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Could Jalen Ramsey Actually Land with the Pittsburgh Steelers?



Jalen Ramsey

The Steelers always seem to get caught up in the crosshairs of trade rumors with elite players, and the recent wave of Jalen Ramsey rumors has been no different to them.

A hot button topic in the offseason, these fantasy trades often go by the wayside. It was progressively harsh last season, when Aaron Rodgers, Deshaun Watson, and others became key topics that the Steelers offseason revolved around. However, the Steelers do need a top cornerback, so what about Ramsey?

For one, there is no true indicator that Ramsey actually wants out of Los Angeles or that the Rams want to trade Ramsey. Really, all it is right now is that — rumblings. So, with that in mind, there is not even a confirmed desire for this to happen, but let’s play devil’s advocate for a quick second. Let’s say this is a thing, is there a feasibility for the Steelers to make this move?

Sure, Jalen Ramsey to the Steelers sounds like a nice idea. For a team that is scouting defensive talent so heavily and needs an alpha cornerback to really shoot up the value of the defense, Ramsey actually makes quite a bit of sense on the field. For Steelers scout and former cornerback Ike Taylor, he would be interested in seeing Ramsey in the Steelers secondary, but only at the right price. On the Bleav Steelers podcast, Taylor gave his thoughts on a Ramsey move.

“Yes, I would love to have a Jalen Ramsey come to Pittsburgh and play in that secondary,” Taylor said. “But they have three picks in the Top-49 picks in the draft, so you can look at it both ways. You can go up to Jalen, give him a number, and see if he bites on it, or you can try and get someone you is younger, cheaper, and someone you can groom into who you want him to be.”

I took that excerpt from Taylor because it highlights my thoughts on this pretty well. For one, the cap hit for a Ramsey deal is tremendous. That salary can hit up to as much as $17 million after a trade on the salary cap according to Over the Cap, and that is cap room that the Steelers really do not have enough to work within. Then, there is the draft compensation on top of that when the Steelers need to get younger and fill out depth at key positions.

The on-field fit does make sense, but in realistic terms, the rumors are likely just the hopeful musings of many who want a proven elite cornerback to come to Pittsburgh. The Steelers are already focusing heavily on the defense in their draft evaluation at the Senior Bowl, and are far likelier to look towards retaining their own than pouncing on the idea of bringing Ramsey in.

So, my final verdict is that this is probably not going to happen for all of those logistical reasons stated above. The cap hit is a tough pill to swallow for the Steelers, and so is the compensation required when they are sitting in a great position to land some quality players in the draft right now.

This doesn’t just go for Ramsey, but other pricy trade candidates, too. The Steelers do not have a bonanza of cap space to work with, and have to retain some key free agents in Cam Sutton, Terrell Edmunds, and others. Is there ways the Steelers can free up cap space? Yes, but not enough to give them flexibility to make moves like this.

If the Steelers are to make a splash on the market, expect it to be in the free agency period. There, they can structure contracts to their liking, and don’t have to give up draft compensation to land the player ether. The 2023 team will be built strongly through the draft, and that means trades for high-value players are simply unlikely.

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