If we were to poll 100 NFL enthusiasts on who the top cornerback is both right now and over the past few seasons, the first name that likely comes to mind is Los Angeles Rams superstar Jalen Ramsey. Being that he’s a five-time Pro Bowl corner who has also made two All-Pro teams, even helping the Rams win the Super Bowl a year ago, Ramsey is a fine choice.
He’s a shutdown cornerback who can do it all, from playing press man coverage to being able to strand receivers on an island when playing zone. While the Rams may have greatly struggled to defend their title, Ramsey, 28, is still at the peak of his playing career and tied his career high with four interceptions this past season.
But there’s a lot of uncertainly swirling in the City of Angels, including whether head coach Sean McVay will return for a seventh NFL season after experiencing the first sub -500 year of his professional career.
With so much up in the air, Ramsey himself addressed his tenuous position with the Rams on social media, sharing a message for all his fans to see.
While posting cryptic messages to their social media has become all too common for the modern athlete, we can’t rule out the possibility of the Rams deciding to move on from Ramsey, who will carry a $25.2 million cap number heading into 2023.
Jumping ahead of the NFL trade rumors, naturally, if Ramsey hit the trade block, a vast amount of teams would reach out to gauge the cost to add one of football’s top cover corners in recent time.
We can’t help but speculate on potential trade landing spots for Ramsey.
Best trade fits for Jalen Ramsey
While it would still appear that a Jalen Ramsey trade is unlikely, thanks in large part to the Rams being stuck with $19.6M in dead money if he’s traded prior to June 1, contracts can always be tweaked.
New York Giants add lockdown corner
One team in desperate need of boosting their secondary is the New York Giants. Upon first glance, the G-Men may not be Ramsey’s top choice. But upon further inspection, Big Blue could be a team on the rise over the next few seasons, an effort that’s been jumpstarted by reaching the playoffs in coach Brian Daboll’s first year at the helm.
The Giants are projected to have over $50 million in cap space, and while much of that will likely be allocated to retaining Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley, and Dexter Lawrence, they also can’t ignore their need to add to their cornerback room after the entire team picked off just six passes this season. Ramsey would shut down his side of the field, allowing Kayvon Thibodeaux to have more time to pin his ears back and terrorize QBs, but the Giants ultimately may not want to part with the draft capital required to land the top cornerback.
Cincinnati Bengals add to elite core
As long as Joe Burrow is in town, the Cincinnati Bengals will be a constant threat to go on a deep postseason run. But he’ll need to get some help, particularly in the form of having a defense that can also come through and make clutch plays.
The Bengals have tried to patch together their cornerback room with a collection of veterans, sprinkled in with 2022 second-round pick Cam Taylor-Britt, but there’s no one here who profiles as a true No. 1 cornerback. This is where Ramsey could be a big help for a pass defense that ranked 23rd in the NFL this past season.
Like the Giants, the Bengals are projected to have just under $50 million in cap space and still have some time before Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase’s second contracts kick in, making this offseason the perfect time to make a splash, and go all-in toward chasing a Super Bowl trophy. If the Bengals are serious about hanging with the Chiefs, Bills, and the other top teams, Ramsey is someone they can’t afford to not look into adding.
The rich get richer, with Kansas City Chiefs trading for Ramsey
What the league can’t afford to have happen is the Kansas City Chiefs getting their hands on the future Hall of Fame cornerback. Patrick Mahomes has led his team to at least the Conference Championship in each of his past three seasons and may be the best bet to be an annual threat to return to the playoffs each year he’s healthy.
For Ramsey, who has been to two Championship games, and won a Super Bowl last season with the Rams, the expectation is that he’d want to remain in a competitive atmosphere. If that’s true, there may not be a better landing spot than joining one of the game’s best quarterbacks.
With Ramsey quarterbacking the defense, and Mahomes doing the same for the Kansas City offense, this roster would be viewed as instant Super Bowl favorites for many seasons to come.