The Las Vegas Raiders‘ biggest need heading into the offseason is quarterback but cornerback is also in desperate need of an upgrade. Rock Ya-Sin and Nate Hobbs were solid but if they weren’t on the field, the secondary was a mess. The team has tried for years to fix the secondary through the draft and it hasn’t worked.
If the Raiders can add a surefire upgrade, they should strongly consider it. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler has spoken to teams that are speculating that cornerback Jalen Ramsey may be moving on from the Los Angeles Rams. The team has other issues and Ramsey’s $100 million contract makes it difficult to fix them. Brad Gagnon of Bleacher Report went through the best fits for the star cornerback and placed the Raiders at the top of the list:
Las Vegas is also projected by Spotrac to possess more salary-cap space than anybody else in the AFC, and a pass defense that ranked 31st in DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) at Football Outsiders would likely love to upgrade over impending free-agent corner Rock Ya-Sin anyway.
It might depend on what the Raiders do at quarterback now, but at this stage, Ramsey makes a lot of sense as a potential addition this offseason.
Will Rams Trade or Cut Ramsey?
Ramsey is just 28 years old and still one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. Pro Football Focus had him ranked as the third-best cornerback in the league in 2022. When the Rams traded for him in 2019, they gave two first-round picks and a fourth-round pick. They won a Super Bowl last year so they likely have no regrets about adding the All-Pro cornerback.
Fowler wasn’t clear if teams believe that Ramsey will be traded or cut. The cornerback has a $32 million dead cap hit this year if he’s cut so it’s hard to imagine they’ll release him outright. Ramsey is still playing at a high level and there will be trade interest in him. However, his massive contract may make teams uneasy about giving up too much for him in a trade. Cornerbacks don’t have the same shelf life as quarterbacks or offensive linemen. Ramsey is still great but could start to decline. The Rams won’t get two first-round picks for him. If the Raiders could get the cornerback for a second-round, that’s a deal they should jump on.
Raiders Could Move on From Veterans
The Raiders were among the most disappointing teams in the NFL in 2022. After making the playoffs in 2021, the team fell to 6-11 under new head coach Josh McDaniels. The team has already made a big change with the release of quarterback Derek Carr and there could be more on the way. According to Fowler, there’s talk of the Raiders moving on from other veteran players.
“There are rumblings that Las Vegas will reset parts of its roster in the mold of coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler,” Fowler wrote. “It wouldn’t surprise if the Raiders trade or release a few veterans as a result.”
It remains to be seen who those veterans can be. There was previous talk of Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller being on the trade block but there are plenty of other disappointing players that Fowler could be referencing.