Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald held out to get a long-term deal with the team. Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson didn’t. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t want one.
“I wanted it big time,” Johnson said Saturday, via Vincent Bonsignore of the L.A. Daily News.
Johnson didn’t hold out because he’s getting nearly $17 million under the franchise tag, the second straight time the Rams applied it. Another factor for not staying away to get a long-term deal (apart from the fact that, for him, the window closed 13 days ago): A league source recently told PFT that the Rams didn’t offer Johnson a long-term deal this year.
That could be due to the team’s recognition that it would have been impossible to get him to take a deal, given that the third application of the tag would require a commitment well north of $20 million for 2018. Regardless, Johnson has come to a conclusion regarding his status with the team.
“I believe that Rams are going in a different direction at the end of the season,” Johnson said.
It’s possible the Rams are going in a different direction because they know they won’t be able to keep him from going in a different direction next March, when he becomes a free agent and someone else potentially offers him much more than the Rams could or would.
It nevertheless should be obvious that the Rams still want him around, even though Bonsignore’s article suggests a certain degree of ambivalence. Management surely wouldn’t invest that much of Stan Kroenke’s cash into a guy about whom the team is on the fence.
The reality remains that, with the year-to-year franchise-tag dance approaching mega-jackpot status for Johnson, he’s destined to be heading out the door — unless come next year the Rams are the team offering him more than anyone else on the open market.