PHILADELPHIA — Jacksonville Jaguars star cornerback Jalen Ramsey is available via trade. The Super Bowl hopeful Philadelphia Eagles need a shot in the arm on defense. Eagles general manager Howie Roseman is among the most aggressive deal-makers in the NFL.
What do you get when you add all those things together? A situation worth exploring.
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The Eagles have been doing their homework on Ramsey, according to sources. The same was true with Minkah Fitzpatrick, who on Monday was traded from the Miami Dolphins to the Pittsburgh Steelers for a first-round pick plus some later-round pick swaps.
Ramsey’s agent, David Mulugheta, told ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen on Monday that he has asked the Jaguars to trade his client. League sources also told ESPN the Jaguars have had talks with teams and are asking for at least one first-round pick but would like more than that in return for the two-time Pro Bowl cornerback.
It should not come as a surprise Philadelphia is showing some level of interest. As Roseman said this month when Jadeveon Clowney was on the market, “Anyone who is available at any level, whether they’re on the waiver wire or whether they’re available via trade, I promise we look into.”
There’s reason to think this is more than just a passing glance. Cornerback is a priority position, and the early returns this season suggest the Eagles could use some help. Ronald Darby is coming off an ACL injury and has been targeted 17 times over two games, fifth most in the league, according to Pro Football Focus. He has made some plays but also has also given up his share. Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas have been splitting snaps on the opposite side, with mixed success. The secondary has yielded six touchdowns through the air on the young season.
Ramsey would immediately improve the situation, giving Philly one of the most impactful corners in the game. The Eagles (1-1) are in win-now mode, and might see that an upgrade is necessary to best position themselves for a title charge. Ramsey, 24, is scheduled to make a total of about $17 million in base salary over the next two seasons. Other top players at his position are averaging $14-15 million per year, so he represents good value.
However, it won’t be long before Ramsey is seeking a megadeal. And any team that trades for him will have to decide whether the investment is worth the occasional headache that comes with a player such as Ramsey, who has a reputation of being high maintenance.
Philadelphia also has to weigh its desire to stockpile picks and build up young, less expensive talent to surround quarterback Carson Wentz with for future years versus the urgency to capitalize on a golden chance in the here and now. How the scale tips will dictate whether the Eagles set off on a hot pursuit.