Since the conclusion of the Los Angeles Rams 2016 NFL season, there has been some uncertainty regarding the future of cornerback Trumaine Johnson. However, with the deadline to apply franchise tags just days away, it seems the Rams are not yet ready to let their top corner explore free agency.
According to Dan Graziano of ESPN, Los Angeles is expected to place a franchise tag on Johnson for the second year in a row:
Source says Rams are expected to use the franchise tag on CB Trumaine Johnson for the second year in a row. Would cost $16.7424M.
— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) February 27, 2017
The price for Johnson saw a 20 percent raise after being tagged for second consecutive season. It may seem a bit steep for a player like Johnson, who saw a decrease in production while battling with injury. His tag would make him among the league’s highest-paid cornerbacks. However, given the team’s current position, they may not have much of a choice.
Los Angeles is spread so thin in the secondary, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips would surely appreciate having at least one proven corner on the roster. Not to mention last year when they let Janoris Jenkins walk, only to watch him have an outstanding season en route to his first career Pro Bowl selection with the New York Giants. On a team like the Rams, whose squad is carried by the defense more than any other team in the NFL, this makes Johnson a valuable commodity.
And with little signs of that changing anytime soon, the expected franchise tag on Johnson certainly makes sense.
UPDATE (March 1, 2017 at 12:00 PM PST): According to Nate Bain of Rams, the team has officially used the franchise tag on Johnson:
The Los Angeles Rams jumped their offseason by placing the franchise tag on CB Trumaine Johnson on Wednesday. By signing the franchise tender, Johnson will be under a one-year contract with Los Angeles for 2017. This is the second consecutive season the Rams have placed the tag on Johnson. The last cornerback to be tagged in back-to-back seasons was Charles Woodson of the Oakland Raiders in 2004 and 2005.