The Jacksonville Jaguars called the Miami Dolphins in recent days to announce cornerback Jalen Ramsey is available in trade and to gauge their in-state neighbor’s interest in giving up some of the first-round draft picks the Dolphins have acquired in recent weeks, according to a league source.
And that’s where all I know stops.
Because I do not know what the Dolphins’ actual interest is beyond listening.
I do not know how many other teams the Jaguars have contacted, although I assume they’ve called multiple teams.
And I do not know what the Jaguars would be willing to accept for their young Pro Bowl cornerback because asking for compensation is much different than accepting compensation. Asking is merely the starting point of a negotiation.
So there’s the news.
Now my opinion:
Be serious about this, Chris Grier. Give it some deep thought. Don’t dismiss it out hand because you’re lately more about taking first-round picks from other teams rather than trading them away.
Because Xavien Howard at one cornerback and Jalen Ramsey at another would be sick. The pairing would give the Dolphins the best cornerback tandem in the NFL.
And because it’s quite unlikely the Dolphins would be able to find a player of Ramsey’s caliber with one of their two lower first-round picks in 2020 -- either from Pittsburgh or Houston, most likely Houston depending on how those two teams play this season.
Now, take a breath here.
This isn’t Fantasy League trading between friends. This is serious NFL business and jobs are on the line in such transactions.
So, yes, the Dolphins would have to be practically certain they could sign Ramsey to a long-term contract beyond 2020, which is the option year on his 2016 rookie contract. If the Dolphins cannot be certain of that long-term relationship, there is practically no reason to do this deal.
But assuming Ramsey’s representation is open to striking such a deal -- yes, one that will likely make Ramsey the NFL’s highest-paid cornerback -- then that obstacle is removed.
The Dolphins, by the way, have more than enough salary cap space this year and in future years to make this work.
So I love this possibility, still distant as it may seem right now, that Miami might do this. Because the narrative out there is the Dolphins don’t want to win.
It’s true, adding Ramsey this year won’t immediately make the Dolphins a good team. But after the final three months of the 2019 season are complete and the Dolphins begin building in 2020, having Ramsey would mean an elite piece is already in place at a cornerstone position.
If Ramsey could buy in to that, it could work.
So what might such a deal look like?
The Jaguars, again, are asking multiple first-round picks. The Dolphins own three first-rounders in 2020 and two more in 2021. Miami added that third 2020 first-rounder only days ago by trading away Minkah Fitzpatrick to the Steelers.
So the team could easily think of this as Ramsey for Fitzpatrick. I make that trade (with that contract extension) every day of the week.
But that’s pretty much where I would stop with first-round compensation. Because giving up multiple first-rounders for a player who last weekend got into a public argument with his head coach doesn’t seem wise. I wouldn’t do that.
That then raises the possibility of other compensation being involved. A first- and a second-rounder for Jalen Ramsey?
I’d do that as well, as long as he signs that contract extension. That should be considered.
And we know the first step -- which is contact between the teams -- has taken place.