What of LA Rams S John Johnson III?

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LA Rams John Johnson III
Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports /

Johnson exits via NFL Free Agency

The Rams have gone this route before. When the Rams elected not to re-sign Dante Fowler Jr, many asked where the quarterback pressures would come from.  So far, he has played six games, started five, and has 11 tackles with one sack.  The Rams signed a much less expensive option in Leonard Floyd, who has played and started in six games.  So far, he has 17 tackles, two sacks, and has been playing great football for the Rams.

And in the exchange, the LA Rams will likely be awarded a third-round compensatory pick in the 2021 NFL Draft over the loss of Fowler.  So if Johnson exits via NFL Free Agency, will the Rams be as fortunate?  Likely no. Johnson will not command the $16 million / year deal that Fowler signed. He likely won’t sign for the $12 million/year deal that Cory Littleton signed in 2020.

Comp pick awards take away the sting

But if he signs for a contract worth in the $8-9 million / year range, that should result in an NFL Draft compensatory pick in the fifth round.   To be honest, if the Rams traded Johnson today, that’s the projected ceiling by some NFL experts.  Even if the Rams could get more now, they would struggle to restore Johnson’s command of the defense.

Next. LA Rams 2021 NFL Draft: Mock Draft 1.0. dark

So who steps up for the Rams in 2021? Well, the Rams have Taylor Rapp and Jordan Fuller, both of whom have starting experience for the team. The Rams have the option to resign Juju Hughes and they will most certainly do so. And there is always the option to sign a less expensive player from free agency, but the Rams will be unlikely to go that route unless they are dissatisfied with defensive backs in the 2021 NFL Draft.  Per our first NFL Mock Draft, the Rams should be very happy with the defensive prospects in the draft.