With the deadline to use a franchise tag looming at 4pm ET today, CBS Sports Insider Jason La Canfora is reporting that the Los Angeles Rams will either use the tag on S Lamarcus Joyner or not use it at all meaning they will not use the tag on WR Sammy Watkins in any case:
If Rams use franchise tag today it will be on safety Lamarcus Joyner. WR Sammy Watkins won't get tagged. Team would like to keep both— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 6, 2018
It makes for a very tough situation. The Rams aren’t desperate for offensive talent having been one of the most prolific offenses in the NFL in 2017. Several other teams are in much more dire straits offensively especially at the WR position, and those are the teams ultimately that set the market:
I sill believe they can bring back both, although that might depend on - I believe - Watkins' market outside their building. All it takes is one team to feel they HAVE to have him and change those dynamics as a result. https://t.co/WK0SZbyf4A— Vincent Bonsignore (@DailyNewsVinny) March 5, 2018
So when it comes to Watkins, if a WR-needy team wants to make a major offer, the Rams are likely going to have to match it or come strikingly close in order to keep Watkins. The same is of course true for Joyner, but per La Canfora’s reporting they could tag him for 2018. And yes, the Rams could agree to terms on a long-term deal with Joyner but given their history of underoffering DBs, there’s reason for skepticism on that front.