The Rams are leaning toward franchise tagging the fifth-year cornerback, sources informed of the team's thinking told NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport on Saturday. The move would be somewhat unexpected since the team still needs to sign cornerback Janoris Jenkins to a long-term contract.
A cornerback of Johnson's caliber would be poised for a big pay day if he hit the open market. The Rams have more than $50 million in salary-cap space after cutting Chris Long, James Laurinaitis and Jared Cook last week, so there's still a chance they could sign Jenkins (or Johnson) before the start of the free-agency signing period on March 9.
"We will meet with their reps, maybe more than one time at this combine," Snead said Thursday in Indianapolis. "I'm not saying anything gets done. We have a lot of things going on, but that's priority A."
It seems as if the Rams, at this point, are more worried about losing Johnson than they are about Jenkins potentially becoming a free agent. The Rams have until Tuesday to decide whether they want to designate Johnson with the franchise tag.
Last season, the hard-hitting Johnson finished with 58 tackles and seven interceptions. Jenkins, who was selected ahead of Johnson in the 2012 draft by the Rams, had 56 tackles and three interceptions. Both players were ranked near the top of Around The NFL's top 99 free agents.