Since Mike McDaniels has taken over the Dolphins, he's made some splashy moves that have bolstered the team significantly in hopes of breaking the “Curse of Marino”. His additions of Tyreek Hill, Raheem Mostert, Melvin Ingram and others have made the Dolphins a formidable opponent in the AFC East.
McDaniels and the Dolphins continued their lofty acquisitions in the 2023 offseason, namely by trading for cornerback Jalen Ramsey from the Los Angeles Rams. But just what are the Dolphins expecting from Ramsey? Sure, at one point he was one of the most productive corners in the league. What about now?
Was this the riskiest move for the Dolphins entering the 2023 season?
Jalen Ramsey joins Dolphins
It's hard to ignore the risks associated with this trade. While Jalen Ramsey has proven to be a difference-maker in the past, his recent performance and the concerns surrounding his consistency make this move a risky endeavor for the Dolphins. Especially entering the 2023 season where they hope to make a substantial jump.
One glaring issue is Ramsey's declining coverage numbers in 2022. Ramsey allowed a higher completion percentage and yielded more yards per attempt compared to the previous year, per NFL Next Gen Stats. His performance as the nearest defender resulted in him allowing seven touchdowns, placing him second only to A.J. Terrell of the Atlanta Falcons. These numbers raise reasonable doubts about his ability to maintain his elite level of play consistently.
The lack of interest from other teams is also a telling sign. The fact that no other team offered significantly more for Ramsey should make the Dolphins question their decision. Teams are generally cautious when it comes to investing in players exiting their prime years, especially at the cornerback position. The Dolphins guaranteed a substantial amount — $35.5 million — over Ramsey's age-29 and age-30 seasons, which further adds to the financial risk they have taken.
It's also worth noting Ramsey's history of controversial actions. It's hard to forget his infamous arrival at Jaguars camp back in 2019 in a Brinks truck. There's also the mysterious back injury while he was angling for a new deal and a trade from the Jaguars.
The Rams' decision to trade Ramsey might have indicated that they wanted to avoid any potential distractions or locker room issues while they look to rebuild. The Dolphins should be cautious not to fall victim to such distractions.
While it is true that Ramsey, even in a possibly smaller role with the Dolphins, is still a very good cornerback, it is essential to assess the overall impact he can have on the team. The Dolphins boast a strong pass rush, which should benefit Ramsey, but his ability to elevate the defense and propel them to success remains uncertain.
Although Ramsey's addition to the Dolphins' secondary, alongside Xavien Howard and Kader Kohou, gives them a formidable cornerback trio, it does not guarantee success. The Dolphins now face two of the best quarterbacks in the league twice a year in Josh Allen and Aaron Rodgers. That sort of passing attack those guys bring will require Ramsey to perform at his best for the Dolphins to have a shot at the AFC East title.
While Ramsey still has the potential to make a significant impact, the Dolphins must tread cautiously and consider the possibility that this gamble may not pay off as expected. The path to success is uncertain, and it remains to be seen whether Ramsey can truly elevate the Dolphins to the next level like they so desperately have been seeking for two decades.