Don’t look for the LA Rams to use Franchise or Transition tags

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Rams have a decision to make in the next 24 hours. One that each and every NFL team must make. It is the annual call to act upon retaining a player on the roster, whether or not that player wishes to remain. The reason you may not be up-to-snuff on the use of either a Franchise or Transition tag is simple, the LA Rams almost never use them.

In fact, if you were to go over the history of the Rams franchise, you would find that the team has used the Franchise Tag just nine times, and only twice since the LA Rams have paired up GM Les Snead with HC Sean McVay.

The fact of the matter is that the LA Rams do not use the Franchise or Transition tags because they are often too broke to do so. Generating a Franchise or Transition tag forces that team to emulate an escrow amount reserved from their salary cap to dedicate to that player. The amount of funds necessary to be placed on hold for one player is often far more money than the team has available.

No money, no option.

Franchise Tag history of Rams

The Rams have used the Franchise Tag option nine times in the team’s history. They were:

1998 – DB (CB) Ryan McNeil
2001 – DL Kevin Carter
2003 through 2005 – OT Orlando Pace
2009 – DB (S) O.J. Atogwe
2016 through 2017: DB (CB) Trumaine Johnson
2018: – DB (S) LaMarcus Joyner

The other problem is that the Franchise or Transition Tag options are the equivalents to the “In Case of Emergency, Break Glass” fire alarms placed in corridors or hallways. They are designed as a one-time event to prevent a nightmare for an NFL roster, not as a tactic to ensure retention of a player who could make more money elsewhere.

That is the other reason why LA Rams GM Les Snead has opted away from tagging players. In the long run, the Rams believe that they will have more long-term success by sticking with players who want to play for the team rather than those who are obligated to play for the team, and so far that strategy seems to be working.

Finally, the LA Rams entrust their data-analytics process implicitly. It is that ability to place a fairly realistic fair market value on players as they are about to test free agency. While it oftentimes means parting ways, the Rams have learned expensive lessons about not overpaying a player.

The deadline to use either the Franchise or Transition Tag is 1:00 pm PT on Tuesday, March 8, 2022. That is one day away. But don’t look for the Rams to make use of either tag in 2022. And it makes sense. If a player doesn’t want to return to the defending NFL Champions, does it make sense to force them to return?

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