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Jaguars Trade CB Ramsey to Rams

Mere hours after trading away veteran cornerback Marcus Peters, the L.A. Rams have his replacement: Jalen Ramsey, Jacksonville's former All-Pro. Per ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Rams are paying a heavy price, sending Jacksonville first-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021, plus a fourth-round pick in 2021. 

Ramsey has only played three games this year, missing time with a back injury after requesting a trade in September. He ranks 13th among cornerbacks in yards allowed per target, 27th in coverage success rate (subscription required). 

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Comments

71 comments, Last at 18 Oct 2019, 11:42pm

1 Two first rounders? Oh no…

Two first rounders? Oh no. They are going all-in with a sinkhole of cash thrown at the RB and QB positions. This is not going to end well.

5 I Do not think any CB short of Deion

Is worth that price. Too easy to scheme away from compared to the cost. And if they cannot turn things around, those might be pretty high picks.
How the hell are they going to pay him with Goff, Gurley, Donald, Cooks and I do not know else already getting top dollar? Surely they are not giving up two number ones for a ten game rental!

35 Yup.  I find the green title…

In reply to by bravehoptoad

Yup.  I find the green title box is easily missed.  I typically only read it when I find the post confusing, then I remember to check the title.

Who decided that posts should have titles anyway?  It's a weird set up.

41 These comment sections in…

These comment sections in general are a mess. Between the 50-per-page limit, the de-highlighting of new comments, and the removal of a tracking page so you could see new comments on articles you posted on, it's like FO doesn't want people engaging with their posts. I've politely tweeting them about it a few times, and have gotten no acknowledgement whatsoever.

At the very least, it can't be too difficult to go to 100 comments per page instead of 50. 

19 It may be easy to scheme…

It may be easy to scheme away from, but there are only so many ways to go about doing that. I'm excited to see what @sonofbum has in mind to counter them! I think Wade has historically his CBs on one side of the field, at least recently. I wonder if he'll keep doing that.

21 Champ Bailey is actually a…

Champ Bailey is actually a great example for the pitfalls of assuming a top corner is a cure all for your defense. In 2003 the broncos got shredded by Peyton Manning. They add Champ Bailey and Manning shreds them again, attacking all the non Champ Bailey players. He did this in 2006 as well.
 

Bailey can plug one hole, but if leaks spring in several places, he ain't going to plug them too.  

38 Per DVOA. 2003 IND: 22.4%…

Per DVOA.

2003

IND: 22.4% OVR, 17.6% OFF

DEN: 11.8% OVR, -4.2% DEF

2004

IND: 25.9% OVR, 31.8% OFF

DEN: 22.8% OVR, -12.0% DEF

So it appears that adding Champ Bailey did great work for the Denver defense, but the Colts offense improved from being very good, to historically great in the same timeframe. I'm not sure why the Broncos secondary getting torched by a historically great and much improved offense one year to the next disproves the value a shutdown cornerback brings, assuming that Bailey really was that. Imagine how torched they would have been without Bailey.

Also, I just looked up the 2004 and 2003 Colts season, and guess what? They lost to the Broncos in the regular season both times. 2004 doesn't count in my eyes, because the colts sat Manning, but that means that their offense was even better than the 31.8% DVOA would have you believe. Scary good. In 2003 they lost 17-31 in week 16, then blew the Broncos out 41-10 in the playoffs. Seems more like Any Given Sunday.

I think it's hard to draw robust conclusions from small sample sizes.

6 This trade makes no sense…

This trade makes no sense. It's virtually as bad as the Tunsil trade, carrying enormous downside risk and very little upside. Ok, Ramsay is a dynamite player, but as others have mentioned, good pass defense is much more about your overall roster. Did they really think they are a ramsay player away from winning the SB?

If I were a rams fan, I would hate this move. Between the trade for cooks and now this, do they just not value draft picks?

10 As a Rams fan, I'm a whole…

As a Rams fan, I'm a whole lot higher on this trade than I was the single first for Cooks. Ramsey is a flat out elite cornerback, and is also great against the run. If this guy can play anywhere near that Revis-Island level, then this is an absolute steal, assuming those picks are 26+. The purpose of a first round pick is to hopefully get a guy who's good, and maybe get a guy who's as good as Ramsey. 

Secondly, where is it said that good pass defense is more about the entire roster? If you have a guy who can legitimately shut down their best receiver, like 2009 Revis, that seems incredibly useful to me. I'm not sure how that wouldn't make pretty much any team a whole lot better.

Now, if you don't think Ramsey is that good, then sure, this isn't worth it.

13 I think it is a stretch to…

I think it is a stretch to put Jalan Ramsay in the same universe as 2009 Revis, which was an all time great season by a cornerback. 

Also, cornerback charting statistics vary so wildly year to year that you aren't guaranteed to get elite production every year. There are also scheme issues as not every corner fits every scheme. And Pass Defense has been one of the most difficult area of a team to pin down to personnel. Its hard enough trying to decide how much of it is pass rush vs how much of it is coverage, but it seems to be a major stretch to say one player is going to significantly impact an entire pass defense. At best he will take away our number 1 receiver to the outside, but that still leaves a ton of other areas.

 

Finally - the reason i bring up downside risk is that the rams could also get injured and those picks could fall into the top 10. That's not absurd given how tumultuous the nfl is. And its not just Jalen Ramsey, but Jalan Ramsay at the salary he is going to cost. 

 

I just think given how much uncertainty is baked into this, its too risky a move. 

 

 

17 Right, but I'd take 2010-12…

Right, but I'd take 2010-12 Revis all the same. Or 2010-2018 Peterson, or a lot of other top tier cornerbacks. Being a guy legitimately good enough to put solo on Antonio Brown, or DeAndre Hopkins, or some other premier talent and give up something like 3 catches on 7 targets seems like a hell of a lot of value for your team. 

Bringing up the difference between pass rush vs coverage, I'm sure that there's a lot to be said for both. People have tried to quantify this, and for the most part they've come away believing that coverage is slightly more important than pass rush. I'm not sure what that has to do with anything though. We could have the same discussion with Khalil Mack, or whomever. Top tier cornerbacks get paid for a reason.

I don't know why it's more of a stretch to say that "one player is going to significantly impact an entire pass defense", than, say, one player will significantly impact the pass offense. I would really struggle to believe that any offense wouldn't get better adding Julio Jones, or your favourite receiver, even though that's just one player. Adding a guy who can cover someone like Jones, or absolutely smother someone average, seems like a no-brainer. I would again struggle to believe that Ramsey wouldn't noticeably help pretty much any pass defense in the league. 

If you're just making a sort of general argument in favour of more average/above average players versus the stars and scrubs philosophy, then sure.

20 First of all, Jones can be…

First of all, Jones can be deployed in any part of the pass offense. Typically, even the best corners, are left on one side of the field. So its not quite an apples to apples comparison. Second, offense dictates to the defense, not the other way around. An offense can flow through Julio if it wants, or it can choose to flow through the rest of its offense; ie attacking all of the other parts. This is the inherent weakness in corners vs receivers comparisons...the offense chooses where the ball goes. 

Khalil Mack is a different discussion for a few reasons. 1) Khalil Mack was 2 first rounders in exchange for him and a 2nd. 2) Khalil's position is more consistent week to week and year to year than a corners 3) pass rushers seem less scheme dependent than corners. There is a reason they are the second highest paid position group in the nfl.

 

Look, Jalen is a great player. As a colts fan, I'm happy he is out of the division. I'm only stating that this move is not a panacea for the defense and at the cost he's going to demand, I don't think he's worth the two first round picks. 

23 "First of all, Jones can be…

"First of all, Jones can be deployed in any part of the pass offense. Typically, even the best corners, are left on one side of the field."

You're sort of skirting around the issue here. A lot of the top cornerbacks, like Peterson, Revis, and Ramsey, absolutely do travel all over the field covering the best WR. Even if you do the old Seahawks strategy of just rolling coverage away from him, then you have more resources for the other three guys running routes. So sure, an offense can choose to not throw to Julio Jones, but that seems like a pretty enormous win for the defense. And again, if offenses can just choose to not run themselves through x player, why give Jones 22 million?

Actually, as it turns out, we're seeing Rams vs Falcons next Sunday anyway.

26 One big issue with all of…

One big issue with all of this, even if you do deploy your cornerback like a roving menace, he alone does not guarantee you a good pass defense or even an average one. We can see this with revis' time in Tampa, or Peterson's time in Arizona. I mentioned champ Bailey above and he also serves as a good example. 

 

Don't get me wrong I love top cornerbacks and they are incredibly valuable, they just aren't a cure all justify two first-round picks.

34 Two first round picks, even…

Two first round picks, even if spent on defenders, does not "guarantee you a good pass defense" either. Two first round picks are not a "cure all" for your pass defense. I have no idea what you're talking about with Peterson, the Cardinals have had consistently top 10 or even top 5 defenses since they got him. Last year was a massive down year for their defense, which finished with a DVOA of 0.8, good for 18th in the league. This year with him suspended they have a DVOA of 18.4%, good for 30th in the league. So the Cards lose Peterson, and go from an average defense, to an outright terrible one, which if anything understates the case, because they were top 5 the year before that, and around that for many years in a row.

What is your valuation on first round picks, if you wouldn't trade two late round picks for Peterson? 20%DVOA? 30%? Here's a list of the 25-32 picks in the 2016 draft, which I picked because enough time has passed to evaluate:

Pittsburgh Steelers, Artie Burns CB
Denver Broncos, Paxton Lynch QB
Green Bay Packers, Kenny Clark DT
San Francisco 49ers, Joshua Garnett G
Arizona Cardinals, Robert Nkemdiche DT
Carolina Panthers, Vernon Butler DT
Seattle Seahawks, Germain Ifedi OT
Cleveland Browns, Emmanuel Ogbah DE

Boy, there's a group of winners, Kenny Clark aside. Pick any two you like, with the benefit of hindsight, and tell me you wouldn't rather have Patrick Peterson. Hell, you could have literally all of them, and I'd still take Patrick Peterson, so his value for me would be superior to these 8 first round picks.

The question is not, does Jalen Ramsey make the Rams defense top 5 by himself, the question is, does Jalen Ramsey improve the Rams more than the two first round picks would, and I think the answer is quite obviously yes.

36 I guess I see it differently…

Let me clarify my points better. I am not sure we fully understand quantifiably how much a top flight corner adds in terms of dvoa. its a pretty hard problem and you're left with very small sample sizes, but even if I concede your points about his talent, here are my objections:

 

1) Cornerback statistics vary quite a bit. I don't know why they do, talent is talent, but they show up in the data so you can't expect consistent excellence over a long period of time the way you almost can with a left tackle or quarterback.

 

2) A lot of money is now going to be tied up into a few number of players. That can work provided you have a lot of picks to round out the rest of your roster. The rams do not have a lot of picks by virtue of this trade and have a ton of money wrapped up in it.

3) Comparing a known quantity to draft picks is hard because draft picks are abstract points of value. But at some point, they matter. And listing 25-32 range is not reasonable - NFL seasons are volatile and given the rams now have a tough division, should we expect them to fall into the 25-32 range? What about an untimely injury that torpedoes their season? And how many picks do you lump in before the balance tilts the other way? Surely, if all you did was see those players you listed above, then hell, even 6 first rounders feels like a good deal. 

39 1) That has always struck me…

1) That has always struck me as a problem with the statistics, as opposed to a problem with the cornerbacks. If the result of a play is very dependent on the QB's decision making and accuracy, the WR's ability to get open and catch the ball, and the lines ability to get/stop pressure, then, sure, statistically the CB is going to have widely fluctuating stats. Sometimes CB's get burned and the QB just misses the throw or read. Add or take away two or three long TD's in a season and you have a totally different year statistically. That's quite far from proving that great cover corners are over/under rated.

2) Sure. Ultimately you can't just magically get value. If you want a great roster, you have to out scout and out coach/develop the other 31 teams in the league. The Rams have drafted extremely well the past few years in the 2-4 rounds, and do have a talented roster. If they can continue to get more value then they should out of the picks remaining/free agency/trades, then they will continue to have a talented roster. If they fail to do that, well who cares what strategy they had anyways?

3) Go take a look at picks 8-24 in that draft. It's arguably worse than 25-32 on a per pick basis. I've said before that first round picks, especially outside the top 10, are massively overrated by teams. I said this long before the Rams went on a "sell all first round picks" spree. I've been a Rams fan and watched them take Aaron Donald 13th overall. I've also watched them take Greg Robinson 2nd in that draft, trade up to get Tavon Austin at 8, and Ogletree at 30. Brockers was a solid pick at 14, and Gurley at 10 could go either way. Frankly, that history may be outright great compared to league average. 

When Trevor Lawrence comes out, that guy really should command something like 10 first round picks. I'm not exaggerating. If he's really going to be the lovechild of Peyton Manning and Dan Marino, then 10 first round picks sounds about right. First round pick has this mythical quality to it, exploiting peoples natural optimism and hopes. The reality is, just two years later, most first round picks, could not be traded for first round picks, or even second round picks.

40 1) Agree, but that still…

1) Agree, but that still suggests that the relationship between corner and pass defense is tenuous if you see such variability

 

2) 2-4 years of drafting is not enough time to evaluate how good a coaching/scouting department is. And first round picks are worth way more than later round picks in terms of draft value

 

3) a) Looking at one (or two) years of draft results is a poor way to judge the value of draft picks. its basically a log curve and while top 10 picks are uber valuable, so too are middle round picks. You can't just hand wave them away because last year's draft was bad. I might as well cherry pick the 2011 draft.

 

3) b) "Love child of Peyton Manning..." That is a different topic for several reasons. Firstly, Peyton Manning is the only qb I am certain you could throw on any team and he would be good. He is an offense unto himself. Such a player is probably worth maybe 5-6 first rounders, but you aren't winning a title if you gut the entire team and just have him on it. But that's a different discussion. No other qbs have proven to be that level good(though we can infer what Rodgers might be on a different team, or Brees, or Brady...). We only know Manning has done it. And that's effectively a sample size of 1. 

42 1) You're confusing…

1) You're confusing variability with quality. Revis had an all-universe 2009. Part of that was just luck, where luck is some combination of pass rush getting there when he got burned, bad throws, missed reads, etcetera. Would anyone suggest that a bad cornerback could have a season even close to 2009 Revis? Of course not. Not even a run of the mill good cornerback could cover teams No 1 and suffocate them like that over an entire season. That 2010 Revis wasn't nearly as statistically good, but still incredibly good, is great evidence for the baseline value of Revis, variability be damned.

2) In terms of fungibility of picks, of course. Since you can routinely trade a late first round pick for an early second and third, then you have to view an early second round pick as being about as valuable as a late first round pick minus a third round pick. 

3) The value of each draft pick should be viewed as it's own thing each year, sure. However, I stand by my statement that most first round picks could not be traded for a first round pick just two years later. In fact, most first round picks could not be traded for first round picks even if you had a time machine and could get them as a rookie all over again. Some are going to be worth more than a single first round pick, but I'll bet the average valuation is far lower than a first. Teams massively overvalue that first rounder. Just because you have a chance to pick Cameron Jordan at 24 in one of the most stacked draft classes of all time, 2011, doesn't mean that you should expect anything even close to Cameron Jordan at pick 24. 

47 1) I am not confusing…

1) I am not confusing variability for quality. I am fine if you think Ramsay is great every year. The fact is - its not reflected in the raw production. One year he gives up 5 yards per attempt, the next year he gives up 7(made up numbers of course). Raw cb production is just way too noisy to expect given results next year and the year after. This isn't me trying to explain it by saying Ramsay isn't talented. Its basically causal agnostic..just pointing out what the data shows. You simply cannot count on 5.5 yards per attempt every year the way you almost can with 10 sacks per year from a healthy Khalil Mack. And comparing Ramsay to Revis at this point is a stretch. Revis in his prime was the best cover corner since prime Deion. Ramsay has the talent and pedigree to get there, he just isn't there yet. 

 

2) my point about the draft is this - it gives you the best chance of having good, cost controlled players. Think about whats coming down the pike. A lot of their starters are either old or about to hit free agency. Whitworth, Fowler, Brockers, Talib. Next year Ramsay(Who they will have to make a huge offer to and who now has leverage on his side), Cooper Kupp, Clay Matthews. Robey Coleman, etc etc. Thats a lot of talent going out the door with no obvious replacements when so much is tied into a running back, d tackle, qb, and eventually your corner. 

51 "I am not confusing…

"I am not confusing variability for quality. I am fine if you think Ramsay is great every year. The fact is - its not reflected in the raw production. One year he gives up 5 yards per attempt, the next year he gives up 7(made up numbers of course). Raw cb production is just way too noisy to expect given results next year and the year after."

"You simply cannot count on 5.5 yards per attempt every year the way you almost can with 10 sacks per year from a healthy Khalil Mack."

You keep saying this, or things like this, without backing it up. Sacks are an extremely volatile statistic. Using a fellow Ram, Aaron Donald, career sacks go 9,11,8,11,20.5, and now he has 3 after six games, on pace for 8. But if you look at his QB pressures, per PFF, 91 in 2017 despite missing two games, 106 in 2018, and I don't have any other data, but I remember him being in the 100+ club in other years. The reason that we think pass rushing is more stable year to year is just because we have better snaps that measure individual performance better on a per snap basis. 

Using a different stat, QB rating when throwing into your coverage, we see that from 2010-2016 the top five are Richard Sherman (50.28!), Darrelle Revis (70.57), Chris Harris Jr. (72.26), Jonathan Joseph (75.94), and pre-injuries Sam Shields (76.00). All the players involved had at least 462 targets over that span. I dunno, that seems like a pretty legit group of cornerbacks. The baseline for Revis 2010-2016 when trailing the best receiver on nearly every snap all over the field, was a QB rating of 70. At that point, who even cares if some years it's up at 90, and some years it's down around 50. That's incredible value over time. It's fine if you don't think that Ramsey has the best statistical production, year in year out, but some cornerbacks, Revis, Harris, Sherman, absolutely do have great statistical production year in year out, so the argument is against Ramsey specifically, but not cornerbacks in and of themselves.

All of which is somewhat irrelevant anyway. The point is not to have a cornerback put up gaudy stats, the point is to have the defense overall be successful. That could well mean the QB looks to his favourite receiver, sees he's not open, so he takes a sack, or throws it away, neither of which credits the cornerback. "Raw production" is not statistical production. 

52 It would take a lot of work…

It would take a lot of work to look at the baseline volatility by position. I was referring mostly to comments passed by pff and fo in their charting data. yes I agree the baseline snaps likely play a huge factor. In any case, pass defense is a very very hard topic to pin down. I'm just skeptical one player can make a pass defense good or even great. In the other thread, the patriot fans are mentioning how much the team's performance is about overall depth and quality, not just starts and scrubs. 

53 Any Patriots fan who doesn't…

Any Patriots fan who doesn't mention Belichick's black magic first and foremost is an idiot. Secondly, the Patriots have Gilmore and Jones at CB, and I already mentioned that Jones was fifth best in the league at QB rating when thrown to from 2010-2016, so it's not surprising that he would be playing really well for Belichick of all people.

Anyway, evidence, using Darrelle Revis in New York, Champ Bailey in Denver, and Patrick Peterson in Arizona, points to a dominant corner making an enormous impact on the overall pass defense of a team, as measured through DVOA. It would be astonishing if that was just a statistical fluke, since we would never expect the inverse, a dominant receiver, to provide an insignificant DVOA increase to a passing offense. I'd like more work to be done here, but the preliminary stats match the eye test quite well.

27 I would argue corners are…

I would argue corners are more important than edge rushers; NFL teams get pressure on quarterbacks on less than 50% of all passing plays, therefore coverage is more important than pressure.  And using one guy to take out the offense's biggest threat helps the rest of the defense; just look at the Jets defense from 2009-2011.  But you still need other guys in the secondary to make it happen, just as Khalil Mack would have not been as useful in a different situation than Chicago's.

The main problem with this is how much the Rams gave up, and how much Ramsey will take up of the cap.  Revis was traded for a 1st and a conditional 3rd, which Tampa got out of by cutting Revis.  He was coming off an injury, but still, much less than what Los Angeles gave up for Ramsey.

33 Sure, but the statistics are…

Sure, but the statistics are meant to capture on the field performance. We don't know why the volatility is there, but the fact that it is there suggests Ramsay's presence doesn't guarantee future consistency

60 And yet the most dominant…

And yet the most dominant defense in the league right now has no edge rusher anywhere close to Mack's level, but the best cover corner in the league, Gillmore.  To me, the Patriots defense most resembles that 2009 Jets defense; they have an entire secondary that plays man, and takes out your options, especially the quick ones, and you don't know where the extra rusher is coming from.

15 Plus you have to consider…

Plus you have to consider the Rams' division.  None of the other teams are the sort that rely on a clear #1 wide receiver.  Who is Ramsey going to shut down?  Tyler Lockett?  Dante Pettis? 

I suspect the Rams aren't cashing in future draft picks for a SB so much as cashing them in to get fans in their stadium.  I hear every home game has been like an away game this year. 

18 Well this seems a little…

Well this seems a little silly. A guy who's a shutdown corner isn't wasted on teams with pedestrian receivers. You can always put him on a guy 1 on 1 without safety help, and then go double two other guys. That's how a lot of teams used Sanders anyway, put him on the #2, then go double their best. This is a Rams secondary that has been not great, coupled with linebacker coverage that has been outright bad, especially against Tampa. 

I'd feel pretty good about playing the 49ers if they send Ramsey on Pettis, so they can make sure to be doubling George Kittle. I'd feel a lot better playing Seattle if Lockett was being shutdown, so he couldn't catch another 100+. 

31 I don't think it's silly to…

I don't think it's silly to suggest that teams with diverse passing attacks are hurt less by playing a premier corner than teams that funnel their passing through one receiver, no.  Of course there's always value in a good corner, but how good do you have to be to single Tyler Lockett?  Do you need one of the best corners in the game to do that?     

If you're looking at the other teams in the NFC West, does it strike you that any of them have offenses that would be best attacked with the aid of a premier cornerback?  None of the 49ers WRs is averaging even 35 yards per game.  When you're playing them, is Marcus Peters breaking down really what you're afraid of?  

This move feels desperate.  They're not trading for Ramsey because they particularly need a CB, but because he was the only elite player out there to trade for.  It has a throw-shit-at-the-wall feeling to it.  

45 Desperation would be…

Desperation would be tailoring your team specifically to match up with the shifting sands of your divisional rivals rosters. You can say that it's not as bad to play great corners if you don't have AJ Green/Julio Jones/Whomever, fine. But you can, as I have already said, just cover one of those lesser guys with Ramsey, and double whomever they feel like. The 49ers have arguably the best tight end in the entire league. If you can cover Goodwin with Ramsey, then you can double team Kittle to your hearts content.

Ultimately, if you're playing a team with no receiving threats, you probably don't need a talented team to win anyway, but you can play some cover 1/0, blitz often, and convert your advantage in the secondary to an advantage in pass rush. 

On top of all that, Peters sucked in man coverage, and so the Rams were running zone at a league highest rate. 89% if I recall correctly. Adding Ramsey let's Phillips call a lot more man coverages. This solves a tangential problem with the Rams defense, which is that the linebackers were playing their zone responsibilities quite poorly, which can be alleviated by playing a lot more man or blitzing them.

48 Yeah, I don't think it's…

Yeah, I don't think it's desperate to design a team to win your division; I think it's football 101.  If you want to be a good team, you have to take care of your division first.  The Seahawks and the 49ers--the teams you're trailing--want to run the ball first and foremost.  Is paying a premium price for a premium cornerback the best way to fight that?  

Let's just say it's not an intuitive solution.

Peters did suck in man coverage, but Ramsey sucks at zone and combo coverages, so you've kind of swapped one straight jacket for another.  Undoubtedly Ramsey is a better corner, but hard to see how he would have made much difference last Sunday, when the Rams were already selling out to stop the run.  

49 I'm not sure you can really…

I'm not sure you can really tailor your team to beat another unless its a perpetual overlord like the NE Patriots. SF and SEA are not wide receiver focused, but they are pretty different stylistically. I think this is a pure talent play which I guess makes sense if not for the massive cost it's going bring down the road. 

61 Sure, any pure talent play…

Sure, any pure talent play makes sense if it comes without cost. 

I also think teams draft and recruit in FA all the time with the strengths of their division in mind.  I'm surprised this is a point of contention, to be honest. 

64 And what about the Cardinals…

And what about the Cardinals, who want to throw the ball 60+ times per game? If you want to say that the Cardinals suck, well so did the 49ers until this season. What if the 49ers go out next offseason and sign AJ Green, or whomever? Shanahan showed himself perfectly capable of a high powered aerial attack when in Atlanta, because he had Ryan and Jones. He only runs because that's what his talent currently leads him to do, emphasis on the currently. 

And besides, if teams want to commit to a strategy with a lower percent chance of winning, running the ball constantly, then just stack the box, give Ramsey 1 on 1's with Goodwin on the outside, and enjoy. 

69 Shoot, if you want to pay…

Shoot, if you want to pay two firsts and a fourth so that you're covered on the off chance the 49ers trade for A.J. Green, more power to you.  If you want to build your team to beat one of the worst teams in the division, even more power to you.

As for Shananah, all of his offenses, including the 2016 Falcons, start with outside zone runs.  That was true in Washington with quarterbacks as different as RGIII and Kirk Cousins; it was true of his dad with John Elway.  It's true today, too, not because of the limitations of his roster, but because that's the key of his entire system.

As for stacking the box...what do you think the Rams were doing last Sunday?  How well did it work out for them?  Is an upgrade at CB going to change that? 

70 At this point, you seem to…

At this point, you seem to be willfully ignorant. I simply did not say that you should build your roster to beat the Cardinals. I brought them up because records are volatile. You seem to be ignoring that the 49ers were 4-12 last season, which proves the unpredictability of a teams performance year to year, let alone the actual roster making up said team. Had the rams "built themselves to beat one of the worst teams in their division", back in 2018, the 49ers, assuming that you even can meaningfully build a roster that way, then they'd be better off against the 49ers in 2019. 

"As for Shananah, all of his offenses, including the 2016 Falcons, start with outside zone runs.  That was true in Washington with quarterbacks as different as RGIII and Kirk Cousins; it was true of his dad with John Elway.  It's true today, too, not because of the limitations of his roster, but because that's the key of his entire system."

What an utterly bizarre non-sequitur. The type of running play called by an offense has nothing to do with your ability to cover their receivers. Unless you're trying to make some argument for great coverage linebackers over cornerbacks, or safeties or whatever.

"As for stacking the box...what do you think the Rams were doing last Sunday?  How well did it work out for them?  Is an upgrade at CB going to change that?"

Worked pretty well, considering the 49ers rushed for 2.9 yards per carry. Would have worked even better if the coverage had been better, which it will be with Ramsey. Besides, the 49ers scoring 20 points after getting fairly good field position is a win for the defense anyway. The problem in that one game was the offense sputtering out.

22 It's not the picks...

It's the contract.

Ramsey has one year left on his contract.  He's a steal this year.  He'll be a good value next year. But they aren't trading 2 first round picks for a player.  They're trading 2 first round picks for a player that is in a contract year next season.

Basically, in  addition to trading the picks, they're going to need to renegotiate the contract - and as others have pointed out, the Rams have a lot of cap space tied up in the future. Having someone like Ramsay would help any team, but it won't come in a vacuum. It will affect the rest of the team.

I feel like the Rams are in "win now at all costs" mode, and if they don't win, they're going to be in a messy situation.

So, sure, having a guy like Ramsay might make the difference between being able to more easily deal with a Julio Jones.  But if he does down, you're boned.  And it hurts your ability to cover Sanu (Or whoever's the next best guy on another team).

Maybe the Rams management feels that going all in is the best solution for them.  Maybe there are more cap manipulation tools than it first appears, and they intend on restructuring a lot of these contracts.  Or maybe I'm right and they are setting themselves to flame out in a couple of years.

Most likely the answer is somewhere in the middle... but I don't see this as a wise acquisition. It hurts their ability to gain cheap/productive players in early rounds, and it possibly stifles their cap space in the medium term too.

 

14 Sure, but its still 2 first…

Sure, but its still 2 first round picks for a player on one year of cost controlled salary. The math tilts heavily against it once you factor in how much Tunsil is going to be paid. Maybe it works out, but see my point above - 2 first round picks represents enormous downside risk.

 

Furthermore, I'd like to wait a full season before I declare the Tunsil move the inflection point between Watson having time and Watson being killed. 

 

24 Yeah, I disagree.  Tackle's…

Yeah, I disagree.  Tackle's one of the positions where real talent doesn't hit free agency, pretty much at all, so your only options are draft or trade, and given that OL drafting success rate is around 50%, 2 first rounders is probably around right (Stills is basically the second rounder, in my opinion) - if you're sure on your grading.

I also disagree on the "cost controlled salary" part. Yes, it's nice if you get it, but tackle's a long-term position: if you have a solid top tackle, good chance you're going to hang on to him for almost a decade or more. In which case the ~3-ish years of cost control just really are a blip. In the end I don't think Houston got a bargain. But I don't think they hurt their long term chances as a team if Tunsil is a top-5 tackle. This is different than QB just because the QB's salary is so high. It's the difference between saving $10M and $20M+.

Philly gave up a first, fourth, and sixth for Peters back in 2009. That was a bargain, and Tunsil is 2 years younger. It really entirely comes down to the question of whether Houston's grading of him is right - and honestly, if their grading isn't good, the value of the two first rounders isn't great anyway. If your scouting department's bad, the problem isn't giving away picks - it's the scouting department.

I'm less OK with corner, though. It's the same situation as tackle, in that top talent virtually never hits free agency. Most of the top corners in the league are still with the teams that drafted them. But the career length is much shorter, which means the value you get out of it is much lower. You're not going to say "the Rams are set at corner for the next decade," which might happen with the Texans.

25 Study after study has shown…

Study after study has shown that the draft says more about where the player is taken than which team takes him. So if two first-round picks end up at the very top of the draft, even if they end up in a sinkhole team like Miami currently, they are still likely to land very good players vs pics that land in the 20s.

 

My other big problem with your analysis is, offensive line much like the secondary, isn't about one player. Joe Thomas and Jonathan Ogden are two of the greatest offensive linemen of all time. During the length of both careers, none of their teams ever ranked above average in pass dvoa. 

Jason Peters was worth the trade. Would he have been worth 2 first rounders? How about three? Or 4? The comparison becomes hard because the first rounders are abstract value while Jason is a known quantity but even still there is some number that he's not worth more than. And we don't know the counterfactual. Maybe the eagles are better off w a solid lt and two more above average players. They did win the SB without him.

The Texans can certainly talk themselves into saying they were one left tackle away from having a perfect offense, but things change rapidly in the NFL and all it takes is a year for leaks to spring up where you didn't expect them. 

 

in a vacuum I can justify a first-round pick for laremy tunsil or a first-round pick for Jalen Ramsey. It's the two first-rounders given up for players that makes me queasy. I agree that left tackle has longevity and consistency over cornerback, but I'm also sure that Ramsey is a better player than tunsil.

55 Two first round picks is…

Two first round picks is about even with what Peters was worth. That's what I'm saying. Low first round picks hit at under 50%, so 2 is just about right. They got him for a 1st and a 4th, so it was a bargain.

In Houston's case I see that as a push, but it's important to remember time is a factor. They've got a QB. Talent now has a high value. Makes sense to try to improve because you can't be patient.

58 re Houston, it also makes…

re Houston, it also makes sense if you think of it from O'Brien's perspective: making the SB now gives him more job security than losing in the division round again and letting the coach who replaces him spend those draft picks.

No coach ever got an asterix after his name after playing in the Super Bowl saying "yeah, but he only got there because he traded away his team's future draft picks".

66 And of course the other…

And of course the other point is that the draft picks aren't actually that useful to the Texans so long as they're still on Watson's rookie contract. Draft picks let you get rare talent cheaply at a low hit rate. Free agency lets you get rare talent at a high hit rate. But the Texans already *have* plenty of cap space thanks to Watson being on his rookie contract, so the cost advantage isn't really that important. I mean, you've effectively got about a $10M-20M boost in your cap this year and next year - maybe a bit less next year if they're smart and extend Watson as soon as possible, like Philly did with Wentz, but that just lowers the long term impact.

Which of course makes the Rams move even weirder since they screwed up not extending Goff early, which means cap-wise that's going to hurt, and now they sacrificed their ability to get cheap talent while pushing themselves *harder* against the cap by spending on a short-term position. To me that's just setting them up for a hard crash in a few years.

32 They’d take a $25M cap hit…

They’d take a $25M cap hit to cut him (he’s about $17M if they keep him). 2021 is the first year when they’d save money ($4.8M, but still with an $8.4M cap hit). It wouldn’t surprise me if he’s with the team until the 2021-22 offseason.

37 More weird Belichick voodoo…

More weird Belichick voodoo keeps Ramsey away from the Chiefs and as a bonus, kicks him right out of the AFC.

As for the Rams, you can't just look at this as getting Ramsey. They get Ramsey plus LB Kenny Young in place of Marcus Peters. For the remainder of this season, that seems like an upgrade. Future years are for someone else to worry about. The Rams were in the SB last year and intend to be there again this year. In a 32 team league, they no doubt see this as their window, and don't want to waste it.

The Talib injury was undoubtedly a factor here. Peters is a good DB in the right formations, but without Talib, the Rams were likely looking at a different situation than the start of the year. Ramsey I believe will give them more flexibility.  Edit for clarity: more flexibility than playing Peters, not more flexibility than when they could play Talib

44 Bingo. I really like this…

Bingo. I really like this trade for the Rams, for just about the exact same reason people here seem down on it: they're already capped out on a handful of players. This is their shot, this year and maybe next year, regardless of what else might be happening in their division or the rest of the NFL. They have to - have to - shoot it. Getting arguably the best corner in the game is probably the best single move they can make. They're gonna be real bad in 2022 regardless.

The wisdom of getting into this situation in the first place is another matter entirely, of course. But once you've made your bed and you have to sleep in it, you may as well splurge for the nice pillow.

57 "The Rams were in the SB…

"The Rams were in the SB last year and intend to be there again this year"

They are in a really bad spot, already 2 games back of Seattle & SF who both have a h2h victory. I don't think you can put the Rams' chance of winning the division at much more the 10% right now. SF in particular looks like a legit team, 12-4 might not be good enough for the Rams to win the division. And even attaining a wildcard in the ultra-competitive NFC is going to be tough. 

That is an issue I have with the trade. I'm not suggesting the Rams should be writing off this season, but this is a mighty aggressive, short-term move for a team with very long Super Bowl odds. By the same token this also means that the value of the 2020 pick they have traded away might be higher than you hope. 

The elephant in the room with the Rams is that for whatever reason, the O-line has fallen off a cliff this year, and Jared Goff is not a QB that copes well with pressure. Unless that gets promptly fixed it's tough to see how they make it deep into January, regardless of what impact Ramsey can have on the pass defense.

 

59 I don't disagree with you,…

I don't disagree with you, but I don't believe that's how they're thinking inside the Rams organization.  I'm pretty confident their team goal at the start of the season was getting back to the Super Bowl and winning it this time.  That's the message for the players, and that's the philosophy that management's running with.

46 The concerning issue for the…

The concerning issue for the Rams is the fact that they are back to getting lower tier production from Goff, on the precipice of him taking maybe as much as 16% or more of the cap. I don't know why that is, because I don't watch them enough. I suspect his protection has degraded, as the things McVay does to account for the fact that Goff doesn't handle pressure very well, and really doesn't process the field all that well, have been better countered by opposing defenses.

Based on the fact that if Goff does regress to being a lower tier qb, who you might not be able to rid yourself of without a lot of pain until 2022, it's total effing disaster, yeah, you may as well roll the dice with this trade.

With obvious exceptions and benefit of hindsight, God save NFL teams from qbs drafted with a top 10 pick.

50 I love this thread. There…

I love this thread. There are strong arguments being made for all sides here, including interesting debates on the relative value of a top CB or top draft picks in general. Contrast this discussion to the one at PFT (and so much of twitter it's spilling over into "analytics twitter"), where it's all "Ramsey is a diva, he sucks, good riddance" and other nonsense.

Personally I'm more of the opinion that a young, proven all-pro like Ramsey (whose success has been sustained long enough we can expect it to continue) is probably worth three or more 1st-round draft picks", but I can definitely see both sides.

62 He belongs on the Rams

I mean, its in his very name.

We had a discussion on #fo (disord) about players who played for teams who had their name in the team name.

THere have been many players named Brown, presumably some played for the Browns.

There have been a number of players with the name (first or last) of Dallas, and so on.

63 The Rams are in *win now*…

The Rams are in *win now* mode (and win in 2020) because next year they are moving into their new megabuck stadium and need to sell season tickets. There may even have been some clause in the financing deal contingent on ticket sales. I would not be surprised if they let Ramsey walk in 2021, draft picks be damned.