NFL1000: Los Angeles Rams Worst Offseason Move Was Not Getting A Long-Term Deal With This Star

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Updated: December 1, 2017

NFL1000: Written By DB Scout Ian Wharton

Building a sustained winner takes multiyear planning, sharp execution with the salary cap and a little luck.

The Rams hit on hiring head coach Sean McVay and drafting quarterback Jared Goff, among other moves, but they must be regretting their decision to not sign cornerback Trumaine Johnson to a long-term deal this past offseason.

Coming off consecutive franchise tags, the Rams have spent approximately $30 million in two years. Had they hammered out a long-term deal this past offseason, they could already be through at least one-third of the guaranteed money Johnson will likely get as a free agent.

Johnson, like the rest of the Rams roster, had a down season in 2016 as the secondary played more conservatively to protect the rest of the unit outside of the star corner. That led to a season with just one interception and 11 pass breakups, and Johnson was neutralized by the scheme as teams took the underneath routes against him. Under new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, Johnson has been more aggressive at the line of scrimmage.

The result hasn’t led to another seven-interception season like in 2015, but the quality of his play has been at a similar level. He’s set to be the best free-agent corner on the market at 28 years old, and the Rams still have to address the contract situations for Aaron Donald, Sammy Watkins, Lamarcus Joyner and Nickell Robey-Coleman.

Although they’re set to have about $50 million to work with, getting contracts done for three elite players is almost unprecedented, let alone fitting in a draft class and two other starters. Signing Johnson last offseason would have saved the Rams quite a bit of money.

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