The Los Angeles Rams entered the offseason with quite a few free agents, so it was obvious that they likely weren’t going to retain them all. One of the biggest losses was cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who approached this offseason with a chip on his shoulder.
Before ripping apart general manager Les Snead and the Rams, consider that the Rams needed to make the best decision for the franchise. It was a great move for them to use the franchise tag on cornerback Trumaine Johnson who was the most consistent cornerback on the roster. Johnson was snubbed from the Pro Bowl last season after finishing with 58 tackles, 17 pass deflections, seven interceptions and one defensive touchdown. Jenkins on the other hand, produced 56 tackles, 15 pass deflections and three interceptions. Jenkins recorded decent stats as well, but Johnson had the better overall season.
It’s not as though the Rams didn’t want to retain Jenkins, because they did offer him a 5-year, $45 million contract. This was a more than fair offer to an “all-or-nothing” cornerback. In other words, Jenkins would either intercept the football with a possibility of a pick-six, or the receiver would have open access to the end zone. Now really, which did we see more of last season? We witnessed Jenkins’s damaged pride with an offer most fans considered fair, but in the end Jenkins felt the need to voice his displeasure on Twitter.
Yes, the New York Giants did sign Jenkins for significantly more money, a 5-year, $62.5 million contract to be exact. That’s more of a testament to the Giants’ desperation for secondary help than Jenkins’s actual worth. The Giants had one of the worst overall defenses in the NFL last season and led the league with most passing yards allowed with 4,783 yards.
Throw in the fact that they let one of their top cornerbacks Prince Amukamara sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and it’s clear why the Giants guaranteed him nearly $29 million of his enormous contract. The reality is Jenkins found himself in free agency at the right time. The salary cap expanded, the free agent pool was slim pickings and a team can never have too many talented cornerbacks.
It’s fair to say that the Rams made the right decision on not overpaying for Jenkins, because they still have a young promising prospect in E.J. Gaines and recently signed Coty Sensabaugh. Plus, there are still a few tempting free agents left, and the Rams could also look to add another during the 2016 NFL Draft. That said, it’s best that the Rams lock Johnson up with a long-term deal before the start of free agency next year.