you are the New England Patriots, and Antonio Brown caused the team to waste a third and fifth-round draft pick and a whole lot of headaches. It would be understandable if Mike Mayock was hesitant to pull the trigger on a trade like this, but if he wants to show absolute faith in his head coach’s ability to manage personalities, they’ll look into it.
The Eagles are never shy to get active in the trade market, and they need a cornerback more than anything right now. Corner is their weakest position outside of linebacker, and is obviously a bit more important. Ronald Darby and Co. didn’t get the job done last year, and they probably won’t get it done this year.
The Eagles’ offense is still coming together and suffered an onset of injuries against the Falcons this week. Ramsey alone wouldn’t fix their problems, but giving the defense a corner who can shut down a receiver for 60 minutes would make everyone’s job a lot easier. Not to mention the intense adoration Ramsey’s attitude would garner in a city like Philly.
Los Angeles Chargers
As has become tradition, the Chargers lost a major piece to injury before the season even began when Derwin James went down during training camp. Ramsey couldn’t come close to replacing James’ overall impact as the skeleton key of that defense, but adding a prolific corner would help soften the blow and improve the unit while James recovers and hopefully returns before the end of the year, as they expect.
This move might smell of desperation, and that’s because it would be. The team barely eked out a win against the Colts before losing a brutal matchup to the Lions thanks to a series of self-inflicted wounds. This isn’t the start the Chargers were looking for after an outstanding year that ended with a beatdown in Foxboro, and Ramsey’s presence would help steady the ship in terms of play. If Los Angeles wants to maximize the end of Philip Rivers’ career and not fall too far behind the juggernaut Chiefs, this is the move to make.
New England Patriots
Yeah, this would be the worst outcome for everyone outside of New England, but you just can’t rule them out after the Brown situation. We’re all well aware of the Patriots’ tendency to steal disgruntled talent from opposing teams and turn them into weapons that earn them another Super Bowl title, and Ramsey checks all the boxes of previous acquisitions: outspoken, clearly frustrated by losing, and filled with talent.
This is the best defense the Patriots have fielded in years, and right now the unit runs like a well-oiled machine. Cornerback is absolutely a strength with All-Pro Stephon Gilmore paired with the combination of J.C. Jackson, Jason McCourty, and Jonathan Jones. Ramsey’s addition would make for a crowded position group and potentially throw off the balance they’ve carefully achieved over the course of last year’s playoffs and 2019’s opening weeks. Brown has already drawn more than enough unwanted attention to New England, and it would be a bit of a surprise to see Bill Belichick double down during a time like this. Then again, it is Belichick, and it is the Patriots.