American Football

Jalen Ramsey trade is latest example of Rams not getting good value for star players

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Syndication: Detroit Free Press
Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

Should the Rams have gotten more in return for Jalen Ramsey

The Los Angeles Rams traded All-Pro cornerback on Sunday to the Miami Dolphins. While it wasn’t the actual trade that was surprising, what the Rams got in return certainly was. After giving up multiple first-round picks for Ramsey back in 2019, general manager Les Snead got a third-round pick and depth tight end Hunter Long in return.

To say the trade return for Ramsey was low is an understatement.

In late February, NBC Sports’ Peter King predicted potential trade returns for Ramsey. In all three scenarios, King had the Rams getting a first or a second-round pick in return and sometimes both. Instead, the Rams managed the 77th overall pick in the third-round of the 2023 NFL Draft and depth tight end who has one reception for eight yards in two years.

It’s true that the Dolphins are guaranteeing the final two years of Ramsey’s contract which played into the return that the Rams got for him. Still, Ramsey is an elite cornerback that is one-year removed from being a first team all-pro. Ramsey is the type of player that can move to safety when he can no longer be elite on the outside.

The trade was a similar model as when the Rams traded Marcus Peters to the Baltimore Ravens for linebacker Kenny Young and a fifth-round pick. That fifth round pick was used to trade away Aqib Talib and the Rams got a seventh round pick in return. The Rams then used that seventh round pick to trade up and take Kyren Williams last season. Young meanwhile was cut in the middle of the 2021 season.

Shortly following the Peters trade, the Rams were able to acquire Ramsey. Still, it doesn’t put aside the fact that the trade return was extremely low for a player of Peters’ caliber.

Snead and the Rams have a history of getting little to no value for big-name players.

Both Bobby Wagner and Leonard Floyd were outright cut without any trade compensation. The Rams won’t even get a compensatory pick because the two players were cut and their contracts didn’t expire. It’s understandable that the Rams would want to do right by Wagner. However, Floyd should have been a tradeable asset given his production and the position that he plays.

Just last season, Snead traded Robert Woods to the Tennessee Titans for a sixth-round pick. Yes, Woods was coming off of a torn ACL, but for a player that had accumulated over 900 yards in three of the previous four years, a sixth-round pick seemed like a low offer.

These are just the most recent example. Taking a look at Snead’s history along with the above examples:

  • Leonard Floyd: Cut outright. Zero compensation.
  • Jalen Ramsey: Traded for third-round pick and Hunter Long.
  • Marcus Peters: Traded for 5th-round pick and Kenny Young.
  • Todd Gurley: Cut outright. Zero compensation.
  • Jared Goff: Included in Matthew Stafford trade along with two first-round picks and a third.
  • Tavon Austin: Traded to Dallas Cowboys for sixth-round pick.
  • Robert Quinn: Traded to Miami Dolphins for fourth-round pick.

These are all players that the Rams have traded for or given big extensions to throughout Snead’s tenure. Gurley’s situation needs context given his knee, but as a young quarterback, Goff should have had more value in the Stafford trade. Some of what the Rams gave up was for the contract, but it was still a major price tag while almost giving Goff away for nothing.

Quinn was traded away for a fourth-round pick in 2018. The Philadelphia Eagles acquired Quinn from the Chicago Bears last year for a fourth round pick. Should the Rams have been able to get more for Quinn at the time? Austin’s contract was a deal done in poor judgement to begin with, but it’s still really bad value.

Throughout Snead’s tenure, the Rams have arguably overpaid for players while underselling when trying to get rid of an asset. Yes, it resulted in a Super Bowl and it was worth it, but it’s also a reason the Rams are in the predicament they’re in now. Trading away assets when you know you need to cut your losses can be seen as a positive. At the same time, getting a single third round pick for Wagner, Floyd, and Ramsey is a major flaw in how Snead has done business.

This isn’t necessarily to criticize Snead. He’s a top-10 general manager in the NFL and looking at the NFL general manager landscape, you can do a lot worse. It’s only to point out a mistake that the Rams have made time and time again.

Whether you want to call it a remodel, re-tool, reset, or rebuild, Snead will be judged on the pending result. If the Rams are able to bounce back in 2024 and be back as contenders, he may be seen as a genius. On the flip side, if the Rams end up in a repeat of the downfall during the Greatest Show on Turf era, it’s hard to see Snead lasting long in Los Angeles.

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