We heard last night that the Rams were prepared to use their franchise tag on either one of their starting cornerbacks. Los Angeles appears to be leaning toward protecting Trumaine Johnson with the tag, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (on Twitter).
Johnson’s market may be accelerating over the past week and may be worth more than Janoris Jenkins. Last weekend, the fifth-year corner was being discussed as a transition tag candidate but now his stock may have climbed to a point the Rams need to exhaust their top preservation measure in order to retain the breakout performer.
Using the franchise tag on Johnson will cost the Rams $13.95MM as opposed to the transition tag’s $11.91MM charge. The latter tactic, though, wouldn’t cost a prospective team that signs Johnson to fork over two first-round picks to the Rams in exchange.
The Rams have until March 1 to decide whether or not to apply the franchise tag to the 6-foot-1 Johnson, a former third-round pick who emerged in his contract year.
Jenkins, the team’s second-round pick in 2012, would become a more coveted commodity with Johnson off the market. The 27-year-old started 58 games in his career, whereas Johnson’s started just 33. Thirteen of those starts came last season, when Johnson finished as Pro Football Focus’ No. 19-rated corner.
The 5-10 Jenkins rated as the No. 26 corner on the 2015 list. If this plan comes to fruition, and the Panthers tag Josh Norman as they’re expected to, Jenkins’ asking price could go up, with pool of top-tier available corners diminishing.
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