The #Rams are franchise tagging S Lamarcus Joyner. A top safety is kept in the fold. LA will try to keep WR Sammy Watkins, as well.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 6, 2018
The tag will cost the Rams $11.2m to retain Joyner for the year. A non-exclusive franchise tag allows other teams to offer Joyner a contract though that would require sending two first round picks to the Rams way which is highly unlikely to happen. They took this one down to the wire deciding between WR Sammy Watkins and Joyner though they ultimately decided to tag the latter.
Joyner was drafted by the Rams in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Joyner spent the first three years of his career as the nickel cornerback moving to safety in 2017 under new Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips and having an elite season according to PFF ranking as the 52nd-best player in the entire NFL this past year.
This leaves the Rams negotiating for a long term deal with Watkins who they traded a second round pick for. Watkins had a smaller impact than expected on the stat sheet in LA though the Rams and Rams fans alike know how long it’s been since the Rams have had an offense as dangerous and explosive as the 2017 version. Continuity would be ideal, though sometimes it doesn’t work out in that manner.
The Rams currently have a bevy of cap space, as Spotrac estimates around $51 million available for the Rams to spend.
The Rams and Joyner can negotiate a long-term deal until July 16 at which time no long-term deal can be inked until after the final game of the regular season.