The Los Angeles Rams made their choice between safety Lamarcus Joyner and wide receiver Sammy Watkins on Tuesday, March 6. The Rams will place the non-exclusive franchise tag on their Joyner, which will most likely keep him in the fold for another year. General manager Les Snead will seek to re-sign Watkins as well.
Los Angeles entered this offseason with several decisions to make with the Aaron Donald contract on the horizon. The Rams already traded linebacker Robert Quinn to clear cap space and will likely let cornerback Trumaine Johnson leave in free agency. Making a decision to franchise Joyner or Watkins was next on the agenda.
Joyner turned in a career year. He emerged as one of the NFL’s top safeties in 2017, recording three interceptions, nine passes defended and 49 tackles. Joyner’s versatility made him an important in defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’s scheme. The fourth-year pro excelled both at the line of scrimmage and in coverage for a Rams’ secondary that played at a high level for much of the season.
The attention now turns to Watkins. He will be an intriguing player for teams to look at. Watkins struggled throughout much of the 2017 season to find a groove with quarterback Jared Goff, but he also helped fellow receivers Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods find room underneath to produce.