Did LA Rams S John Johnson III ‘get fired on his day off’?
By Bret Stuter
LA Rams fans concern over LA Rams DB John Johnson III erupted Friday as his IG account claimed he was fired. Amazingly, fans have not had a full week of the offseason, and already news updates are flying at them like lightning in a thunderstorm. There are the ongoing rumors and speculations over what the Rams will do at the quarterback position. Then there are the defections from the coaching staff to other teams. Then, of course, there are the hirings of new coaches to replace their vacancies.
But the Grandaddy of all Rams fans’ concerns right now is the future of the team’s projected free agents. And, of course, none are so dear to the fans as defensive back John Johnson III. And yet, no fate seems so certain as his. After all, the Rams organization invested elsewhere with their salary cap, writing extensions for DB Jalen Ramsey, and WR Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods.
John Johnson III was the logical next in line for a contract extension. But that train stopped running at Woods. And that is why fans were so susceptible to this:
The source was John Johnson III’s very own instagram account. When I first learned about it’s existence, I logged onto my seldom used account and can confirm it was there on the afternoon of Friday, January 21, 2021. The quote was:
"‘j.j.iii PINNED I got fired on my day off’"
Of course, During his live IG broadcast, he laughed and stated that teammate Terrell Burgess put that up, and he took it down. He then began to video chat with fans and solicited reasons why he should sign with their favorite football team. Within a matter of 20 minutes, he had unofficially giving the score of 4-0 to staying with the Rams before logging off the live video feed.
The irony, oh the irony!
The Rams didn’t ‘fire’ Johnson. His rookie contract expired, and he will enter the NFL Free Agency market. While Rams fans want him to return, and Johnson himself would very much like to do so, the chances of it happening are not great.
He has already been mentioned as a priority free agent target of the San Francisco 49ers, the Las Vegas Raiders, and the the Philadelphia Eagles. He also fits critical roster needs for the Washington Football team, the Minnesota Vikings, the Dallas Cowboys, the Miami Dolphins, the Atlanta Falcons, the Jacksonville Jaguars, the New England Patriots, the Baltimore Ravens, the New Orleans Saints, and the Houston Texans.
And of course, don’t forget his new links to the Los Angeles Chargers, who would love nothing better than to sign Johnson III in free agency to run new head coach Brandon Staley’s defense. After all, Johnson called the secondary coverages for the Rams.
That is a huge cast of NFL teams, any one of which can start the bidding in free agency to acquire Johnson’s services for their team. That is something the Rams cannot afford to participate in, and likely won’t.
The Rams faced similar circumstances in the offseason in 2020, when the team faced losing DL Michael Brockers, OLB Dante Fowler Jr., and ILB Cory Littleton. The Rams focused instead on re-signing offensive linemen, and allowed their defenders to sign lucrative contracts to play elsewhere. The team re-signed Brockers after a deal to play for the Baltimore Ravens fell through.
Now facing their third new defensive coordinator in three years, the Rams may adopt a similar strategy in the offseason. Simply stated, the Rams will allow coveted free agents to sign elsewhere to trigger the calculation for compensatory NFL Draft picks the following year, while signing players who were cut from other rosters to avoid any offsets.
On Friday, January 21, 2021, it was obvious that the fans of the LA Rams would love to have John Johnson III re-sign to play next year. But even more heartbreaking was the fact that the fanbase is powerless to stop it.