As tempting as it was to use the franchise tag on Dante Fowler Jr. or Lamarcus Joyner for the 2019 season, the Los Angeles Rams made the right choice.
Based off the previous three years, no one would have been surprised to see the Los Angeles Rams make the decision to use the franchise tag on a player for the fourth season in a row.
Right away, the two players that immediately came to mind were Dante Fowler Jr. and Lamarcus Joyner, as both defenders proved to be valuable at times throughout the 2018 season, but also were expected to draw plenty of attention in the free agency market.
While Fowler came over to Los Angeles following a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars before the trade deadline, Joyner actually spent last year playing under the franchise tag since the Rams didn’t seem confident enough investing in the safety for the long run.
Allowing both defenders to hit free agency may be viewed as a risky move by many since it could leave Los Angeles with two key voids on the defensive side of the football if Fowler and Joyner each end up on different teams with higher offers.
But when taking into consideration the price if either of these two played under the franchise tag compared to their production, the Rams most likely would have been wasting their money.
Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean that Los Angeles wouldn’t love to bring Fowler or Joyner back for the 2019 season, but more so making sure if they do, it would be at the right price.
The good news for the Rams is the one advantage they may have with both players is the opportunity to continue playing for a serious contender since all signs at the moment point to Los Angeles being one of the early favorites to make another run at Super Bowl 54.
Around this time last year, Los Angeles made it clear right away they were a team in win-now mode after looking at all of the key moves made on both sides of the football, which both Fowler and Joyner happened to be a part of on defense.
Replacing both defenders would most likely be challenging if the Rams were to lose Fowler or Joyner to free agency, but at least when it comes to making sure they didn’t overspend, Los Angeles was wise enough to avoid using the franchise tag for 2019.
Now, the fun begins for the Rams in trying to negotiate contracts for both players once free agency does get underway next week, that is assuming Fowler and Joyner are interested in returning for another year with the NFC champions.