Tagged in: cornerback

Jalen Ramsey, Rams ‘on same page’ concerning contract extension

The Los Angeles Rams have been in contact with Jalen Ramsey’s representatives regarding a contract extension as the All-Pro cornerback enters the final season of his rookie deal.

Ramsey was coy Tuesday when asked where negotiations stood.

“The Rams know where I stand,” Ramsey said on a video conference with reporters. “I think that’s all that matters at the end of the day. It will be handled. They know where I stand. They’ve been in contact with my agent. They’re on the same page as my agent.”

When asked whether he would attend training camp if he had yet to sign an extension, Ramsey showed no hesitation.

“Yeah, for sure,” he stated.

Ramsey is estimated to command a record-breaking contract, and it’s anticipated that he will have the upper hand in negotiations, given what the Rams paid to acquire him before the trade deadline last campaign. The Rams sent their 2020 and 2021 first-round draft picks and a 2021 fourth-round selection to the Jacksonville Jaguars for Ramsey, who was the No. 5 overall pick in 2016.

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“I can’t really worry about that,” Ramsey said about the negotiations. “I just control what I got to worry about right now. I feel like everybody knew what type of situation it was gonna be once they traded for me, so I think it doesn’t really need to be talked about that much. It’ll get handled.”

Considered among the top lockdown corners in the NFL, Ramsey has 10 interceptions, including one for a touchdown, and 49 pass deflections in four seasons.

The Rams have been aggressive in signing players to record-breaking contracts over the past two years.

Running back Todd Gurley signed a four-year, $40 million extension in July 2018 that involved a record-breaking $45 million guaranteed. A month later, defensive tackle Aaron Donald signed a six-year, $135 million extension that amounted to the richest contract ever signed by a defensive player. Last September, quarterback Jared Goff signed a four-year, $134 million deal that includes a record-breaking $110 million guaranteed.

The Rams, however, cut Gurley this offseason and also traded receiver Brandin Cooks, who was in the midst of a five-year, $81 million contract.

Gurley’s and Cooks’ contracts will cost the Rams nearly $30 million in dead money cap charges in 2020.

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Las Vegas Raiders finalizing deal with CB Prince Amukamara

The Las Vegas Raiders are finalizing an agreement with veteran cornerback Prince Amukamara, a source told ESPN’s Dan Graziano.

Amukamara, who has started 99 matches in his career, should compete for a starting job with Las Vegas at best and provide much-needed experience and depth at cornerback at the very least.

The Raiders return Trayvon Mullen, who started the last 10 games of his rookie season last year, and used a first-round draft pick, No. 19 overall, on Ohio State cornerback Damon Arnette and a fourth-round pick on slot corner Amik Robertson.

Amukamara, who turns 31 on June 6, was released by the Chicago Bears on Feb. 21, as he was entering the final season of his three-year, $27 million extension signed in 2018. His cap hit was to be $8 million.

Amukamara spent three campaigns with the Bears, appearing in 44 of 48 games with 42 starts, and had three interceptions (all in 2018), 29 passes defended, three forced fumbles, a recovery and a defensive touchdown. In nine NFL seasons, he has 476 tackles and 10 interceptions.

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A first-round draft pick of the New York Giants in 2011, he was part of their Super Bowl team in his rookie year.

He also spent a season with the Jacksonville Jaguars before joining the Bears in 2017.

Raiders general manager Mike Mayock recognized before the draft that the Raiders needed to address the position, especially after an offseason agreement with free-agent cornerback Eli Apple fell through.

“We feel like we got a bunch of talented young kids that we don’t know enough about yet,” Mayock said. “Trayvon played really well the second half of the season. We believe that he’s going to be a starter for years to come. Isaiah Johnson was a fourth-round pick, a former wide receiver with all kinds of physical skill set. We love his traits. He got hurt early, we brought him back late. He’s a guy we can’t wait to see play. Keisean Nixon was a free agent out of South Carolina who made the team and played well on special teams. He’s a really competitive young man. And Dylan Mabin is another kid out of Fordham who got hurt and didn’t get a chance to show what he can do.

“So, we’ve got four or five young corners who we’re kind of intrigued by. Now, do we think that we need to get better there? Yeah.”

Enter Arnette, Robertston and, now, Amukamara.

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Cardinals re-sign cornerback Kevin Peterson to 1 year deal

The Cardinals have filled out their roster by bringing back many of their own free agents this offseason despite letting them reach the open market – and they did it again Tuesday, re-signing reserve cornerback Kevin Peterson to a one-year deal.

Peterson played in 14 matches, starting three, for the Cardinals in 2019. He had 16 tackles and two passes defensed, as well as six tackles on special teams. To make room on the roster, the Cardinals released cornerback Andre Chachere.

The Cardinals will have essentially their entire secondary returning. They didn’t spend a draft pick at either cornerback or safety. Veterans Patrick Peterson and Robert Alford are likely to be the starters outside, with Byron Murphy in the slot.

At safety, they have Pro Bowler Budda Baker and second-year man Jalen Thompson. Kevin Peterson and Chris Jones would be the top reserves at cornerback right now, with Deionte Thompson and Chris Banjo the top safety reserves.

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Patrick Peterson (suspension) missed the first six games last campaign, and Alford was out the whole year with a broken leg.

“Having Patrick back Week One and having Robert back healthy Week One that’s going to help us,” defensive coordinator Vance Joseph stated after the draft. “It was really tough on our young guys and our reserve corners to go out there against some good teams early. I thought Budda Baker had a hell of a year last year … He has room to grown. I thought Jalen Thompson the last month of the season played really good football. As the defense played better, I thought he played better.

“We had a young secondary, with (Byron) Murphy playing the most snaps of any defensive back in the league. It’ll pay dividends. I’m looking forward to those young guys taking huge steps.”

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Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph will enter free agency

The Houston Texans and Johnathan Joseph have reciprocally agreed that the veteran cornerback will enter free agency, the team informed Wednesday.

Joseph, 35, has spent the past nine campaigns with the Texans. He had 51 tackles, 13 pass breakups and one interception in 14 matches last season.

“Johnathan has been a consummate professional, team captain and one of the leaders of our defense for the past nine years. It is rare for a player to sustain such a high level of play for over a decade and that says so much about him and his dedication to the game,” the Texans said in a statement.

“He is an exceptional teammate, mentor, husband and father. His impact on and off the field makes him quite possibly the most celebrated free agent signing in franchise history. The entire Houston Texans organization thanks Johnathan for the contributions he made to our team and the Houston community. We wish him and his family all the best as he pursues free agency.”

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In 2019, Joseph played fewer than 60% of Houston’s snaps — the lowest percentage of his career — because starting Week 13, he did not play regularly. In 2018, he played more than 75% of the team’s snaps.

After the Texans lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in the divisional round of the playoffs, Joseph said he’s not thinking about retirement.

Joseph has been selected to two Pro Bowls in 14 NFL seasons and has 31 interceptions, 195 passes defensed, 7 forced fumbles and 754 tackles in his career.

Joseph has proven he can still start for a NFL team, but will likely have to wait until the second wave of free agency to get that chance. 

The Texans have just Andre Johnson and Bob McNair in their “Ring of Honor.” There’s an excellent chance Joseph will join them someday.

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Jets to release CB Trumaine Johnson

Trumaine Johnson’s time with the New York Jets is done, in a surprise to absolutely no one. 

The team has informed Johnson, their high-paid cornerback, that he will be released in the upcoming days, a source confirmed. 

The move likely won’t be made official until the CBA situation is clarified for next year. The Jets must cut him by the third day of the new league year (March 20), when his contract becomes fully guaranteed.

Johnson leaves the Jets near the very top of a long list of terrible free agency signings– a reminder of how difficult it can be to rebuild a crew by throwing big contracts at big problems as they go into general manager Joe Douglas’ first free agency with the team next week. 

The New York Daily News first reported Johnson had been informed of his release.

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When the Jets signed Johnson to a five-year, $72.5 million deal just two years ago, they thought they were getting one of the best available cornerbacks on the market and their lock-down answer on the outside. Instead, they got an underperforming player who was burned repeatedly, committed brutal penalties in key spots, couldn’t stay healthy and became a distraction off the field. 

He was benched during the final match of his first campaign for tardiness and early in his second season for poor play. 

In the end, Johnson played only 17 matches in two seasons for the Jets, while collecting $34 million. Yes, that’s $2 million per game.

And while he’s gone, he certainly will not be forgotten. By moving on, the Jets might save only $3 million and carry $12 million of dead money into next season if the CBA stays the same. 

Under a new CBA, they would be able to spread the dead money over two seasons saving them some more space.

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