Mixed signals from Rams on Trumaine Johnson

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The Rams opted to apply the franchise tag to cornerback Trumaine Johnson for a second time, despite the 20-percent raise over last year’s eight-figure salary. Since then, mixed signals have emerged as to whether the Rams will keep him under the one-year, $16.74 million tender (which he has signed), trade him, or sign him to a long-term deal.

As the first minicamp of the Sean McVay era began on Tuesday, the mixed signals continued.

“Today he’s a Ram,” G.M. Les Snead told reporters regarding Johnson. “First walk-through [practice on Tuesday], and then we’ll get this minicamp going and it’ll go through OTAs, and the plan I mentioned is still the same. It’s not necessarily going to affect the draft at all. We’ll try to rank the corners from top to bottom. You can always use more than one or two or three good corners. His situation won’t affect it, but right now he’s a Ram, and we plan to go from there.”

The “today he’s a Ram” line prompted an obvious follow-up — is there a chance he’s traded from the Rams tomorrow or one of the next days?

“No, right now, I think we’re more into OTAs and let’s see if we can get something done by the end of this thing,” Snead said. “That’s where we’re at right now.”

Johnson separately spoke to reporters about his situation.

“I’m glad to be a Ram, point blank,” Johnson said. “Coming out here, it’s a privilege to play football. I’m glad I’m on the team, and I’m with the Rams.”

Does he wants a long-term deal?

“Of course,” Johnson said. “We’ve got time right now. That’s not my main focus, I’m going to let my agent handle that. In the meantime, get to know the new guys, be back with the old guys and get all of these new defenses in with the coaches.”

Either way, Johnson is saying he’d like to stay.

“Of course, I love these guys,” Johnson said. “I’m here because I love my teammates. I don’t want to leave and hopefully we get a long-term deal.”

It still seems as if all options are on the table, especially since Johnson has plenty of leverage when it comes to long-term talks. With $16.74 million already guaranteed for 2017 and quarterback money looming if he’s tagged again in 2018, Johnson can (and should) ask for a huge deal in order to commit beyond this season. The Rams also have options; they can draft a replacement, and/or they can use Johnson as bait to replenish draft picks after sending their 2017 first-rounder (No. 5 overall) to Tennessee as part of the Jared Goff trade.

5 responses to “Mixed signals from Rams on Trumaine Johnson

  1. It’s not that complicated.

    They tried to trade him but found no takers. There just isn’t a market for above average but not elite corners carrying a 16 million salary.

    They won’t be resigning him. Rams made an organizational decision over a year ago that their money was going to the defensive line and not the secondary. As a result Rodney McLeod, Janoris Jenkins and TJ McDonald are all gone and Trumaine Johnson will be joining them after 2017.

  2. Johnson is gone after this season. Once again Snead making his usual dumb decisions. He let Janoris Jenkins walk last off season and put priority on keeping Johnson based on his 7 int’s. And what did that get them,a franchise tag and 1 int last year.Back when the Rams made the huge swap with Washington I thought it was shear genius but Snead has proven time and time again he is not fit for his GM role.

  3. The Rams should have let him walk this year and used that 16.7 million dollars, that’s right I said 16.7 million dollars, to sign one or two very good free agents. You can get a lot for that kind of money, most certainly more than a Trumaine Johnson.

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