The deadline to extend franchise tagged players in the NFL is on Monday, and that leaves the Los Angeles Rams in a bit of a bind.
CB Trumaine Johnson has now been tagged in consecutive years, ultimately not being the ideal situation for either party. Ideally, the Rams would like to commit long-term and have his $ come down annualy. For his part, Tru would like the security of a long-term deal with some guarantees.
For whatever reason, it hasn’t worked out. The Rams knew they couldn’t let Tru walk, so he got the tag. Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap took a look at the situation and whether he believes the Rams and Tru can make something work prior to the Monday deadline:
To put the numbers in some kind or perspective his $30.6 million he will earn on the tag will be above Janoris Jenkins $29 million, well above AJ Bouye and Darius Slay at $27 and $25 million and close to the 2 year payout of Stefon Gilmore at $32 million and Desmond Trufant at $33 million.
This has proven to be quite a bad misplay by the Rams’ Front Office.
Instead of working out a long-term deal that would ultimately result in a franchise player being happy, having more cap space, and security, they got burned and have now paid Tru much more than they initially would have by simply signing him long-term.
Either way that this works out I think the Rams don’t look good. If you use the tag on a player like Johnson you are using it to make a long term deal. If they call your bluff in year one you probably just need to make whatever deal you can. Doing it two years in a row just seems crazy, but at this point his asking price from the Rams should be significantly higher than his market value. It just seems like a lose-lose proposition for the team and Johnson probably has little incentive to give in much which makes it unlikely a contract gets done.
I’ve been of the exact same mindset lately.
I think Tru is a really good CB, a guy who was snubbed from a Pro Bowl berth in 2015, and a guy who can very easily return to that type of dominance on the field, but without a long-term deal this kind of stuff has to linger on players minds. Luckily against Buffalo last season, Tru avoided a big injury (high ankle sprain), though it could have been a lot worse, and it’s reasons like that why players prefer long-term deals as opposed to quicker cash up-front.
The Rams muffed this situation, and will likely mean that Tru hits the market next year as a free agent... That’s when we’ll find out whether or not he will return to the Rams.