John Johnson has been a stud for the Rams for the last four seasons after entering the NFL as a third-round pick out of Boston College. And because he’s now accrued four seasons as a pro, Johnson will hit free agency this month.
The Rams have a long history of not paying defensive backs with long-term deals, and it seems Johnson will be the next player added to that growing list – a list that includes Trumaine Johnson, Janoris Jenkins, Lamarcus Joyner and T.J. McDonald.
Johnson’s posts on social media have suggested he’s ready to test the market, even though it seems he’d like the Rams to re-sign him. His latest post on Instagram shows he’s thinking about free agency, once again indicating that a split with the Rams could be near.
Johnson could technically get the franchise tag, which the Rams used previously on Trumaine Johnson (twice) and Joyner. It would cost them around $11.2 million, which is almost sure to be less than Johnson will earn in free agency.
The fifth-highest paid safety in the NFL, Tyrann Mathieu, makes $14 million per year. There’s a drop-off to No. 6 on the list, Devin McCourty at $11.5 million per year, so it’s likely that Johnson will come in above McCourty’s salary.
It’s almost probable that he’ll join the top five with a salary of at least $14 million per year, which is deserving given the way he’s played in recent seasons. The Rams will have a hard time giving that type of money to Johnson with Leonard Floyd, Troy Hill, Austin Blythe and Darious Williams all having their contracts expire, too.
Free agency begins on March 17, but teams can talk to players’ agents on March 15 at the start of the legal tampering period. So the wait to find out Johnson’s fate won’t be much longer.