Should Rams feel extra pressure to use franchise tag on Watkins after Landry decision?

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 12: Sammy Watkins
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 12: Sammy Watkins /

With the Miami Dolphins using the franchise tag on Jarvis Landry, is there extra pressure on the Los Angeles Rams to do the same with Sammy Watkins?

From now until March 6, one of the key stories surrounding the Los Angeles Rams will be whether the team decides to place the franchise tag on Sammy Watkins for the 2018 season instead of allowing the wideout test the open market in free agency. The Rams made the easy decision to take a risk on the former Clemson standout last August when they acquired Watkins from the Buffalo Bills in exchange for E.J. Gaines along with a future second-round pick, and even though his numbers from the 2017 season may not seem all that great on paper, he ended up being more valuable than football fans realize.

One of the main reasons why Los Angeles was thrilled to land Watkins when they did was to provide Jared Goff with a speedy deep threat to work with in the passing game, which was something the quarterback was missing from his rookie campaign in 2016. The 39 catches recorded by Watkins for 593 yards to go along with eight touchdowns may not appear to be worth the hefty cost of a franchise tag, but also keep in mind how much his presence alone helped pave the way for his teammates.

If it wasn’t for Watkins drawing extra attention from opposing defenders, the argument can be made that players like Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp wouldn’t have been as productive in the passing game since they were able to benefit from seeing additional passes thrown in their direction. Not to mention, Watkins deserves credit for accepting this role that resulted in his numbers being lower than expected since at the end of the day, he realized the most important factor of how this was helping Los Angeles win football games.

With that being said, the Rams have a difficult decision when it comes to what to do about Watkins since as much as they want him to return, using the franchise tag on the wideout could be costly. Not to mention, with the recent news surrounding the Miami Dolphins deciding to use the tag on Jarvis Landry means all of the potential teams hoping to see him hit the open market may have their eyes set on Watkins instead.

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Take all of this into consideration along with the fact that Los Angeles may also have to decide if it would benefit the team more to use the tag on safety LaMarcus Joyner instead, it’s easy to understand why there’s so much to consider with this situation surrounding Watkins. Now that Landry can only be available through a trade, the Rams have to decide if it would be worth the risk to allow Watkins to hit the open market instead of using the franchise tag since some teams may be willing to offer him more money, which Los Angeles fully understands at the moment.