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FAB 1. Will The Bucs Trade For Ramsey?

In the Madden football video game, you make the trade.

You acquire Jacksonville Pro Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey for the Jaguars.

But in real life, you don’t make that trade if you are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a myriad of reasons.

Bucs general manager Jason Licht won’t, and here’s why.

With nine tackles and one pass defensed, Ramsey has a Pro Football Focus overall grade of 48.9 through two games this year, and posted just a 72.8 grade last year while making his second Pro Bowl.

According to PFF, his best season was in 2017 when he had an elite grade of 90.6, which was his highest. That was also his first year as a Pro Bowler and his first and only season as an All-Pro.

Ramsey, the fifth overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, is in a contract year in Jacksonville. The Florida State product had 44 pass breakups, nine interceptions and one forced fumble in his first three seasons.

The 24-year old is a very good cornerback, and he wants out of Jacksonville, but the Jaguars won’t let him go for anything less than a first-round pick – and likely much more. After spending four high draft picks on cornerbacks in the past two seasons – five if you count Licht’s drafting of Vernon Hargreaves III in the first round in 2016 – the last thing Tampa Bay needs to do is trade away a first-rounder and more for Ramsey. The Bucs have other holes to fill in 2020 and that first-rounder would be better spent elsewhere.

Whichever team trades for Ramsey had better be prepared to back up the Brinks truck to his locker because he wants to be the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL, although he might not be the best cornerback in the league. New England’s Stephon Gilmore Detroit’s Darius Slay, Chicago’s Kyle Fuller and Miami’s Xavien Howard are also in the running.

Howard and Washington’s Josh Norman are making $15 million per year, followed by the New York Jets’ Trumaine Johnson, Minnesota’s Xavier Rhodes, Arizona’s Patrick Peterson and Fuller, who are all making at $14 million. Ramsey is looking for a deal that would make him the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL – by a wide margin.

He wants a deal that totally resets the market for cornerbacks.

Remember when I said a team needs a Brinks truck for all the cash he wants? Ramsey literally showed up to the first day of training camp in Jacksonville this year … in an armored bank truck.

Between the draft pick compensation and the salary demands, which would not allow the Bucs to re-sign some of their own players in 2020, perhaps outside linebackers Shaquil Barrett and Carl Nassib, or maybe Hargreaves. And acquiring Ramsey, who played together at Florida State with Tampa Bay quarterback, would squeeze the salary cap that re-signing Winston to a long-term contract extension or using the franchise tag on him would be problematic.

Bucs director of football administration Mike Greenberg, the team’s cap wizard, is probably breaking out in a cold sweat just reading this SR’s Fab 5 and imagining all the cap maneuvering it would take to get Ramsey under contract – and keep Tampa Bay under the salary cap.

There’s no doubt that Ramsey is a big-time talent. But is he worth all that would be involved in order to acquire him?

Ramsey can be a bit of a headache. He’s very outspoken and some might dismiss that as him just “wanting to win” or being “ultra competitive.”

But in reality, Ramsey has clashed with the media before, which prompted the team to briefly suspend him in August of 2018, and most recently getting in a sideline confrontation with head coach Doug Marrone in last week’s 13-12 loss at Houston.

Jaguars CB Jalen Ramsey
Jaguars CB Jalen Ramsey – Photo by: Getty Images

How is Ramsey going to act when he gets paid close to $20 million per year? Will he be happy and satisfied or will he feel untouchable and be emboldened to act out even more?

By trading away wide receiver DeSean Jackson and releasing defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, the Bucs have rid themselves of any divas in the locker room. Jackson was much more of a problem and diva than McCoy ever was, but McCoy had a little diva in him for sure while he was in Tampa Bay in that he had a big ego and loved to be the center of attention.

I’ve never seen a Bucs locker room this ego-less before. Not that having a big ego is a bad thing.

The 2002 Super Bowl Buccaneers had plenty of big egos in the locker room between defensive tackle Warren Sapp, defensive end Simeon Rice, wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson and head coach Jon Gruden among others.

But for a young Tampa Bay team that still doesn’t know how to win over an entire season and hasn’t been to the playoffs in over a decade, the Bucs need less “me” and more “we.”

And that’s exactly the kind of roster that Licht and head coach Bruce Arians have put together this year.

The Jaguars have received “substantive inquiries” from the Chiefs, Ravens, Vikings, Raiders, Eagles and Seahawks, according to ESPN’s Josina Anderson. And yes, the Bucs inquired, but quickly hung up the phone when learning of Ramsey’s contract demands and Jacksonville’s trade demands.

If the NFL really were like Madden where ego and attitude don’t exist, maybe Licht and the Bucs give a little more consideration to trading for Ramsey.

Bucs CB Vernon Hargreaves III
Bucs CB Vernon Hargreaves III – Photo by: Getty Images

But the Bucs have several young cornerbacks on the team that are worth developing in Hargreaves, M.J. Stewart, Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting. None of them may become the caliber of player that Ramsey is, but they all just might be good enough to star in Todd Bowles’ defense and make enough plays to justify their high draft pick status.

And with possible contract extensions on the horizon for players like Winston, Hargreaves, Nassib, Barrett, wide receiver Chris Godwin and tight end O.J. Howard, the Bucs’ cap room will need to be allocated elsewhere than in a cornerback making just under $20 million per year.

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Scott Reynolds is in his 24th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his son's Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]

27 COMMENTS

  1. The article is incorrect, Jalen is playing his 4th season this year and his 5th year option was exercised and is roughly 13M next season.

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  2. NO WAY!!! this guy is cancer. Plus Licht will get rolled and give up too much

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  3. IF..our organization was truly smart, They would have traded or acquired a DE when JPP went down. We need to augment our pass rush and kick it up a notch. We don’t need Ramsey. Chemo has no effect on him.

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    • *cough taco charlton cough just passed on him cough cough *

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      • Didn’t want a 🌮 Taco and a Nacho on the same team. Lol.

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        • But we laugh while being losers and the joke of the NFL huh?

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  4. FAB1) not interested at all. Head case/in it for the $$$$/overrated/much better places to spend $20m of cap space.

    FAB2) Donovan Smith didn’t return to Tamp Bay because he’s some great team-player….we paid him….$14m/yr…more than anybody else (sensibly) was willing to pay for the perennially worst rated LT in the league…a guy who every single week gets “clowned” (as Trevor noted). Comparing his “desire” to be a Buc with Mike Evans or LaVonte is ridiculous!

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  5. Dotson better not bitch about being here, he’s lucky to be here, or on any NFL roster. Mike, and David have been paid, and treated very well during their time here, so I don’t see why’d they want out. Both have been part of the losing, so they shouldn’t complain. It’s great they’re low key guys, and good team mates, I’ll give you that. Saying we have to stop Barkley is two easy, every team game plans for him. This game to me comes down to Winston. If he comes out like he did against the 49ers, we’re in trouble no matter what Barkley does. He has to play like a fourth year franchise QB, and Jones has to play like a rookie getting his first start on the road. If it turns out the other way around, we’re in trouble, and the talk will be which QB we draft next year to replace Jameis. The pressure is on us, if Jones has a good game, and Jameis loses the game for us we’re back to square one.

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  6. Big Game! Go Bucs!

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  7. No thanks to Ramsey, I like our young corners and I would like to keep our top picks.

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  8. Will not/cannot mortgage this team’s future with entertaining the idea of signing such a cancer and unstable prima dona like J. Ramsey! We just cleared out a head case and his addition would hurt team more than help! I’m just saying… Go Bucs!

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  9. We should have won the first game but beat ourselves, we won last week but in both games our Offense was stagnant. I hope this week they really start to settle in and find their groove. I have confidence in this Defense because they have held pretty strong so far against the run and getting pressure on the QB but you have to anticipate there will be a couple scores so before we hit the road here it would be really nice to see the Offense get things rollin.

    Starting in the NFL is a long way from Duke and I really hope Vea and Suh and Barrett and Nassib finds ways to welcome him, even though Rookies and backups seem to have our number a lot of times. This Defense gives me more hope than ones of recent years past so we will see.

    Again, I just want to see us continue to improve and get more comfortable with the Schemes and really make use of the talent on both sides of the ball, then the wins will start comin.

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  10. And no way should they waste a 1st rounder (and more) on Ramsey. It would be great to have a young Pro Bowl CB but anyone driving a Brinks Truck to Camp is a Turd and hopefully teams have learned from the Brown situation that it’s not worth it.

    Plus that 1st round pick next year is either gonna be for a OT or god forbid a QB so we need that pick. Hargreaves is showin up, Davis has had too many penalties but Bunting will come around this year or next and Dean will be back from injury. With Edwards bound to get better and better and Whitehead back there our Secondary is young but there is a lot of speed mixed in and they are gonna continue to grow together and $20mil a year for one CB can be spent elsewhere like in the Trenches.

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  11. Just want to throw it out there Scott, Millenials never asked for participation trophies, most think they are dumb too. But it was our parents(Gen X and older), that thought it was a good idea. So if you want to blame anyone for “Millenial Entitlement” blame the generations before them that fostered it.

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    • Damn putting the name shameless in this post! I like it!

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  12. Bucs need to tranquilize Winston before games. Maybe TM meditation. He comes out very excited with happy feet and short strides his throws which cause them to be 5 feet of the receivers head, and 100 mph.

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    • IMO the surefire tranquilizer would be to run the first 15 scripted plays with west coast heavy concepts. If they were to move the pocket with designed rollouts to give Jameis easy quick hitters in the flat that gain YAC it would do wonders to get him in a rhythm. I just can’t figure out why this hasn’t occurred in almost 5 years here. It’s always drop back, sit in the pocket and push the ball past the sticks; rinse and repeat. Then we wonder why guys like OJ Howard don’t make an impact on the game, when guys like George Kittle are being moved around like chess pieces getting the ball delivered at or around the LOS and making multiple people miss for 8,10,12+ yard gains on a throw that went about 4 yards. Especially in the redzone. How many easy goal line touchdowns can you remember guys like Peyton or Brady throwing where it was a wide open floater to a guy in the flat? Now how many times have we seen play design like that with Winston at quarterback?

      Sorry for the rant. But yes I agree he’s erratic to begin games I just don’t feel like the gameplans ever do him justice to save him from himself right out of the gate.

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      • Rant away. I agree.

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  13. I can’t stand Ramsey. Not worth the baggage. Another Deshaun Jackson but with even bigger mouth.

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  14. No to Ramsey. Up until this year’s draft, the Ramsey rumors were definitely appealing. Kudos to Licht and coaching staff who drafted DBs and challenged VH3! We’re in no position to be losing draft capital for a DB when we have other needs on the roster for young 1st round talent.

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  15. The Bucs ticket to success this year will be that they will consistently get no love from the media. Thursday was the first taste of this. Big divisional win on the road in primetime – crickets. It will become their fuel to band together and set out to tell the world “F*** you!”. It won’t be this media love affair with the talking heads going “aww look at the Bucs doing well we knew they had it in them!” like many are hoping for. It needs to be a pissed off “you didn’t believe in us so don’t expect us kissing ass on NFLN” after every underdog win this year.

    Jalen Ramsey doesn’t fit this equation simply because the media slurps up anything related to him. Thinks he should be getting 20 million a year and wants to see him on the Cowboys or Chiefs. If he was the one making that game winning tackle against McCaffery it’d be world-news and people would be beside themselves talking about his greatness.

    I personally want no part in that. The Bucs can do it without this guy. Continue to stop the run at an elite level and these young cornerbacks will develop just fine. They are in maybe the best hands possible given their skillsets (Todd Bowles).

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  16. Let Ramsey walk on by.

    Big game on Sunday. Pressure is on Bowles to put a game plan together that welcomes Daniel Jones to the NFL in the tradition of the old Buccaneer defenses of Tony and Monte. And on Rhonde’s big day, nothing would be better!

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  17. Sweet irony what happened to AB today isn’t it? Lost endorsements and now his job. Nobody is bigger than the game…ask Pete Rose! I hope there is a solid game plan dialed up to gang tackle Saquan and pressure this young QB! Let them dogs loose and let’s eat this “W”! Go Bucs!

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  18. Fab 2 is one of the more pointless items I have seen on this site period.

    Who cares? Did anyone learn anything? Maybe just post an op-Ed about how you don’t like millennials, “participation trophies”, and how much you value a contract. Just don’t post it under the guise of something informative or like it has anything to do with the Bucs

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  19. You would play Eli against this Bucs team? He won 5 of the last 6 against us, sure. Yet you fall to consider way more important factors:

    1) This Bowles defense is completely different. We are creating pressure and our secondary looks competent.
    2) Eli has no ability to extend with his feet, and would get crushed. Jones may be a rookie, but he can move and has better tools.
    3) Anyone off the street could have beaten the Bucs the last 6 years (and did). That Eli record against us is a meaningless statistic.

    Bucs 30, Giants 13

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  20. This fab 1 is the reason we have sucked for so many years. Saving money for VH3? We are hoping and praying as a fan base that Hargreaves becomes half the corner that Jalen Ramsey is, then we would be happy to pay him? Instead of paying him and other average players, why can’t we accept the fact that licht just cannot draft corners well, he drafts a lot of them but not good ones (see MJ Stewart and Bunting). Our Achilles heal this season will be the fact that we don’t have anyone capable of shadowing a teams 1 WR, and we will get torn up when we go against teams with a premier WR like Julio Jones.

    When a walking future hall of famer because available in their primes, you break the rules. You trade a little more than you should. You let other average role players walk. Look at what the bears did with Khalil Mack. Is anyone saying today that they gave up too much?

    But my main point is this. Why do players who hate to lose become the villains? In our case, I feel like too many players like Gerald McCoy for many years didn’t care enough about losing. Our team needs more fiery competitors that hate losing more than they like winning. Only when we have players like that will we turn the culture around.

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  21. Who edited the copy of this piece? Embarrassing failure on the editor’s part with constant spelling, grammatical and word misuses. Mike Evans, don’t ever consider “living” us!

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