TODAY, 3:34pm: Johnson has officially signed his franchise tender, reports ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter).
MARCH 4th, 9:57pm: Johnson has accepted his franchise tender, but he hasn’t signed it yet because he’s awaiting paperwork from the Rams, Fields and a team spokesman told Steve Wyche of NFL Media (link via Kevin Patra of NFL.com).
8:27pm: Not so fast. Johnson has not signed his franchise tender, according to his agent, Chafie Fields (Twitter link).
2:57pm: Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson has become the fourth player to receive the franchise tag and sign his tender within the next week, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). Peter Schrager of FOX Sports reported earlier today that Johnson would accept his franchise tender before the end of the work week.
By signing his tender, Johnson guarantees himself a base salary of $13.952MM for the 2016 season. He joins Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins, Ravens kicker Justin Tucker, and Bills offensive tackle Cordy Glenn as franchised players who have accepted the one-year offers from their respective clubs.
Johnson, 26, had just 20 career starts on his NFL résumé prior to 2015, but he established himself as a reliable starting cornerback last season, picking up 71 tackles, seven interceptions, and 17 passes defended. His performance earned him the Rams’ franchise tag over fellow cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who also reportedly received consideration.
The Rams and Johnson can still work out a multiyear contract anytime before July 15th, but if the two sides don’t strike a deal by that date, the cornerback will play the 2016 season on his one-year franchise contract, and would be eligible for unrestricted free agency again next winter.
Signing the franchise tender ensures that Johnson is no longer technically a free agent, and he can’t explore signing an offer sheet with another team — of course, any club interested in signing him would have had to give up two first-round picks to do so, meaning that was never a realistic outcome.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.