by Jordy McElroy
Kiss and make up time? Cue the typical airport scene in every romantic film.
All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey is attempting to board a flight out of town to a new city and opportunity, while the disheveled Jacksonville Jaguars race through the airport to spill their heart into a million pieces, begging him to stay.
Tears, regrets and future promises are exchanged before the two sides hug, kiss and the credits roll.
That scene should have happened as early as Thursday night in Jacksonville.
After requesting to be traded, Ramsey suited up for perhaps his last ride with the Jaguars against the rival Titans in a Thursday Night Football game. Not only did the Jaguars win their first game of the season, but they managed to do so while flashing hope for the future.
It’s the kind of hope Ramsey never got from Blake Bortles, and the kind he’s probably not going to get from injured quarterback Nick Foles.
There’s a new quarterback sensation on the rise that stepped right into the offense and lit a very good Titans defense up for 204 yards and two touchdowns, finishing with a 108.2 quarterback rating in his debut as an NFL starter.
Who would have ever thought the Uncle Rico look alike at the end of the bench would be the one to potentially dig the Jaguars out of an early grave?
That’s what Gardner Minshew, a rookie sixth-round draft pick, did in a divisional win over the Titans.
The Jaguars are now 1-2 with a very winnable slate of games on their schedule. Assuming Minshew continues to build on his performance and the defense plays at an elite level, it’s conceivable they could turn into legitimate dark horses to win the AFC South division.
The Titans look like a complete mess, and there are too many questions surrounding the Houston Texans. Meanwhile, the Indianapolis Colts are playing without Andrew Luck behind center.
It’s clearly a division ripe for the taking.
Imagine the Jaguars ditching the sad, depressed act and behaving like playoff contenders again. Perhaps that would be enough for the team to convince Ramsey to want to stay. At the very least, it would be bad business moving on from him in 2019, unless a suitor is willing to fork over the two first-round draft picks the team is reportedly seeking.
Ramsey isn’t set to be an unrestricted free agent until 2021, which gives the Jaguars at least another year to ensure they get the best return possible for their high-end 2015 investment.
The Jaguars’ job isn’t to be concerned with the win-now needs of the Kansas City Chiefs or any of the other teams hoping to poach away a generational defensive talent. Their job is to get the best talent at their disposal on the field and put them in the best possible position to succeed.
There is no scenario on the planet where the Jaguars are a better team without Ramsey on the field. He is the heart of their once vaunted defense.
If they can’t sell him on the idea of sticking it out long-term, then maybe they could talk him into finishing the season and seeing how things develop with Minshew behind center.
Of course, Foles is expected to return later on down the line, but he could also find himself out of a job if the rookie continues to play at a high level.
Ramsey deserves credit for handling the trade talk like a professional and still showing up to work when his teammates needed him.
It showed that beneath all of the bluster there is a mercenary akin in many ways to future Hall of Famer Darrelle Revis.
Appealing to that side is one way the Jaguars might be able to convince him to stay, along with hoping the ‘80s mustache-wielding Minshew continues to do magical things with his arm.
The latter could ultimately decide whether Ramsey boards the flight for greener pastures or sticks around for the sappy make up scene.
Roll the credits.