On March 1 last year, CBS Sports Jason La Canfora broke the news that the Los Angeles Rams were placing a franchise tag on CB Trumaine Johnson.
Today, JLC has his tag estimates for this offseason with a 75% chance that the Rams tag Johnson for the second year in a row:
This situation is a little tricky. Like Cousins, Johnson was tagged by his team a year ago. Thus he would be guaranteed a 20-percent raise over last season, and his personal tag in 2017 would be roughly $16 million -- considerably more than other corners.
But the Rams are in a bind. When they tagged Johnson a year ago, then let Janoris Jenkins walk -- and he went on to have a splendid season for big money with the playoff-bound Giants. The prospect of losing Johnson, and subsequently being out two top corners on a team that is absolutely predicated on having a top defense given the dire state of its offense, would be damning.
If Johnson gets away, there are no guarantees the Rams land one of a handful of other free agent corners who one might try to claim is a true No. 1 corner. And even then, to what degree will they have to overpay to get once of these corners they don’t already know inside and out?
There isn’t anything much going on between these sides, but after being willing to overpay to keep guys like Tavon Austin in the recent past, entering the offseason with a void at corner might not be the best way to go.
There’s no doubt the Rams are in a bind at cornerback after the departure of Janoris Jenkins in free agency last offseason. As La Canfora alludes to, losing Tru a year later would be approaching something close to a depth chart catastrophe.
Of course, neither side really likes the tag.
For players like Tru, it prevents them both from (a) getting fair market value for their services (which compelled Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio to call for an end to the tag) but also (b) getting that value applied in a long-term deal which provides much more financial security. Imagine if Tru had gotten seriously injured last season. He wouldn’t be near the attraction he is as a potential free agent this year.
For the teams, it prevents them from the same security. Had they been able to re-sign Tru to a deal last year, they wouldn’t have to face the same scenario they are again this year.
Nonetheless...here we are.
If you had to guess, what do you say the chances are that Tru is back on a tag in 2017?