THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — The Los Angeles Rams are no strangers to blockbuster trades.
On Tuesday, the Rams made a series of transactions that once again captured the attention of the NFL, as they sent cornerback Marcus Peters to the Baltimore Ravens and, later in the day, acquired cornerback Jalen Ramsey from the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Rams also sent an undisclosed 2021 draft pick to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for offensive lineman Austin Corbett.
The moves addressed long-term concerns on the defense, but they leave the team without any first-round draft capital until 2022, which could be cause for concern after a 3-3 start this season, and an offensive line that appears in need of established reinforcements.
In exchange for Peters, who was playing this season on an expiring rookie contract, the Rams received linebacker Kenny Young and a 2020 fifth-round pick. By trading Peters, the Rams receive compensation for a player who did not appear to fit into their long-term future and cleared salary-cap space to bring in Ramsey.
The price tag for Ramsey, an All-Pro and two-time Pro Bowl selection, was significant. In exchange for the former first-round pick, the Rams sent first-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021 and a fourth-round pick in 2021, to the Jaguars.
Ramsey, who intercepted nine passes and has returned one for a touchdown since he entered the league in 2016, remains on his rookie deal, which runs through the 2020 season and is scheduled to pay him $2.35 million this season and $13.7 million in 2021.
A source told ESPN that the Rams intend to sign Ramsey to a long-term extension and that Ramsey, who has been inactive the past three games with the Jaguars because of a back issue, is expected to pass his physical and could be available as soon as Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.
Though Ramsey’s presence could immediately bolster a defense that also includes two-time defending NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald, the compensation to acquire him means the Rams could go five years, unless they are able to trade up, without a first-round draft pick.
Quarterback Jared Goff in 2016 was the last player the Rams selected with a first-round pick. Their 2017 pick was sent to the Tennessee Titans as part of a trade that allowed them to move up the board to select Goff, and their 2018 pick was sent to the New England Patriots in exchange for receiver Brandin Cooks. Last April, the Rams traded out of the first round.
A lack of first-round selections could mean that the Rams will explore trade options to further bolster their offensive line, though enticing trade capital could be thin. Or, perhaps, the Rams intend to develop their own young players to protect Goff and create space in the run game.
Jack Del Rio likes the Rams’ acquisition of cornerback Jalen Ramsey, likening his on-field impact to Deion Sanders and Champ Bailey.
So far this season, the line has appeared to struggle, and questions remain about the development of young players selected in mid-to-late rounds, including center Brian Allen and left guard Joe Noteboom, who replaced veterans John Sullivan and Rodger Saffold.
After tearing the ACL and MCL in his right knee, Noteboom has been lost for the season. The former third-round pick from TCU also is the heir apparent to left tackle Andrew Whitworth, who is in his 14th season and playing on an expiring contract.
Backup guard Jamil Demby started in Week 3 in place of right guard Austin Blythe and took over at left guard in place of Noteboom last Sunday in a loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
Rams coach Sean McVay said the position would be evaluated going forward, but that the team would look to fill it internally, while bringing in outside veteran depth.
Rookie David Edwards, a sixth-round pick from Wisconsin, is a candidate take over as the left guard starter.
Rookie Bobby Evans, a third-round pick from Oklahoma, is on the roster but coaches have expressed that his development has proceeded at a slower pace. The Rams also signed center Coleman Shelton, an undrafted free agent in 2018 from Washington, earlier this season.
Corbett, listed as a center with the Browns, is expected to provide backup on the Rams’ interior. A second-round pick in 2018, he appeared in 14 games with the Browns.
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