Heading into the final year of his deal will not be any reason for a holdout, Jalen Ramsey says. But what does this mean for the Rams? His interview on ESPN and subsequent tweet, by Steve Wyche, gave Ramsey a chance to make his feelings public on his contract. The interview gave more questions than answers. Though Ramsey will be reporting to training camp on time, if he and the team are “on the same page” with the contract, as Ramsey alludes to, why the need for public interviews and why now? The answers may be slightly easier to see than one would think.
Despite what appears to be a huge leverage situation already, Ramsey may be trying to increase it even more. Ramsey is in the final year of his contract but the Rams still have the franchise tag available. The issue with that for Ramsey is that at around $13 million, the tag will likely pay him less than a long-term deal would even on a per-year basis. If you combine that with his $13.7 million he is projected to make in 2020, the Rams have Ramsey on a two-year $27 million contract. Ramsey is easily looking at around $15 million per year on his next contract so he has all the incentive in the world to try to force the Rams hand into an early extension. The Rams would find this problematic except for the fact that they also want to be paying Ramsey. If he leaves after what the team gave up to get him, no one’s job in the front office is safe.
As the talks of the NFL returning to the field this summer, players have to look at it in two ways. One, the long time off may make them rusty both physically and mentally. The second is the bigger one, and that is injury. Having an abnormal amount of time off can be beneficial to some players but can also hurt some. Many players will push their bodies too quickly and the extra injuries this season are inevitable. Ramsey is protecting himself from a Richard Sherman situation. Ramsey’s deal is guaranteed for only one more year. Meaning if he suffers a catastrophic leg injury during the season, his value can theoretically drop significantly. Protecting oneself from going into the final guaranteed year of a contract is NFLPA 101, and Ramsey is no different than anyone else in that regard.
With the Rams organization facing significant backlash for the release of veterans and the contract disputes with former players, could this possibly be a distraction from the Rams? The recent revelations that the Rams are borrowing another $500 million from the NFL for the completion of SoFi stadium, the team possibly could be using this, to move attention away from their financial issues. If the team knows that the contract with Ramsey is just about done, this could be the case. Ramsey has been known in the past to “not Leak Information”. A prime example being his trade out of Jacksonville last year. Ramsey helped the Rams once by using the media to expedite his way out of Jacksonville. He may be helping them again, albeit much less overtly.
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