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Jalen Ramsey Figured Out a New, Smarter Way for NFL Players to Hold Out

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 19: Jalen Ramsey #20 of the Jacksonville Jaguars looks on during the third quarter of a game against the Tennessee Titans at TIAA Bank Field on September 19, 2019 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
James Gilbert/Getty Images

When Jalen Ramsey jumped out of the back of a Brinks truck at the start of Jaguars training camp, perhaps the message he was delivering was different than what most suspected.

The general assumption was he wanted a new, lucrative contract because, like Ezekiel Elliott, he was entering the fourth year of his five-year (after the Jags exercised their option) rookie contract. And while that may have been true, Ramsey, perhaps unknowingly, delivered another message: he wants to get paid and isn't leaving anything on the table.

That brings us to the current situation. Ramsey has requested a trade from the Jaguars, which he confirmed to the media. The Jaguars, meanwhile, don't want to trade him. So what did Ramsey do? He called out sick from work earlier this week and, based on Adam Schefter's tweet, isn't expected to suit up this Sunday. And yet, based on the deafening silence from those connected people like Schefter, he hasn't been fined yet and is still getting paid. Meanwhile Melvin Gordon and Trent Williams, who also want to get traded and, in Gordon's case, get a new contract, are losing hundreds of thousands of dollars every week by not showing up to work.

Seems like one person is winning in this situation and two are losing.

Whether he meant to do this or not, Ramsey has discovered a perfect loophole for NFL players trying to force their desires on the franchise that holds their playing rights. Show up to work, say you're sick, and collect your check.

Of course, pretending to be injured or sick can lead to all sorts of legal battles, and NFL owner's wallets are a lot deeper than player's. But Ramsey's game of chicken with the Jags seems to have a lot more footing than Gordon or Williams. Honestly, when was the last time you even heard anyone talk about those guys? They've become afterthoughts, and while some of that has to do with personality and performance, some of it also has to do with publicity.

By being in front of the cameras, not only by playing but by (calmly) taking his trade desire public, Ramsey has smartly put the pressure on the Jaguars. He's showcased his skills and remained in the news. He's also collected his weekly game check.

Will that be the case this week? If he has a legitimate sickness or injury, yes. And let's be honest, he could easily say he tweaked his knee and doesn't feel comfortable playing on it. While there might not be structural damage, some things can't be picked up on an MRI, and Ramsey could argue for sitting out in favor of any number of maladies.

One thing that's inarguable? He's getting paid right now while two others aren't. In the Not For Long league, getting paid while you can is the smartest thing any player can do.