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 by Elvis
1 week ago
 Total posts:  14903  
 Joined:  Mar 28 2015
United States of America   Los Angeles

http://www.espn.com/blog/los-angeles-ra ... ne-johnson

Is it finally time for the Rams to walk away from Trumaine Johnson?

8:30 AM PT
Alden Gonzalez
ESPN Staff Writer

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Rams finally have a long-term, hard-line decision to make with Trumaine Johnson, either to pay him among the game's elite cornerbacks or let him walk away.

Speaking shortly after his team's season ended, Rams general manager Les Snead said he could "definitely" envision a scenario under which Johnson returns. Snead added that Johnson, coming off his second consecutive franchise tag, "fit" the scheme of defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, a stated concern entering the 2017 season. But that fit must be, in Snead's words, "ideal."

"Especially when it gets to guys that are obviously going to demand -- command, based on their ability and their performance -- top dollar," Snead said. "They definitely have to be ideal scheme fits."

Johnson is widely considered one of the top two or three cornerbacks potentially available on the free-agent market, but the numbers say he hasn't necessarily performed at an elite level.

Among 86 cornerbacks with at least 325 coverage snaps, Pro Football Focus had Johnson ranked 35th in opponents' completion percentage (57.3) and 36th in opponents' passer rating (79.8) when targeted, which accounts for every time a receiver was thrown a pass while Johnson was considered the primary man in coverage.

Johnson assumed the role as the Rams' primary cornerback starting in 2016, when Janoris Jenkins left to join the New York Giants, and gave up an 89.4 quarterback rating that year, ranked 34th. This past season, Johnson allowed 1.33 yards per coverage snap, which put him within the bottom 20 percent of qualified cornerbacks, according to Pro Football Focus. The analytics site gave Johnson an overall grade of 74.2, tied for 68th among 121 players at his position.

Sixteen cornerbacks who are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents graded higher than Johnson in 2017. They are: Patrick Robinson (ranked sixth), Tramon Williams (ninth), E.J. Gaines (13th), Rashaan Melvin (tied for 17th), Nickell Robey-Coleman (tied for 19th), TJ Carrie (tied for 22nd), Kyle Fuller (tied for 22nd), Byron Maxwell (25th), Brent Grimes (36th), Ross Cockrell (tied for 39th), Prince Amukamara (41st), Aaron Colvin (tied for 47th), Malcolm Butler (tied for 51st), Bashaud Breeland (tied for 54th), Johnathan Joseph (65th) and Terence Newman (66th).

That doesn't mean they all fit as alternatives, of course. Colvin and Robey-Coleman, Johnson's Rams teammate, primarily play the slot. Williams, Joseph and Grimes are approaching their mid-30s, with Newman turning 40 in September. Among those who remain, Butler, Robinson, Breeland and Gaines are shorter than 6-foot, which means they can't match the size and length of a 6-foot-2, 213-pound Johnson. Melvin -- listed at 6-foot-2, 196 pounds -- can, but has been plagued by injuries throughout his career.

That leaves five: Amukamara, Carrie, Cockrell, Fuller and Maxwell, all of whom have accumulated a lower career approximate value than Johnson.

Johnson had two interceptions in 2017 -- after recording one in 2016 -- but he also dropped a handful of easy ones. Only 10 players had more than Johnson's 12 pass breakups, according to ESPN Stats & Information. And Johnson handled himself adequately against the opposing team's primary receiver, an important factor for a Phillips defense that asks its cornerbacks to play a lot of man coverage.

Johnson spent a lot of time shadowing Pierre Garcon, Dez Bryant, Marqise Lee, Larry Fitzgerald, DeAndre Hopkins, Michael Thomas and Alshon Jeffery in 2017. Those seven combined to catch 30 of 52 targets for 472 yards and two touchdowns when Johnson was responsible for covering them, according to numbers compiled by ESPN analyst Mike Clay. They hauled in 57.7 percent of their targets, nearly eight percentage points below the NFL average.

"He does a good job," Phillips said of Johnson's ability to match up against the opponents' best receivers. "He's versatile to play both sides, which really helps you."

The Rams tried to trade Johnson last offseason, but they couldn't get a deal done. Johnson instead entered training camp upset that they never showed much interest in a long-term commitment.

"I believe the Rams are going in a different direction at the end of the season," Johnson said in late July. "It's out of my control."

But Johnson kept his focus, which is a lot easier to do with a $16.74 million salary. He was named a captain, and as the season went on and the winning became more frequent, Johnson, like so many in the Rams' locker room, progressively warmed up to the organization and its future, stating on several occasions he would be open to trying once again to negotiate an extension.

Salaries for the top cornerbacks average somewhere in the neighborhood of $13 million a year, and Johnson could very well command something in that range this offseason.

But the Rams might not be able to allocate so much to one player at that position. Kayvon Webster, their No. 2 cornerback, is coming off a ruptured Achilles tendon that could linger into training camp, and behind him there isn't much else. The Rams need a lot more depth at corner, and they appear to prioritize safety Lamarcus Joyner among their pending free agents.

If Johnson's salary demands get too high, it might finally be time to walk away.

 by BobCarl
1 week ago
 Total posts:  1542  
 Joined:  Mar 08 2017
Poland   LA Coliseum

Alden Gonzalez wrote:...Johnson handled himself adequately against the opposing team's primary receiver, an important factor for a Phillips defense that asks its cornerbacks to play a lot of man coverage.
Agreed. Maybe even slightly better than adequate.

However Mr. Gonzalez doesn't factor in how Phillips uses Donald and the pre-snap A-gap threat to intimidate QBs into having to significantly speed up having to get rid of the ball. This makes Johnson look a LOT better than he really is.

QBs walk up to the line and they see Ogletree moving close enough to the A-gap that he can smell Tree's deodorant ... the QB is thinking "oh shit" if the O-Line blocks Tree, then Donald is matched up one-on-one ... "If I don't get rid of the ball fast then I'm fucked". The WR doesn't have time for double moves ... this makes life a LOT easier on the CB.

I hope the Rams don't give $13 mill for him

 by Hacksaw
1 week ago
 Total posts:  11793  
 Joined:  Apr 15 2015
United States of America   AT THE BEACH

He's great and if his agent doesn't urge him to ask for the moon I'll be surprised. He said he wanted to remain a Ram. The bosses didn't respond iirc. Sensing that he's smoking Rams toast if he doesn't start paying it back next negotiation period.

 by Elmgrovegnome
1 week ago
 Total posts:  270  
 Joined:  Oct 02 2016
United States of America   LA Coliseum

BobCarl wrote:Agreed. Maybe even slightly better than adequate.

However Mr. Gonzalez doesn't factor in how Phillips uses Donald and the pre-snap A-gap threat to intimidate QBs into having to significantly speed up having to get rid of the ball. This makes Johnson look a LOT better than he really is.

QBs walk up to the line and they see Ogletree moving close enough to the A-gap that he can smell Tree's deodorant ... the QB is thinking "oh shit" if the O-Line blocks Tree, then Donald is matched up one-on-one ... "If I don't get rid of the ball fast then I'm fucked". The WR doesn't have time for double moves ... this makes life a LOT easier on the CB.

I hope the Rams don't give $13 mill for him



Every team in the league rushes the passer. The bad ones fail the good ones succeed. No cornerback will look good if the QB consistently has a lot of time to throw the ball. I could counter your points by saying Tru was consistently covering the opponents best receivers. That makes him look worse than he is.

I prefer that they sign Trumaine. I don't see any better free agent options. The closest would be Fuller. Even if they acquire Talib, I'd like Tru on the other side. Those two would be a better pair than Tru and Kayvon. Webster wasn't as good as I hoped last season and the injuries make me think he is more of a back up.

 by BobCarl
1 week ago
 Total posts:  1542  
 Joined:  Mar 08 2017
Poland   LA Coliseum

Elmgrovegnome wrote:I prefer that they sign Trumaine.

He makes a very good fit into Phillip's defense. He hasn't been an attention whore and I can't stand CBs that are. I prefer they sign him too, and I think they will.

... but I don't want him at $13 mill, though he will probably get it.

 by snackdaddy
1 week ago
 Total posts:  3086  
 Joined:  May 30 2015
United States of America   Merced California

This whole negotiation thing is skewed to one side. With Aaron Donald you've had a bargain and you want to pay him for what he has done as much as what he will do. With Tru they overpaid for two years but you won't get any of that back and you'll have to pay him for what he will do if you want to keep him. Someone else will overpay if you don't.

How about a 6 year 12 mil per year deal retroactive to two years ago and now they owe him 40 mil for the next 4 years? Too bad he wouldn't do that.

 by /zn/
1 week ago
 Total posts:  1871  
 Joined:  Jun 28 2015
United States of America   Maine

My guess is that Tru wants money in the upper tier, 13-15 M range. And he is not worth that.

Meanwhile one thing Snead/Fisher/Wms and Snead/Phillips have been able to do consistently is find DBs.

For example, they found Jenkins, Johnson, and McLeod all in 2012. 3 good starters in one year. I don't think anyone else in Rams history has ever done that.

And last year their 1st db picked became a good starter as a rookie.

So far I have listed 4 starters, and there's more. For example I haven't even mentioned Joyner. And not a single 1st round pick in the bunch.

If it were up to me, I would say, go find more DBs...rather than pay Tru.

 by Elvis
1 week ago
 Total posts:  14903  
 Joined:  Mar 28 2015
United States of America   Los Angeles

/zn/ wrote:My guess is that Tru wants money in the upper tier, 13-15 M range. And he is not worth that.

Meanwhile one thing Snead/Fisher/Wms and Snead/Phillips have been able to do consistently is find DBs.

For example, they found Jenkins, Johnson, and McLeod all in 2012. 3 good starters in one year. I don't think anyone else in Rams history has ever done that.

And last year their 1st db picked became a good starter as a rookie.

So far I have listed 4 starters, and there's more. For example I haven't even mentioned Joyner. And not a single 1st round pick in the bunch.

If it were up to me, I would say, go find more DBs...rather than pay Tru.


Agreed.

I like Tru a lot and would love to seen him stay but he's worth more on the open market than he is to the Rams so it's hard to see that happening...

 by Ramfan99
1 week ago
 Total posts:  4  
 Joined:  Jan 06 2018
United States of America   OC

I am not a fan of him, because his mental approach to the game is not elite, in my opinion. For examples:
1. In Eagle game, he was called for taunting, led to Eagle score TD instead of of 4 and long. So dump foul at critical time. I could give him a break if he hit the Eagle guy hard and got called for a foul, but silly taunting, talking and he already got warning from the ref. Not when you got paid big time as an elite. Obviously, Eagle got the last laugh :(
2. Before Falcon game, he bragged "I am one of the best covers" "Julio Jones is one of the best wide outs, blablabla... but I'm one of the best too". Why did this BEFORE the game!! Gave your opponent more fuel, more incentive to beat you . If he wanted, he could do it AFTER the game and we beat the Falcons. Falcons and Julio Jones got the last laugh :(
Same mistakes repeatedly and did not learn! If I was the RAMS GM, I would not put him in the team, much less a starter, and much less paying him elite money.

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35 posts It is currently Feb 25 2018