After a disappointing season from The LA Rams, the stars are aligning for the Lions to potentially acquire one of the league’s best players at a position of desperate need. Star cornerback Jalen Ramsey currently commands a large cap number on a roster that may be in need of retooling ($12.35 million over the 2023 estimated cap). In an effort to clear some space and possibly secure future assets, the Rams may look to move on from Ramsey.
According to Washington Post NFL insider Jason La Canfora, “It’s a matter of when Rams star cornerback Jalen Ramsey and Arizona Cardinals star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins are traded, not if. And the GMs I have spoken to don’t believe those teams will get anywhere near the compensation that their fans might expect.” The Lions have abundant draft capital and enough cap space to pay Ramsey. Even after a potential trade, the Lions would likely still own some of the most valuable draft capital in the league. Lions General Manager Brad Holmes was on staff when the Rams traded for Ramsey, and he has already made a blockbuster deal with the Rams when he traded QB Matthew Stafford in 2021. While they may be able to acquire Ramsey for pennies on the dollar, they would be stuck paying the 3-time all-pro and 5-time pro bowler over $20 million a year.
As a result of this crippling cap number, there is also the chance that Ramsey will be cut if the Rams are unable to find a trade partner. In this scenario, the Lions would have to outbid and out pursue other teams looking to take their defense to the next level. Lions Receiver Amon Ra St. Brown has already begun recruiting Ramsey on his podcast with The 33rd Team. “Jalen, if you can hear this, I know you played with (Jared) Goff before. Detroit might seem like a landing spot for you, my guy. Talk to me. The only way is up for us”. If the Lions managed to secure Ramsey in free agency, they would likely sign him to a much friendlier contract than the one he is currently on. Additionally, they would maintain all of their current draft picks. Unfortunately, it remains to be seen whether Detroit has done enough to truly become a free agent destination.
While the Lions have demonstrated enormous success building through the draft, the team is currently in a position where the acquisition of a superstar like Ramsey could make them legitimate contenders. Although he has seen a slight regression in 2021, Ramsey is still just 28 years old and has demonstrated consistent ability to be one of the best perimeter defenders in the NFL. If the Lions are able to acquire him either through trade or through free agency, they will immediately take their defense and their team to a new level.