Los Angeles Rams star cornerback Jalen Ramsey may disagree with the idea that money cannot buy happiness.
Money is power in professional sports, and it’s allowed teams like the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Dodgers to spend big and buy championships. Ramsey, who signed a five-year extension worth $105 million in 2020, is using over $300,000 of his own money to pay for his new look.
Jalen Ramsey will pay $330,000 to switch to No. 5
Jalen Ramsey wore No. 20 for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Los Angeles Rams in his first five seasons. While wearing that number, the former fifth overall pick became one of the league’s premier cornerbacks in that number, and he developed a large following in both cities.
Those days, at least involving him in No. 20, are over. The two-time first-team All-Pro cornerback is switching to No. 5 after the NFL relaxed number rules. All skill players (every position outside of offensive and defensive linemen) are free to join quarterbacks and specialists in being able to wear single-digit numbers.
Because Ramsey will wear No. 5 in 2021, he had to buy out the NFL’s remaining stock of No. 20 jerseys. The bad news is, according to ProFootballTalk, that move will cost him $330,000 of his own money. Luckily for Ramsey, he reworked his contract in March and converted $16 million of his salary into a bonus for cap purposes.
As of publication, no Rams players had switched to his No. 20.
Ramsey originally wanted No. 2, which went to Robert Woods
If Ramsey got his original wish, he would’ve picked another single-digit number instead of No. 5.
The All-Pro cornerback originally wanted No. 2, which went to veteran receiver Robert Woods. It is believed that seniority, both in the NFL and on the Rams, allowed Woods to secure his preferred number.
Woods, who is entering his ninth NFL season, wore No. 2 when he played at Southern California in the early 2010s. Ramsey wore No. 8 when he played at Florida State in the mid-2010s, but kicker Matt Gay claimed that number.
The Rams should hope Ramsey is the same player even with a new number
If you’re looking for a dark horse Super Bowl pick, start paying attention to the Los Angeles Rams.
Ramsey returns for another season in the prime of his career, and All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald remains among the NFL’s best players regardless of position. Donald racked up 13.5 sacks in 2020 and won his third NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award. The Rams swapped quarterbacks in the offseason and sent Jared Goff, the former No. 1 overall pick, to Detroit for Matthew Stafford.
Whatever Ramsey does next season, and likely beyond, will come with him wearing No. 5. The four-time Pro Bowl selection turns 27 in October and is still playing at an extremely high level.
Barring an injury, Ramsey will likely take the field wearing No. 5 against an opponent at some point in the three-game preseason. For the Rams, that begins on Saturday, August 14, against the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Rams open the regular season on Sunday, September 12, against the Chicago Bears at home.