The Rams, struggling to break out of a three-game losing streak, did not wait until the trade deadline to make huge moves with short- and long-term implications.
On Tuesday, they traded cornerback Marcus Peters to the Baltimore Ravens and then went all-in by acquiring cornerback Jalen Ramsey in a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Rams gave up first-round picks in 2020 and 2021 and a fourth-round pick in 2021 for Ramsey, who is regarded as one of the NFL’s top cornerbacks.
The deal for Ramsey capped a frenetic day of dealing by the Rams, who are 3-3 heading into Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons and have shown numerous times since before last season that they are not afraid to make big deals.
The day began with the Rams trading an undisclosed 2021 draft pick for Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Austin Corbett. It continued when the Rams sent Peters to the Ravens for former UCLA linebacker Kenny Young and an undisclosed 2020 pick.
The Peters move had appeared to set the stage for a run at Ramsey in a trade deadline move similar to last year’s acquisition of edge rusher Dante Fowler from the Jaguars. But general manager Les Snead proved in 2018 deals for Peters and cornerback Aqib Talib that he would not be constrained by timetables.
Ramsey, 24, was selected by Jaguars with the fifth pick in the 2016 draft. He is earning about $7.4 million this season, and the Jaguars have exercised their fifth-year option, which would pay Ramsey $13.7 million in 2020.
But Ramsey made his feelings known about an extension when he arrived for training camp in an armored truck. During the season he has argued on the sideline with coach Doug Marrone and reportedly asked to be traded.
Peters was earning a little more than $9 million in the fifth and final year of the rookie contract he signed with the Kansas City Chiefs. Talib, who was placed on injured reserve Monday, is earning $8 million in the final year of his contract.
With Peters and Talib off the books after this season, the Rams were positioned to add and pay Ramsey, a two-time Pro Bowl selection who has intercepted nine passes.
The trade of Peters to the Ravens — who play the Rams at the Coliseum on Nov. 25 on “Monday Night Football” — seemingly broke up a high-profile but suddenly injury depleted secondary that also included Talib and safeties Eric Weddle and John Johnson.
But Ramsey adds his own star appeal.
The Rams acquired Peters in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs before the 2018 season and teamed him with Talib, who was acquired in a trade with the Denver Broncos.
Peters had intercepted 19 passes and made the Pro Bowl twice in his first three NFL seasons. In 2018, he intercepted three passes for the Rams and overcame midseason struggles to finish strong.
Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips repeatedly blamed himself for not putting Peters in the right position to make plays, a theme that continued this season when Peters appeared to get beat for long touchdowns against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Seattle Seahawks.
Peters intercepted two passes this season, including one he returned for a touchdown against the Buccaneers and another that ended a threat in last Sunday’s 20-7 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
Peters’ future with the Rams, however, had been in doubt since his arrival. The Rams exercised a fifth-year option that is paying him a little more than $9 million this season, but had not offered an extension.
“Gonna miss my BRO @marcuspeters . Dam.....,” Weddle tweeted.
Talib, 33, was put on injured reserve Monday because of broken ribs suffered in the Rams’ loss to the Seattle Seahawks. The 12th-year pro also spent part of last season on injured reserve because of an ankle injury. He is earning $8 million in the final season of his contract.
Troy Hill has started in place of Talib. The departure of Peters creates opportunity for rookie David Long, a third-round pick in the April draft, and Darious Williams.
“David Long is somebody that has made positive steps as has Darious Williams,” McVay said Monday after Talib was put on injured reserve.
Johnson suffered a right shoulder injury against the 49ers. He was scheduled to have an MRI exam and get a second opinion Tuesday for an injury that could require surgery. Marqui Christian would start in his place.
Young, a fourth-round draft pick in 2018, had 2½ sacks and four tackles for losses as a rookie. This season, he has three tackles for losses.
The 6-foot-4, 306-pound Corbett was acquired to help fill the void left after left guard Joe Noteboom suffered a season-ending knee injury against the 49ers. McVay said Monday that Jamil Demby and rookie David Edwards could start against the Falcons, but the Rams would search to add depth.
Corbett, a second-round draft pick in 2018, has played in three games this season.
“We’ve got the expectation that we can fill the starting spot from within our building and that’s the plan that we do have,” McVay said Monday when asked how the Rams would address the loss of Noteboom. “We’re continuing to look at, all right what are those things around the league? What does it look like? We’ll always explore those options.”