Los Angeles Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson has already been franchise tagged twice. Here are the five best fits for him in 2018 NFL free agency.
One of the most peculiar players in recent NFL free agencies has been Los Angeles Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson. Like Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins, Johnson has been franchise tagged twice in the last two years. Both were mid-round selections in the 2012 NFL Draft, but have been paid handsomely the last two seasons as their skill level has developed.
Johnson first came to the Rams as a third-round pick out of Montana in 2012. Though he has never been to a Pro Bowl, Johnson is seen as one of the 15 best cornerbacks in the NFL. While with the Rams, Johnson has shown that he can be the No. 1 cornerback on a good team, but may not be the superstar that he’s being paid like.
After completing his four-year rookie contract in 2015, Johnson was slapped with the franchise tag in 2016 worth $13,952,000. That year, he played in 14 games, recording 47 tackles, 11 pass breakups, 10 assists and one interception. Turns out, the Rams needed more time to evaluate Johnson, so they slapped him with the franchise tag for a second time in 2017. He earned $16,742,400 last season. Johnson played in 15 games, recording 57 tackles, 13 pass breakups, eight assists and two interceptions.
Though this will be his seventh season in the league, Johnson will only be 28 years old for the 2018 NFL season. He has been an excellent player for the Rams for the last half decade, but could take his talents elsewhere at a top-tier cornerback in this free agency cycle. Here are his five best landing spots for 2018.
One team that is in dire need in its secondary is the Miami Dolphins. Miami went an awful 6-10 last year after making the AFC playoffs in 2016. Yes, the Dolphins had their issues on offense, but the Miami back-seven might have been the worst in football. The linebackers are slow and the defensive backs routinely become burnt toast.
Though the Dolphins did draft a promising cornerback in the third round in Cordrea Tankersley out of Clemson last spring, the Dolphin’s defensive backfield largely resembles strong safety Reshad Jones and a bunch of road cones. For the Dolphins to get back to being competitive in the AFC, they must get better on the defensive side of the ball.
Miami would be a team that could absolutely covet Johnson’s services. While he’s not the best cornerback in football, Johnson is still better than anything the Dolphins have had in the back-end of their defense in some time. He might finally become a Pro Bowler playing alongside Jones in the Miami defense. Given that Miami is the East Coast party city with no state income tax, it could be appealing for a guy like Johnson looking for a change of scenery.
The only issues with Johnson going to the Dolphins is money, as in the Dolphins don’t have a lot of it to spend this offseason. Miami is cap-strapped, as the Dolphins only have $7,389,791 in total space. Unless Johnson wants to take a massive pay cut, Miami will have to unload a ton of salary to even think about signing him. It might serve the Dolphins to use their No. 11 overall pick on a defensive back instead if we’re being totally honest.