This offseason, the first crop of players drafted during the Les Snead-Jeff Fisher Regime becomes eligible for free agency for the first time. The six guys that will become eligible are:
“We have a lot of decisions to make,” Fisher said back in January. “We’ve got some key free agents that we have to get back. That’s gonna be our focus, especially in the secondary. We’ve drafted well there. They’ve produced.”
Last week at the scouting combine, GM Les Snead echoed these sentiments, describing his talks with the agents of the aforementioned players: “If I were to prioritize what’s going on in our building — and there’s a lot of things going on — that’s Priority A right now. Even at this Combine right now, we’ll meet with their reps maybe more than one time,” Snead said. “And I’m not saying anything gets done. But we’ve got a lot going on here, but that’s Priority A.”
In light of this, The Rams have have given cornerback Trumaine Johnson the non-exclusive franchise tag, the team announced yesterday. Johnson will thusly be able to negotiate with other teams in free agency, starting March 9 when the free agency period opens. If he strikes a deal with another club, however, that team would be required to compensate the Rams with 2 compensatory draft picks.
Taken off the draft board in the 3rd round of the 2012 draft, Johnson has started in 33 games over the last four years. Only 2 players in the league recorded more than Johnson’s seven pick-offs in 2015. Furthermore, Johnson leads his draft class with 15 career interceptions.
Normally, NFL players are more likely to explore options with other clubs the closer you get to the beginning of the free-agency period, so the ball is in GM Snead’s court during the crucial week leading up to March 9th. Sit back and see what other moves he’s able to make in order to try and keep this secondary intact for this fall.