Sunday Roundup: T. Johnson, Long, 49ers

We recently heard the the Rams are considering using the transition tag on cornerback Trumaine Johnson, who is eligible for unrestricted free agency in just over two weeks. Mike Florio of discusses why a team would consider the transition tag–which does not net a team any compensation when the tagged player signs elsewhere–when a slightly more expensive franchise tag would virtually assure the team of retaining the tagged player. As Florio writes, “Some may be doing it just to see what the player’s value is, knowing that if it’s too high they’ll let him walk. Others possibly don’t want the franchise tender to lay the foundation for a long-term deal.”

Florio, citing a league source, says that if Johnson does get the transition tag, he will not sign the transition tender. Instead, he will actively seek an offer sheet from another team, just as Alex Mack did in 2014 and Charles Clay did last season.

Now let’s take a look at some more notes from around the league:

  • Sheil Kapadia of takes a look at whether the Seahawks will pursue recently-released DE Chris Long, who has 8.5 sacks in 15 career games against Seattle as a member of the division-rival Rams. Long’s age and injury history suggest that he’s probably in line for a relatively modest deal, and given that the Seahawks are always on the lookout for pass rushing help, Kapadia suggests that Long could be a fit.
  • Matt Maiocco of says the 49ers‘ No. 1 priority this offseason is resolving the Colin Kaepernick dilemma, and he sets forth four ways in which the team could find that resolution. Right now, indications are that Kaepernick would like to resume his career elsewhere, and if San Francisco wants to move on as well, the 49ers can give Kaepernick permission to seek a trade and work out a restructured contract with another team before a trade is finalized. Alternatively, the two sides could work out a settlement in which the team releases him and is not on the hook for the $11.9MM he is owed in 2016.
  • The Jaguars do not plan on filling the vacancy that was left when they promoted Todd Wash from defensive line coach to defensive coordinator, according to Ryan O’Halloran of The Florida Times-Union. Instead, Wash will continue to coach the team’s defensive lineman, and head coach Gus Bradley downplayed any notion that his first-time coordinator would be stretched too thin.
  • D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution provides his ranking of the Falcons‘ top 12 unrestricted free agents. Given that O’Brien Schofield tops the list, it is clear that the Falcons’ pending free agents are comprised primarily of role players and reserves.
  • Jesse James, selected in the fifth round of last year’s draft, will get the first chance to replace the recently-retired Heath Miller as the Steelers‘ No. 1 tight end, as Mark Kaboly of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes. After being inactive for the first eight games of the regular season, James saw limited action in the next ten, including the playoffs. The Steelers will likely add a tight end in free agency to complement James and high-upside practice squad player Xavier Grimble, even though the free agent class of tight ends is fairly weak. Ben Watson, who met with Pittsburgh during training camp a few years ago, is perhaps the best fit for the Steelers.
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