THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – When he got the call from his agent that his lucrative five-year contract extension with the Rams was done, the first phone call cornerback Jalen Ramsey made was FaceTiming with his two daughters and their mother.
"I mean, I don't even cry or nothing like that, but I just teared up kind of thinking about my daughters and thinking about how I can just take care of them without any worries," Ramsey said during a video conference with reporters Friday morning. "How they'll never have to worry in their life."
Reflecting on his emotions that day, Ramsey also felt "relief" and "like all of my hard work had paid off." Knowing his family's future is now secure, he also believes he's found a long-term home in Los Angeles.
"This team has been everything that I've dreamed of, plus more," Ramsey said. "And I can't wait to honestly play here for hopefully the rest of my career."
Ramsey knew the Rams were the right long-term fit for him ever since he saw what they gave up to acquire him. He also said he could feel the love from the city of Los Angeles from the moment he stepped off his flight to L.A. last fall.
In that October trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles sent a 2020 first-round pick, a 2021 first-round pick and a 2021 fourth-round pick, and general manager Les Snead effectively viewed Ramsey as L.A.'s first-round pick this year.
Though Ramsey would be entering this season – his first full one with the Rams – in the final year of his rookie contract, Snead reiterated that he wanted Ramsey to be in the horns beyond 2020. Snead told reporters on a video conference this week that they had been in talks with Ramsey's agent since training camp opened. Earlier this summer, Rams head coach Sean McVay said the Rams acquired him last fall with the anticipation he would be part of the team's long-term plans.
"We continue to work with him to come up with, what I always like to say, a 'win-win solution' for both the player to be rewarded for what he's accomplished on the field, and the club to continue contending in the present and the future," Snead said on Monday, two days before Ramsey and the club would agree to terms on the five-year extension.
In nine games with Los Angeles last season, Ramsey finished with 33 total tackles, one interception and four pass breakups, a performance which earned him his third-consecutive Pro Bowl nod and his third-career appearance on the NFL's Top 100 Players list.
However, his value to the organization can't be measured by his contract, statistics or accolades alone. Just ask Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp.
For Kupp, what resonates with him is how well Ramsey embodies the attitude of the entire team.
"By no means is the offense and defense just separate entities here, you know," Kupp said during a video conference with reporters this week, when asked how practicing against Ramsey has made him a better receiver. "We want to talk with each other and sharpen each other as best we can. So I think you've seen that a little bit with how Jalen's helped Van out with some of the stuff that he's done, some of his releases, and that's really the attitude that we take here."
For Donald, that moment with Jefferson signifies the leadership role Ramsey has taken on.
"For him to pass that to the young guys, trying to bring them up so they can have some type of success, that's what you want," Donald said during a video conference with reporters this week. "Those are the type of guys you want on your team."
Quarterback Jared Goff, who signed a 4-year extension a little over a year ago to remain with the team through the 2024 season, is looking forward to continuing to competing against Ramsey in practice.
"He's been, in my opinion, the top corner in our league for a long time," Goff said during a video conference with reporters this week. "He deserves every bit of it and I'm excited about it. And selfishly, I'm excited to practice against him for a long time."
Even before his extension was officially signed, Ramsey was already planning for his future.
Off the field, the second episode of Hard Knocks: Los Angeles showed him house hunting in the greater L.A. area. Ramsey also pledged to donate $1 million to Purpose Preparatory Academy, a charter school in north Nashville, Tennessee, to help enhance its programming.
"We have a lot of great things going on," Ramsey said of Purpose Prep. "There's a lot of great people involved, not just myself. But it's an amazing school, they're doing amazing things and I'm glad I'm able to help them out even more."
On the field, defensive coordinator Brandon Staley spoke glowingly this spring about Ramsey's versatility and the way he plans to utilize him this season.
"The more I get to know him, like I've said to you guys, the more I appreciate him," Staley said during a video conference with reporters this week. "He's extremely intelligent, aware of everything that's going on, knows the game. And obviously he loves his little girls too."
Ramsey's daughters are too young to understand what's going on – "obviously the girls didn't know, but their mom knew how important it was for me" – but he created a unique reminder to display the importance of this moment when they're older: He named incentives in his contract after them.
This contract was important to him to provide for his family. Being able to continue do so with the Rams, beyond 2025, is his goal.
"I can't wait to tell my kids one day that I played with the best football player ever, Aaron Donald," Ramsey said. "Hopefully, we can do great things, win Super Bowls and do a lot of great things in L.A."