Home Sports Jalen Ramsey trade doesn't follow trend of 49ers offseason – Niners Wire

Jalen Ramsey trade doesn't follow trend of 49ers offseason – Niners Wire

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Jaguars All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey wants out of Jacksonville according to report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The 49ers and their relatively unproven secondary are a logical landing spot for the All-Pro. He’s a versatile corner who can play in the slot, outside and in the back end at safety. Given that he’s arguably the best cornerback in the league, he would undoubtedly be an upgrade, even for a 49ers secondary that’s been among the league’s best through the first two weeks.

The problem is trading for Ramsey runs completely counter to everything the 49ers’ front office did over the offseason, and that’s why it doesn’t make sense for them to be involved in pontification about potential trade partners for Jacksonville.

NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco reported Wednesday that the 49ers aren’t in on trade talks with the Jaguars.

That’s the logical conclusion for a club that actively avoided making dramatic changes in the secondary over the offseason. General manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan made it clear they intended to build the defense from the front. Their philosophy was that an improved pass rush would elevate the play of their young secondary. So they poured big-time assets into the pass rush.

They traded a 2020 second-round pick to the Chiefs for defensive end Dee Ford, then gave Ford a five-year, $85 million deal with $33.3 million guaranteed. San Francisco followed that move by using the No. 2 overall pick on Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa.

Meanwhile, they only made minor tweaks in the defensive backfield. They re-signed oft-injured safety Jimmie Ward, along with versatile veteran Antone Exum Jr. Then they added former Chargers cornerback Jason Verrett, another oft-injured player. Through the course of the offseason, cornerback Tarvarius Moore moved to free safety and earned the starting job there. Other than that, the 49ers were content on letting players battle for starting jobs behind a high-powered pass rush.

Early results have been good. The 49ers have four interceptions through two weeks after having only two all last season. They’ve only allowed 27 points, and their seven sacks are tied for third most in the league.

By all accounts, their plan is working. Trading for Ramsey would be aborting that plan after they’d been executing it since the end of last season.

They didn’t want to use top picks on defensive backs, and they didn’t want to spend the money on a player like former Seahawks safety Earl Thomas.

Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated reported after Ramsey’s trade request that Jacksonville wanted two first-round picks for the two-time Pro Bowler. Shedding two first-round picks would be quite a move for a team that didn’t draft a defensive back until they took Virginia’s Tim Harris in the sixth round.

Then there’s Ramsey’s contract. He’s due to play next year on the fifth-year option of his rookie deal at around $13 million. There’s no guarantee he’d even play next season at that price. Miami’s Xavien Howard signed a five-year, $75.2 million deal this offseason with $39.2 million guaranteed. His $15 million average annual value is the highest mark in the league. Washington’s Josh Norman is tops in the NFL at $50 million guaranteed according to Spotrac.

It’s very likely Ramsey would aim to top Howard’s $15 million AAV, and Norman’s guaranteed money considering the way he arrived at training camp.

Any contract near that size is going to severely hamper the 49ers’ ability to negotiate upcoming long-term deals with defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, and tight end George Kittle.

San Francisco’s salary cap guru Paraag Marathe could probably find a workaround for that, but the fact remains they had an opportunity to spend big money on a top-end defensive back earlier in the offseason. They passed in favor of bringing back players from last year’s roster.

The 49ers’ front office’s plan was clear once they passed on Thomas. It crystalized when they skipped on a defensive back early in the draft. Ramsey could certainly help the 49ers, but the chances the front office bucks the trend they’d followed the entire offseason seem extremely slim.

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