Cornerback is one of the positions the Baltimore Ravens needs to address this offseason, despite another Pro-Bowl year from Marlon Humphrey. The veteran is at the top of his game, but Humphrey wouldn’t mind if Los Angeles Rams’ star Jalen Ramsey joined him in the secondary.
Three-time All-Pro Ramsey has been mooted as a potential trade candidate, and Humphrey responded enthusiastically to the rumors, tweeting: “Are y’all thinking what I’m thinking.”
Humphrey obviously doesn’t set policy for the Ravens, so there’s no reason to take his tweet seriously, something Snapback Sports CEO Jack Settleman wasn’t about to do, but Humphrey took the response in good spirits:
The lighthearted exchange aside, there’s plenty of merit to the Ravens entering any sweepstakes for Ramsey.
Jalen Ramsey Trade Rumors Gathering Pace
While Ramsey isn’t quite the force he once was, he’s still a Super Bowl winner with legitimate shutdown talent who’s the right side of 30. Those are all things the Ravens need, especially with Marcus Peters set for free agency.
The only drawback to any attempts to acquire Ramsey concern his £25.2 million salary cap hit for 2023, per Spotrac.com. That figure is a big reason why one AFC personnel director told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler “[Ramsey] is one I think the Rams will at least explore [moving]. He’s still a top guy, but the play has fallen off a little bit and [he] could use a change of scenery.”
Fowler’s report echoed similar sentiments from Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post, who believes it’s a “matter of when, not if” the Rams deal their marquee cover man.
Ramsey sounded open to the possibility of leaving L.A., based on his tweet following the Rams’ season-ending 19-16 defeat to the Seattle Seahawks: “It is what it is! It was what it was! If that’s the end, I went out wit a BANG! Still THAT!”
The Ravens would struggle to countenance Ramsey’s salary. Especially when general manager Eric DeCosta still needs to secure a new, long-term contract for franchise quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Any wrangling DeCosta could do to free some extra funds would be worth the effort considering Ramsey is a perfect fit for what the Ravens like to do defensively.
Ravens Should Make Room for Pricey, Elite Player
Ramsey’s only 28 and can still be elite when at his best. He was far from that several times last season, including in Week 1 against the Buffalo Bills and Stefon Diggs.
The Bills had no trouble going after Ramsey, and No. 5 was particularly generous, per Pro Football Focus’ Marcus Mosher:
There were other moments when Ramsey struggled, but he still finished the season with 18 pass breakups and four interceptions. Those numbers show Ramsey can still be opportunistic when the ball is in the air, even if he’s not able to lockdown a No. 1 receiver the way he used to during his peak years.
Ramsey showed off his nose for the football one week after his rough outing against the Bills. The player drafted fifth in 2016 beat 2022 eighth-overall pick Drake London against the Atlanta Falcons:
Pairing Ramsey’s instincts with Humphrey’s playmaking skills would give the Ravens the most versatile pair of cornerbacks in the NFL. Quarterbacks had an 83.8 rating when targeting Humphrey, who also logged three sacks, according to Pro Football Reference.
Sending corners on the blitz is a favorite ploy of Ravens’ defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald. He’d have no problem making similar use of Ramsey, who recorded two sacks last season, including against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 5:
Ramsey’s been sent on the blitz 46 times since joining the Rams during the 2019 season. He’d be a dangerous weapon in Macdonald’s schemes.
Those schemes also rely on cornerbacks setting the edge against the run. Stepping up to tackle isn’t a problem for Ramsey, who was named “best run defender” by Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus: “He was on another level to any other cornerback in the game in run defense. Ramsey’s ability to impact the run game from his alignment is unrivalled, and he forced two fumbles in the run game, as well.”
The Ravens need physical corners in the AFC North where running backs as tough as Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, Joe Mixon and Najee Harris hold sway.
There are ample reasons why Ramsey makes enough sense for DeCosta to consider giving up the 22nd pick in this year’s draft. Sacrificing a first-rounder would sting, but the Ravens could be sure to get mid-to late-round compensation in return for a proven defensive back who’s two years younger than Peters and better suited to Macdonald’s defense.
DeCosta’s last trade yielded inside linebacker Roquan Smith from the Chicago Bears at the cost of a second-rounder. The deal now looks like a bargain, and Ramsey would offer the same value.