The Los Angeles Rams have begun their road to the 2016 season by locking up an essential part of their defense. Cornerback Trumaine Johnson has accepted the franchise tender to return to the Rams for another season.
The one-year deal will pay Johnson $13.952 million over the next season, but more importantly provides security for the Rams. With the tender signed, the Rams and head coach Jeff Fisher can begin exclusively negotiating with the 26-year-old.
Fisher announced the decision at a press conference, only for Johnson’s agent, Chafie Fields, to provide further clarity. Johnson has yet to sign, but only as a formality since he and his agent have yet to receive the paperwork.
Another advantage the signing does is allowing the Rams to methodically plan out the negotiating process. With there no longer a desire to have the issue resolved immediately, it is likely Johnson will not have a long-term deal in place by the time of training camp.
The new paycheck makes Johnson the fourth highest paid cornerback in the league, a testament to the hard work the fifth-year player has put in.
With cornerback Janoris Jenkins departing for the New York Giants, the depth chart now has Johnson slated as the top left cornerback. The Rams have until July 15 to negotiate a long-term deal.
The decision to bypass Jenkins allows Johnson to transition into the defense of the future for the Rams. Led by pro-bowler Aaron Donald, Fisher and the hard-hitting defense want to make a statement early during the 2016 season.
The California native collected 58 tackles and seven interceptions in 14 games played during the 2015 season.