The Los Angeles Rams were one of the busiest teams in the league over the offseason after further stabilizing their roster to build off their playoff appearance last season. A significant bulk of that had been to add pieces to the puzzle on the defensive side of the ball.
One of the first moves this offseason was to designate rising star safety Lamarcus Joyner under the franchise tag for the 2018 NFL season. Joyner officially inked that deal on Monday to which he stated that he is in a “good place” with that current deal, according to Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.
Rams S Lamarcus Joyner signed his franchise tag today, the first day of the offseason program. Joyner previously said he is "at a good place" with the tag. He'd like to get a long-term deal done, but he feels he can be even better with another season at safety.
— Alden Gonzalez (@Alden_Gonzalez) April 16, 2018
There is a clear desire to work out a long-term extension with the team at some point this offseason ahead of the July 16 deadline. The Rams have continued to voice confidence that they will be able to get their primary players under a new contract.
The front office has likely first shifted that attention toward getting star defensive tackle Aaron Donald signed to an extension that would likely make the highest-paid defensive player in the league. The team has voiced that they are close to getting that all worked out at some point in the near future.
This doesn’t devalue Joyner’s importance to the team by any means, but Donald has been eyeing a lucrative deal since offseason. Meanwhile, the Rams have a clear understanding that getting something worked out with 27-year-old is necessary to keep a core piece of their secondary in place.
Joyner has continued to develop into one of the top young defensive backs in the league. He has effectively made the transition from being a versatile part of the secondary that shifted between positions to a top-tier starting safety this past season.
In the 2017 campaign, Joyner had finished graded by Pro Football Focus as the third-highest player at his position behind only behind the Chicago Bears’ Adrian Amos (92.0) and the Minnesota Vikings’ Harrison Smith (97.0). In 12 games where he recorded 49 total tackles, forced a fumble, and hauled in the first three interceptions of his career.
With contract deadline a couple of months away, there is still more than enough time to hammer out a new deal.