Ed "Pi Double i" Henderson
The Los Angeles Rams will place the non-exclusive franchise tag on safety LaMarcus Joyner, preventing him from hitting the open market as an unrestricted free agent. The worth of the one-year franchise tag will be about $11.2 million against the team's salary cap.
A second-round pick out of Florida State in the 2014 NFL Draft, Joyner has excelled as one of the league’s elite safeties in his fourth season. Joyner arguably had his best year the 2017 NFL season, with 49 tackles (10 assisted), one forced fumble, three interceptions (one interception return for a touchdown), and nine pass deflections. On another note, Joyner had the league’s highest tackling percentage of 98 percent last season, allowing just one broken tackle.
Lamarcus Joyner 2017 Highlights
Tagging Joyner, the Rams hope to have solidified their secondary after agreeing to a trade with Kansas City Chiefs for All-Pro Corner Marcus Peters for two draft picks. The Rams are also optimistic even with the possible pending free agent Trumaine Johnson returning, as head coach Sean McVay discussed at the 2018 NFL Combine.
Wade Phillips, the Rams Defensive Coordinator, would potentially be floating on the clouds if the Rams and Johnson can agree on a deal for him to remain a Ram. With Johnson and Peters on the outside, and second-year safety John Johnson III and Joyner at the safety position, arguably
give the Rams their best secondary ever.
The Rams will now risk wide receiver Sammy Watkins to negotiate with other teams. If another franchise signs Watkins to an offer sheet, the Rams have the right to match that team’s offer, which would guarantee that he returns. If another team extends him an offer sheet and the Rams decline to match it, the Rams would receive a compensatory draft pick from that team.
Had the Rams chose to tag Watkins, it would have cost the team some $16 million dollars toward the cap. It probably was a wise move to tag Joyner, as it will save the Rams about $5 million toward the cap. Watkins current market value is far from the $16 million the Rams will have shelled out to retain him this season. The two sides now have at least another week to negotiate in “good faith” to get him signed pending other teams offer.
The Rams are committed to getting a long-term contract signed with Joyner; the team will continue to negotiate with him for a new contract. Wade Phillips loved Joyner and wanted to find a way to have hit the field at all times, and rest to assure that deal will get done soon.