On Thursday, at the NFL Combine, Los Angeles Rams general manager Les Snead let it be known that re-signing their defensive backs was the team’s "Priority A." And yesterday, according to CBS Sports’ NFL Insider Jason La Canfora, it was rumored the Rams may do something they haven’t done since 2009: use the franchise tag.
The Rams will be using their franchise tag, according to sources, on one of their corners. To this point, they have not indicated to Trumaine Johnson or Janoris Jenkins which one of them is getting the tag, and ideally they would sign one long-term and tag the other, but even with all of their cap space that might prove impossible.
This is obviously not the ideal situation for the team, who was hopeful to lock up both corners for the foreseeable future. If the Rams do intend to use the tag, they’ll have until Tuesday, March 1 to do so. The other cornerback, at the point, is free to test free agency where they’ll undoubtedly receive a ton of interest.
At this point, as La Confora indicates, there’s no telling which of the Rams’ young corners they’ll use the tag on, but the team would certainly turn it’s sites on locking that player up long-term, prior to the league’s July 15 deadline.
There has been on speculation or news regarding negotiations with Trumaine Johnson. The same can not be said for Janoris Jenkins, who apparently didn’t like the initial numbers the Rams offered.
Jenkins, drafted in the 2nd round of the 2012 NFL Draft, tied an NFL rookie record with three interceptions returned for touchdowns. His four touchdowns as a rookie [3 INT, 1 FR] lead the entire NFL for defensive touchdowns that season.
Trumaine Johnson, taken in the 3rd round in 2012, might be the budding star amongst the two; coming off a stellar 2015 campaign in which he tallied 71 tackles and a career high seven interceptions. According to Pro Football Focus, he held opposing QB’s to a 55.3 passer rating on the year; good for second best in the NFL.
For now, it’s a wait-and-see situation. But, as aforementioned, this situation should be getting a lot clearer prior to Tuesday, if indeed the Rams decide to utilize the franchise tag on one of these guys. And unless the Rams do strike a deal, the tagged player looks to make $13.9M in 2016.
Values of 2016 franchise/transition tags broken down by position: pic.twitter.com/9DANCMQlLb— Field Yates (@FieldYates) February 27, 2016