The Los Angeles Rams have placed a franchise tag on CB Trumaine Johnson for the second year in a row as was reportedly “expected”:
The #Rams have franchise tagged CB Trumaine Johnson, source said. Second year in a row, like Cousins.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 1, 2017
Whereas last year the Rams tagged Johnson while trying to work out a deal with their then top cornerback Janoris Jenkins, this year Johnson was alone at the position with an expiring contract.
The Rams were in a desperate position personnel-wise having lost out on Jenkins in free agency a year ago and without having brought in adequate replacements either through the draft or through free agency. More problematically, the Rams let Jenkins go to New York on a five-year, $62.5m deal with $28.8m guaranteed. That’s a $12.5m per year average for a player who just gave the Giants Pro Bowl-caliber play. Johnson, tagged last year at just under $14m and now tagged again this year on a 20% raise will make closer to $17m for a total of $30,694,400, more than $15m per year.
The logic of the move doesn’t make a ton of sense, but desperation often can squeeze logic out of the conversation.
The question now becomes whether or not the Rams can sign Johnson to a multi-year deal, something they’ve failed to do for more than a year. If not, they might well be facing down this situation in a year’s time.
(UPDATED at 12:45pm ET)
One thing to put in perspective as we look into free agency and beyond -- 1/4 of the team’s cap is allocated to just three players none of whom are named Jared Goff, Todd Gurley or Aaron Donald:
#Rams 2017 salaries— TurfShowTimes (@TurfShowTimes) March 1, 2017
CB Trumaine Johnson: $16.74m
WR Tavon Austin: $14.98m
S/LB Mark Barron: $11m
Combined: $42.72m, 25.6% of salary cap.