On Tuesday night, Jalen Ramsey finally got his wish and is headed out of Jacksonville and West to the L.A. Rams.
ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter was the first to report that the disgruntled Ramsey was being dealt from the Jaguars for the tremendous asking price of two number one draft picks and a future mid-round selection:
It’s happening: Former Jaguars’ CB Jalen Ramsey is being traded to the LA Rams for two first-round picks in 2020 and 2021, and a fourth-round pick in 2021, source tells ESPN.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 15, 2019
Ramsey has not played for the last three weeks with what he and the team have been contending is a back injury. However, there was much growing speculation, especially last week, that Ramsey was being held out because Jacksonville fully intended to complete a trade with someone.
And, they didn’t want to risk damaging Ramsey for his new team.
Ramsey confirmed the trade on social media and certainly seemed eager to have North Florida in his rear view mirror:
— Jalen Ramsey (@jalenramsey) October 15, 2019
It’s no secret that Ramsey has wanted out of Jacksonville, since the week two defeat in Houston. That’s when Ramsey got into things on the sidelines with coach Doug Marrone over Marrone not challenging a completion to receiver DeAndre Hopkins, whom Ramsey had been covering.
As we had been told at that time Ramsey and Marrone and cleared the air however his bigger problem is with VP of football Tom Coughlin and Coughlin would ultimately be in charge of approving a long-term contract extension for Ramsey be on this year.
Ramsey responded by supposedly having “the flu” three weeks ago. Then two days later couldn’t practice with what was termed a “stiff back” by Marrone. Then, later that Wednesday, the team released a statement that Ramsey was being allowed to leave to be present for the birth of his second child.
It seemed that the team just didn’t want him around, while a trade was contemplated. Then, suddenly, Ramsey was back and flew with them to Denver, but was inactive and missed his first game since being drafted in the first round in 2016.
Then, interestingly, owner Shad Khan damaged his own credibility while either not knowing or publicly bluffing everyone over the last couple of weeks with the Ramsey affair.
This as, Khan first gave an interview to the AP two weeks ago saying that he was not inclined to trade Ramsey. Then earlier last week, Khan insisted in an interview with “The Street” business website that he had met with his problem former first round pick, and Ramsey would be playing Sunday against the Saints.
That did not happen, and it’s obvious, now, Jacksonville was waiting for the best possible deal and L.A. came calling.
The haul in return is significant and shows that the Jags were right to wait over the past 2-3 weeks to make a trade.
L.A. is in disarray after losing their third straight game, 20-7 Sunday to the 49ers, and suffering in their secondary. The team placed DB Aqib Talib on IR with a rib injury Monday.
The Jaguars and the Rams also completed a big trade a year ago when Jacksonville Dealt away defensive end Dante Fowler for third and fifth round picks in return. Fowler went on to have a good year down the stretch in L.A. and ended up helping them make the Super Bowl.
Ramsey also comes at a bargain in the short term for the Rams, as he is only making the prorated remainder of his $2.4 million salary for this year.
The Rams and GM Les Snead can also decide to keep Ramsey for his fifth year option at $13.7 million for 2020.
And, the Rams cleared some salary-cap room, and at Ramsey’s position, when they traded defensive back Marcus Peters to the Baltimore Ravens earlier on Tuesday.
Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue hinting he’s gone again?
One of the key free-agent questions for the Jaguars continues to be whether or not they’re going to allow their best pass rusher, Yannick Ngakoue, to test the free-agent market coming up? And, once again, the player may be giving a clue that he’s going to do just that.
Ngakoue tweeted Wednesday morning the following phrase, which seems to indicate, yet again, that he will be playing somewhere else in 2020:
— Yannick Ngakoue (@YannickNgakoue) February 26, 2020
This goes along with something that we wrote earlier in January. That’s when just a couple of days after the season Ngakoue posted essentially a goodbye message to Jaguar fans. This came on the heels of him having held out for a new contract for the first few days of training camp last August, but not receiving a new deal during the season, etc.
Ngakoue, whose 37.5 career sacks are the most by a Jaguars player after 63 career games, is sure to be a sought-after player from many different teams. GM Dave Caldwell said at the end of the season when asked about re-sgning his star pass rusher, “He is a tremendous player and even a better person. How he handled his business this year was tremendous. But, I would say that’s priority No. 1, to make sure he comes back to Jacksonville. Hopefully, we can get that done. ″
It’s also worth noting that at Tuesday’s NFL Scouting Combine at media availability in Indianapolis, coach Doug Marrone repeated that he wants Ngakoue to remain in Jaguars teal and white:
Doug Marrone: ‘’No doubt where I stand or the coaches.”
—They want Yannick Ngakoue back. pic.twitter.com/vOorH4hH95
— John Reid (@JohnReid64) February 26, 2020
However, it remains to be seen if Marrone and Caldwell are willing to “pony up” huge money for him or even potentially, put the franchise tag on him before free agency begins next month?
Ngakoue figures to want a contract close to what the top ends are getting paid right now. Demarcus Lawrence and Frank Clark both signed five-year, over $100 million deals in 2019 and received guaranteed money that exceeded $62 million. That is massive for Jacksonville.
If the Jags opt for the “franchise tag,” then the talented end will be making around $19 million dollars, which is the current average of the top five players at his position. The Jaguars could also put the tag on him and then work on a longer term, salary cap friendly, deal that would replace the tag later in the off season.
Jaguars confirm they are declining option on DT Dareus
At Tuesday’s media session at the NFL Scouting Combine, Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell made official what had been rumored for the last couple of days regarding defensive tackle Marcell Dareus: he will not be brought back for a fourth season in Jacksonville.
Caldwell confirmed the Jaguars are not picking up DT Marcell Dareus' option.
— John Reid (@JohnReid64) February 25, 2020
Dareus only played briefly in 2019, as he suffered a core muscle injury that sidelined him after only six games and he was placed on injured reserve. The former number one pick of the Buffalo Bills had played for coach Doug Marrone for a couple of seasons in Western New York.
Marrone and Caldwell traded for Dareus during the 2017 season and he helped them with their rise to the AFC South title and two playoff wins. This included Darius registering two sacks and four other tackles-for-loss in the Jaguars three playoff games that year.
Dareus made the Pro Bowl twice in Buffalo in 2013-14.
However, he has not lived up to his hefty contract that was reworked Jacksonville last February. Last season, Dareus made over $8 million dollars and the team would have been on the hook for $20 million this year had they picked up the option. That obviously wasn’t going to happen.
Dareus also has had legal troubles off the field, including a civil suit against him in Tampa for alleged sexual misconduct. As we wrote previously, a woman alleged that Dareus had sexually assaulted her in January of 2018 at a North Tampa Florida home, while Dareus was in town for the Alabama-Clemson College Football Playoff Championship Game.
However, that suit filed in Hillsborough County court was “dismissed with prejudice” last April, which means it cannot be re-filed.
Dareus, if healthy after the core muscle injury rehab, may have some value as a defensive tackle on the free agent market.
As for the Jaguars, they have former #1 pick defensive tackle Taven Bryan to play more in the middle and are trying to decide if free agent-to-be, DE Yannick Ngakoue, can be afforded for their 2020 salary cap?