Quarterback Kirk Cousins has received plenty of praise for blazing a trail when it comes to the demonstrating to all players the value of going year-to-year under the franchise tag. But he’s not alone.
Cornerback Trumaine Johnson, tagged twice by the Rams, has cashed in on a multi-year deal that, per a source with knowledge of the situation, has first-year cash flow of $26 million. Coupled with the $30.672 million that he made over two years under the tag, that’s $56.672 million for Johnson in three years.
Johnson also has $34 million fully guaranteed at signing, along with a total guaranteed of $45 million. The five-year deal averages $14.5 million per year.
In theory, Johnson could have parlayed either of his two franchise tags into a long-term deal. By opting to take the tag in 2016 and 2017, Johnson set the stage for the five-year deal he will receive from the Jets.
Yes, he assumed the risk of injury and ineffectiveness over each of the last two years. Like Cousins, Johnson bet on himself for those two straight years, and he won big, with an average haul of $18.8 million over the last three years.
So it’s Cousins and Johnson who have proven to all teams the value of opting for a year-to-year approach under the tag. It will be interesting to see whether the tagged players choose to do the same. It’s something they definitely should consider, especially if their teams fail to make long-term offers that fairly reflect the leverage and value of the tag.