The Rams slapped Johnson with the franchise tag for the second consecutive season, which will pay him $16.7 million in 2017.
During the NFL Scouting Combine, Los Angeles general manager Les Snead noted the team had to figure out if Johnson "fit" in new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips' system.
"So, I think what we're going to do with Trumaine, because everybody's new, is hey, we need to work together, live together, see if we're all a fit," Snead said at the time. "Does Tru fit Wade? Does Wade fit Tru? And then at that point because it is obvious from the tag number and what corners get paid, a heavy investment and you want to be right with that. Especially when you go long term. And that's because we got a lot of changing parts."
While Johnson's work with Phillips during the early portions of workouts could have belied some of the fit questions, the reason a trade never materialized is likely because the Rams couldn't find a partner to pay consummate value while also forking over so much money for one season -- or anteing up on a long-term extension.
With Johnson staying in L.A. for 2017, the question becomes a long-term one. If the 27-year-old cover man has a Pro Bowl season under Phillips, the Rams could be in a pickle next offseason. If he struggles to make the transition, they'll have paid a huge price for a mediocre year.
Two years ago, when the Rams chose to tag Johnson over Janoris Jenkins, the thought was that the team would have an easier time negotiating a long-term deal with Johnson than Jenkins. The optics of that thought process look shakier by the year.
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