And he’s definitely going to be asking for a lot.
Ramsey said after Tuesday’s mandatory minicamp practice that his agent told him the Jaguars will not give him a contract extension in 2019. Roughly an hour later, Ramsey joked on social media that he’s going to “ask for so much money, they have to put me on lay-away.”
“Imma ask for so much money, they have to put me on lay-away” 😂😂😭😭
— Jalen Ramsey (@jalenramsey) June 11, 2019
Ramsey, however, said he wasn’t angry or upset that he wouldn’t be getting an extension this season, the final year of his rookie contract. The Jaguars picked up his fifth-year option, which means he would make $13.703 million in 2020 but the contract would be guaranteed for injury only, and the team could use the franchise tag in 2021.
“As long as I’m a part of this organization, as long as I’m a part of Duval County, I’m going to give the city and the players all I’ve got, and I think y’all know that,” Ramsey said. “I’ve fought through injuries. I’ve fought through everything, haven’t missed a game. I think I’m in a similar situation as Yan [Yannick Ngakoue], as where I feel like I have outplayed my rookie contract and I feel I’ve earned a new contract.
“But at the end of the day, it’s not the end of the world. I’m tremendously blessed. I’m so blessed. I’m not down on it or anything like that at all, but that is the circumstance. That is what I’ve been told.”
Ramsey, the No. 5 overall pick in 2016, has made two Pro Bowls and was named a first-team All-Pro once in his first three seasons. He has nine interceptions and 44 pass breakups and hasn’t missed a start.
Finding money to sign both Ngakoue and Ramsey this year would take some work because the Jaguars have just $9.14 million in cap space, according to ESPN’s Roster Management System.
Ramsey touched on several other topics during a 12-minute news conference on the practice fields adjacent to TIAA Bank Field, including voicing support for Ngakoue, who is skipping the mandatory three-day minicamp because he’s upset that he hasn’t gotten a new contract.
Ngakoue was a third-round pick in 2016 and has amassed 29.5 sacks and 10 forced fumbles in three seasons. He’s already third on the franchise’s all-time sacks list.
“I think Yan has earned a contract. I think he deserves it,” Ramsey said. “That’s something that, you know, his team and the Jags will have to figure it out, and I hope they can figure it out because I definitely want him a part of this team, especially as long as I’m a part of this team. … We’ve built something special. It’s a few guys who really came in and changed the culture and made things pop, and he’s definitely one of them.
“Yan’s an important piece on this team, and he’s also a leader and I really hope something gets done. I think he’s earned it. With the new CBA and how things are set up, some guys, they do outplay their rookie contracts because they’re slotted. That’s a fact. That’s the truth of the matter. A couple guys are in that situation, and I hope it can be resolved soon.”
Ramsey also said he hopes the criticism of linebacker Telvin Smith‘s decision to take a year off from football for personal reasons will stop. Ramsey is close to Smith, calling him a big brother. They both starred on Florida State’s national title team in 2013.
“He has full support from me; he knows that,” Ramsey said. “That’s all I’ll say on that. I wish people would leave him alone a little bit. We all love football dearly, of course, but that is not everything. Yeah, I’ll just say that. It’s not everything. He has a life. He’s enjoying himself. He’s getting right, doing what he feels is right, in the right mind frame. I just want everybody — Jags fans, teammates, players, whoever — I want everybody to be supportive and I know I definitely am.”