Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes that the Rams using their franchise tag on CB Trumaine Johnson “makes little sense,” as he’ll either receive an offer sheet they won’t match or the contract will include a stipulation much like the contract signed by Browns C Alex Mack that allows him to opt out this year.
Last year, the Dolphins used their transition tag on TE Charles Clay, but that didn’t prevent him from leaving and signing on with a division rival.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Dispatch mentioned Friday night that he heard earlier in the offseason that the Rams could place their transition tag on Johnson if they’re unable to get long-term deal done in the coming weeks.
The transition tag would run the Rams close to $11.7 million for the 2016 season, but would also give them the right of first refusal.
A league source tells Florio that Johnson has no intention of signing the one-year tender if the Rams use it on him and will instead seek offers from interested teams.
Florio mentions that for just another million or two the Rams could ensure that Johnson is back next year.
Johnson, 26, is a former third-round pick of the Rams back in 2012. He’s played out his rookie contract and is now in position to be one of the best available cornerbacks in this year’s free agent class.
In 2015, Johnson appeared in 14 games and recorded 71 tackles, seven interceptions with one being returned for a touchdown, a fumble recovery and 17 pass defenses. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 19 cornerback out of 111 qualifying players.
We have him featured in our Top 100 – 2016 Free Agents list.