Despite having a down year by his standards in 2016, Los Angeles Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson was still one of the most important pieces on the defense last year. His role with the team this year is suddenly in flux with multiple trade rumors swirling around him.
Johnson, a large and physical CB entering his sixth season with the Rams, worked his way up the team’s defensive depth chart in his five seasons with the club. During that time, Johnson developed into both a producer and a leader in such a way that the Rams chose to keep him and let Janoris Jenkins leave during the 2016 offseason. His ability to quickly telegraph passes coming from opposing quarterbacks has made the sixth year pro an indispensable starter. In 2015, Johnson recorded seven interceptions, which was third in the NFL only behind Reggie Nelson of the Cincinnati Bengals and Marcus Peters of the Kansas City Chiefs.
His successes two seasons ago placed high expectations on Johnson heading into 2016. Unfortunately, Johnson’s production dropped, partly due to the fact that his partner at cornerback Janoris Jenkins left for the New York Giants on a five-year deal. Opposing quarterbacks stopped throwing to Johnson last season, who managed only one interception in 2016.
Johnson’s role on the field up to this point has always remained clear. What is not clear is if he will return to play in Southern California for a second season.
Despite the Rams front office placing the franchise tag on Johnson for the second season in a row this week, rumors have begun to circulate that the sixth-year pro is on the trading block after failing to come up with a contract agreement for the sixth year pro. The feeling is that the Rams front office is scared of losing Johnson via free agency without getting anything in return.
Those rumors about Johnson’s exodus from L.A. have been enhanced by the Rams’ signing of free agent CB Kayvon Webster, who played under new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips last season with the Denver Broncos. Johnson’s role as one of the leaders on defense is clear, but his role on the team is suddenly in flux. What are the Rams’ expectations of Johnson? Will he even be in L.A. in 2017? Time will tell.
Sources: pro-football-reference.com, Rich Hammond, OC Register, Dallas Robinson, profootballrumors.com, Chris Bar, FoxSports.com
Martin Cruz is a staff writer for Rams Talk. You can find him on Twitter with the username @MCruz1988.