It is no secret the Los Angeles Rams have some serious holes to fill on their roster this offseason if they want to actually compete in the 2017 NFL season. Many thought they were solidifying their empty secondary by hitting cornerback Trumaine Johnson with a pricey non-exclusive franchise tag for the second year in a row.
However, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Rams are reportedly shopping their top corner who has drawn interest from a number of teams:
The #Rams are in discussions with several teams about potentially trading franchised CB Trumaine Johnson, per teams involved. Big domino.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 7, 2017
The discussions may come as a bit of surprise considering their thinning secondary. However, with needs at wide receiver, offensive line, and no first-round pick, paying over $16 million for a corner that is not considered to be elite would not be the best way to go. Rather than let Johnson walk in free agency, the Rams will seemingly attempt to acquire some early-round draft picks in exchange.
Among the teams interested in the sixth-year corner are the Cleveland Browns, New York Jets, and the New Orleans Saints. The team that currently makes the most sense would be the Browns. Not only do they have more cap space than any other team in the league, they are flushed with 11 picks in the 2017 NFL Draft, including two first round picks and two second round picks. If Los Angeles can manage to get some early picks for Johnson, they can also save themselves a good chunk of change for other potential free agents.
Unfortunately, Johnson’s value does diminish compared to the slew of cornerbacks available this offseason. Not only is the draft loaded with talent at defensive back, but the likes of established corners like A.J. Bouye and Stephon Gilmore make Johnson’s contract look a bit steep.