The Pittsburgh Steelers are weighing a potential trade for Los Angeles Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson, according to Jason La Canfora for CBS Sports.
Pittsburgh’s cornerback depth has been hit hard by injuries during training camp. Steelers corners Artie Burns, Senquez Golson and Cameron Sutton are both out, leaving Ross Cockrell, William Gay and little else behind them to hold the unit together.
A deal for Johnson would certainly solve that. The Rams slapped the franchise tag on the five-year veteran in March, but he has yet to sign his one-year tender worth $16.7 million or report to camp.
“The Rams have been open to other trade options as well, though this deal of Gaines makes it even less likely they move top corner Trumaine Johnson, who is making $17 million this season after being franchised a second straight year,” La Canfora wrote Friday. “Sources said the Steelers have been among the teams sniffing around on a possible Johnson trade.”
It’s unclear what kind of offer it would take to pry Johnson from Los Angeles.
What it means for the Steelers
This would certainly be an upgrade. Listed at 6-foot-2, 213 pounds, Johnson possesses game-changing size and athleticism, with a track record of success in the NFL. The 27-year-old ranked a solid 34th out of 79 qualifying cornerbacks with an 89.4 opponents’ passer rating in coverage in 2016, according to Pro Football Focus.
As for what it would take to land Johnson, now that is the time to strike. His refusal to report to Rams camp would appear to signify their relationship is nearing its conclusion. Regardless of cost, if the Steelers are serious about going all-in on a Super Bowl run this season, this is the type of move that could easily push the franchise over the top.
What it means for the Rams
Johnson is as good as good regardless. This is the second year in a row the Rams used the franchise tag, and to do so again would be prohibitively expensive, as the price rises exponentially.
With the deadline to sign Johnson to an expansion long since passed, the Rams would be wise to take a quality offer if one comes around. Apparently, it could be from Pittsburgh.