On October 16th, 2019 on Undisputed, TV Talk Show Host Skip Bayless said that the move to get cornerback Jalen Ramsey was “dangerously desperate” and a “win-now or lose-now” move. The Los Angeles Rams had just traded a 2020 and 2021 first-round pick and a 2021 fourth-round pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars for Jalen Ramsey. In a corresponding move, they also traded Marcus Peters to the Baltimore Ravens. They also ended up trading Aqib Talib to the Miami Dolphins a couple of weeks later for a swap of a seventh-rounder for a fifth-rounder in 2022. Here is why, a year later, that the trades were a “win-now” move over a “lose-now” move.
The Rams Are Laughing At Skip Bayless Right Now
Imagine that the Rams are playing any team with two good receivers. In this case, imagine they are playing the Seattle Seahawks with Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf. Now, imagine Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf lining up against Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib for the next several seasons versus Jalen Ramsey and Darious Williams. Talib was on the tail-end of his career in 2019 so the idea that he would still be able to hang with either of them for the next three years is unlikely (the question of whether Talib would have not retired if he had stayed a Ram is another topic entirely).
Therefore, it would actually be Lockett and Metcalf facing Peters and Williams which would be a leaky secondary at best. However, with Ramsey and Williams, the secondary would be not only better but it could also be deadly for another half-decade considering the fact that Ramsey and Williams are younger than Talib and Peters with just as much talent.
Put simply, with the trade, the Rams have gone from a decent secondary that was about to expire to a lockdown secondary with the potential for another five years of airtight coverage.
With Peters and Talib, the Rams’ defense was ranked 19th in 2018. With Ramsey added and Peters and Talib subtracted in the middle of 2019, the Rams ended up ranking higher in 2019 than they did in 2018. In the end, the Rams had Ramsey for not even a full season and the defense ended up ranking higher than it did in 2018.
In 2020, the Rams currently sit with the best-ranked defense in the National Football League. This is happening with the fact that the Rams have a rookie defensive coordinator in Brandon Staley. To put this in perspective, rookie coaches tend to struggle in the NFL so the reason explaining why the rookie defensive coordinator’s defense is outperforming everyone else has to be put disproportionately on the players.
“…now one year and change later, the Rams are rejuvenated and in a position to have a great defense over the next several years.”
Where The Rams Currently Sit
13 months after the trade, the Los Angeles Rams have the number one-ranked defense in the NFL and have the number two overall rank in terms of average offensive and defensive ranking (taken by adding the offensive and defensive ranked positions and dividing by two). However, above all, the Rams are currently leading an NFC West where three of the four teams have been in the Super Bowl in the last five calendar years. They are also leading in an NFC West that has two other teams over .500. The only one under .500 having just been in the Super Bowl.
Sending two first-round picks and a fourth-round pick for any player is a risky proposition. Having said that, now one year and change later, the Rams are rejuvenated and in a position to have a great defense over the next several years. Due to these reasons, the Rams have clearly and unabashedly shown that the trade for Jalen Ramsey and the removal of Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib was a “win-now” move and not a “lose-now” move. But if you listen to Skip, you probably could have guessed that he would end up being wrong.