Trumaine Johnson plays the year-to-year tag game to perfection, too

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When it comes to players setting the precedent for future potential free agents, Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins receives plenty of praise for showing his peers the power of rejecting subpar long-term offers and taking the year-to-year approach under the franchise tag. But Cousins isn’t the only guy who deserves recognition for empowering other players to say “screw it” when offered a contract they don’t want.

Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson also has proven the value of going year-to-year under the tag.

Washington cornerback Josh Norman is regarded as the highest-paid cornerback, at $15 million per year. But between 2016 and 2017, Johnson will have made $30.672 million under successive tags ($13.952 million in 2016, $16.742 million in 2017). That’s an annual average of $15.336 million.

And Johnson, who definitely won’t be doing a long-term deal by Monday’s deadline (as one source with knowledge of the situation told PFT, “Why would he?”), will definitely become an unrestricted free agent next year, because the third application of the tag gives him either a 44-percent raise over the 2017 tag (i.e., $24.1 million) or the quarterback franchise tender, whichever is greater.

Thus, Johnson will have made $30.672 million over two years, and then he’ll hit the open market, free and clear, at the age of 28 — the same age Norman was when he signed his market-topping contract.