The New Orleans Saints had agreed to trade for Los Angeles Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson during the offeseason, but the deal fell apart, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Apparently, the Saints and Rams came to terms on a swap, which was believed to be a second-round draft pick. However, Johnson wanted to remain in Los Angeles and was unwilling to sign a long-term contract in New Orleans, effectively preventing the trade from happening, per Schefter.
Johnson’s refusal is strange, because he has no reason to anticipate a long-term deal from the Rams, either. In March, the Rams used the franchise tag to prevent Johnson from becoming an unrestrictred free agent for the second year in a row, and he is not expected to receive an extension before the 4 p.m. deadline on Monday.
Without an extension, Johnson will be forced to sign his one-year tender with the Rams worth $16.7 million under the franchise tag.
What it means for the Saints
It was the Saints’ second high-profile effort to land a proven veteran cornerback in 2017. New Orleans was tied to New England Patriots corner Malcolm Butler for much of the offseason, before the restricted free agent eventually relented and signed his one-year tender with the Patriots.
When neither deal went through, the Saints eventually chose Ohio State’s Marshon Lattimore No. 11 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft to bolster the cornerback position. New Orleans is still thin in the secondary, but it appears that was the best the club could do for 2017, despite plenty of effort.
What it means for the Rams
It’s difficult to tell what the motivation is for either the Rams or Johnson in this case. The sixth-year veteran is one of the top corners in the game when healthy, yet the organization has never appeared to be very serious about meeting his contract demands, or retaining him at all.
There’s always the possibility Johnson is trying to maximize his value on the free-agent market in 2018, as the Rams are unlikely to tag the 27-year-old a third time. If that is the case, he’s taking a huge risk, given the high likelihood of injuries or regression.
Whatever the case, Johnson can’t get a long-term deal from the Rams – and apparently didn’t want one from the Saints.