The Los Angeles Rams may use the transition tag to retain cornerback Trumaine Johnson.
Johnson, who had seven interceptions last season, is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the start of the league year. There’s been talk that Johnson could be franchised, but Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Rams might place the transition tag, not the franchise tag, on Johnson if the two sides don’t reach a long-term deal.
Like the franchise tag, the transition tag gives a team the right to match an offer one of its free agents signs. So if the Rams put the transition tag on Johnson and he signs with another team, they could choose to keep him by matching the offer. That’s what the Browns did two years ago with center Alex Mack, who signed an offer sheet with the Jaguars that the Browns matched.
For the Rams, the advantage to using the transition tag instead of the franchise tag is that it wouldn’t cost them as much if Johnson ends up signing the tender offer and playing this season on the tag. The franchise tag salary for cornerbacks this season is expected to be $13.7 million, while the transition tag salary for cornerbacks is expected to be $11.7 million.
Last year, one player got the transition tag: Dolphins tight end Charles Clay, who ended up signing an offer sheet with the Bills that the Dolphins declined to match. When a transition tagged player switches teams, the original team does not get draft pick compensation.