Rams’ safety John Johnson III is in the last year of his contract and will be looking to get paid substantially more next year. While it’s fun to load up an NFL GM simulator and pretend that the Rams can trade Johnson to any other team to get back MORE value is virtually impossible.
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Johnson is a Rams defensive leader, he knows the Rams defense extensively, and he calls the coverage on the field. He’s far too rooted in the LA Rams defense to have equitable value in any other defense right now. For the Rams to do a deal, they have to project more value in trading Johnson. For another team to do a deal, they have to project more value in receiving Johnson.
That’s tough to pull off. Perhaps a team like the NY Jets, currently on a fire sale, would be willing to deal for Johnson if they had assurances that they could extend him comfortably. After all, they did trade away safety Jamal Adams because Adams wanted a huge payday. Without a trade partner, no deal goes through.
So what are the teams seeking to persuade a market value offer from them for Johnson? Well, simply stated, they want a player whose production in their defense is better than his cost to them. That’s pretty much where the Rams sit on this option. So if the Rams could deliver that player to them, wouldn’t they want to retain Johnson? So that takes us to the second option.