LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 08: Cornerback Jalen Ramsey #20 of the Los Angeles Rams celebrates a defensive stop on fourth down in the second quarter of the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on December 08, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Harry How/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams agreed to a record-setting five-year, $105 million contract extension with three-time Pro Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey on Wednesday.    

David Mulugheta, Ramsey’s agent, confirmed the new deal to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who noted it’s the largest deal ever signed by a corner.

Los Angeles Rams @RamsNFL

Locking down our lockdown.

We’ve agreed with @jalenramsey on a 5-year extension. https://t.co/aGBN7r2VAq

Jalen Ramsey @jalenramsey

Just checking back in to the @DavidMulugheta office 👀😂 https://t.co/encuabA8dZ

Field Yates of ESPN shared the breakdown of the league’s highest-paid cornerbacks on a per-year average:

Field Yates @FieldYates

The highest-paid CBs on new money per year average:
1. Jalen Ramsey: $21M
2. Tre’Davious White: $17.5M
3. Darius Slay: $16.683M
4. Byron Jones: $16.5M
5. Xavien Howard: $15.05M

The Rams acquired Ramsey in a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars, parting with two first-round picks and a fourth-rounder to complete the deal in October 2019.

One question immediately after the move was whether the Rams had made any overtures to Ramsey regarding a long-term extension. ESPN’s Josina Anderson reported that “no parameters have even been discussed” regarding a new deal when the trade was first struck.

The Jaguars triggered his fifth-year option for 2020, which will net him $13.7 million. The 25-year-old was set to become a free agent in 2021.

Los Angeles knew it was working against a ticking clock when it acquired Ramsey, but it had an entire offseason to hammer out the details on a new contract with his representatives.

There was no doubt Ramsey would be looking for a figure that would potentially make him the highest-paid cornerback in the league. He made that abundantly clear when he reported to the Jaguars in July 2019 while riding an armored truck.

#DUUUVAL @Jaguars

🔒🔒🔒 @JalenRamsey is back 🔒🔒🔒

#DUUUVAL https://t.co/vZgQ9yH6Qo

Ramsey put himself in a position to get paid handsomely. He had nine interceptions and 45 pass defenses in 51 games with the Jaguars before intercepting one pass through his first nine appearances with the Rams.

Pro Football Focus’ Ben Linsey ranked him as the third-best player set to hit the open market:

“From traits to production, there are few cornerbacks, if any, who top what he brings to the table. Since entering the league in 2016, there are 37 cornerbacks who have seen at least 250 targets. Ramsey ranks among the top five in completion percentage (55.5%) and passer rating (76.1) allowed. Then, of course, there is this from early last season.”

Considering how much they gave up to acquire him, everybody expected the Rams to keep Ramsey beyond 2020. However, that means potentially making the roster even more top-heavy than it already is.

Los Angeles was willing to eat $32 million in dead money rather than keeping Todd Gurley and Brandin Cooks on the books beyond 2020.

Field Yates @FieldYates

Largest dead money cap charges in 2020:
1. Brandin Cooks: $20.8M
2. Nick Foles: $18.75M
3. Joe Flacco: $13.6M
4. Tom Brady: $13.5M
5. Todd Gurley: $11.75M
6. Matt Kalil: $9.8M
7. Trai Turner: $9.592M
8. Stefon Diggs: $9M
9. Reshad Jones: $8.14M
10. Eric Berry: $8M

Spotrac @spotrac

Brandin Cooks’ $21.8M dead cap hit with the #Rams in 2020 is higher than any ACTIVE WR cap figure this season.

1. Julio Jones, $20.4M
2. Mike Evans, $18.35M
3. A.J. Green, $17.85M
4. Tyreek Hill, $17.7M
5. Davante Adams, $16.4M


General manager Les Snead is so pot committed that letting Ramsey walk would’ve been more unforgivable than paying him. But the Rams are a case study in how thinking almost solely in the short term inevitably results in serious long-term consequences.

To borrow an adage from baseball, flags fly forever. Snead will look like a genius if his aggressive approach results in a Super Bowl title.

Should Los Angeles fall short of a championship in the next few years, though, his all-in strategy could backfire in a big way.

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