US Sports Veteran
Publish Date: 09/09/2020
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster
On Wednesday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Los Angeles Rams and Pro Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey reached a record-setting five-year extension. The new deal is worth $105 million, and its $21 million annual salary is the highest for a cornerback in NFL history. Ramsey’s rookie contract expires after the upcoming season, and the Rams didn’t want to lose the former All-Pro.[mytwitter url=”https://twitter.com/AdamSchefter/status/1303697426180714497″]
In 2019, the Rams traded two first-round picks and a fourth-round selection to the Jacksonville Jaguars for Ramsey. Los Angeles tried constructing a dominant defensive backfield a year earlier by trading for Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib. However, neither of those cornerbacks flourished with the Rams, and both are no longer with the organization.
After the news broke, David Mulugheta, Ramsey’s agent, took to Twitter. According to Mulugheta, the $71.2 million in guarantees on Ramsey’s deal are the largest for a defensive back in NFL history. The former Jaguar is also the first defensive back to sign a contract worth more than $100 million.
Some fans might wonder whether or not Ramsey deserved the massive payday. While analysts widely view Ramsey as one of the NFL’s top cornerbacks, he hasn’t made an All-Pro team since 2017. Pro Football Focus (PFF) put the 25-year-old’s career in a different light. According to PFF, Ramsey’s 90.7 coverage grade ranks fifth since he entered the NFL, and the Florida State product’s 90.3 overall grade ranks sixth.[mytwitter url=”https://twitter.com/PFF/status/1303698622652051456″]
With Ramsey officially signed for the foreseeable future, Los Angeles and General Manager Les Snead turn their attention toward extending Cooper Kupp. Spotrac values Kupp at $16.7 million annually. The Rams have to do some serious somersaults to match that mark and fit their entire payroll under the salary cap. Los Angeles’ cap situation isn’t enviable, to say the least.
This offseason completely reset the cornerback market. In terms of annual salary, the four-highest paying contracts were all signed in the past few months. James Bradberry and Trae Waynes also signed deals worth top-ten money, according to Spotrac. Xavien Howard became the league’s highest-paid corner last season, when he signed a deal worth $15.05 million annually. In one year, Ramsey increased the market by nearly $6 million.
Ramsey’s deal is only the latest in a summer full of record-setting extensions. If anything, these massive contracts prove the NFL isn’t worried about the long-term economic impact of COVID-19. Salaries continue rising as players like Ramsey set new bars for future generations of football players.