The LA Rams have not exactly fought tooth and nail to retain their best safeties on their defense. But perhaps that is a a mindset that needs to change. After all, the Rams secondary, once the backbone of the team, has fallen on hard times of late. Whether that has resulted from selecting poorly in the NFL Draft, coaching and managing defensive backs who are on the roster, or simply the symptom of an NFL organization's front office that has undervalued the contribution from the position, I cannot say with any degree of certainty.
What I can say is that the LA Rams have sorely missed the production of veteran NFL safety John Johnson III since he left after the 2020 NFL season. Now, by random chance or a cunning twist of fate, the LA Rams have the opportunity to re-sign the guy who was truly the fire in the souls of the Rams defense.
You see, the Cleveland Browns are releasing him, and I for one believe that is not only good news for the Rams roster, but is an opportunity that this team cannot ignore. John Johnson III may or may not be a key contributor for the LA Rams secondary again, but that's a chance I believe that the Rams must take:
The Rams have not had a true swiss army knife type of safety since John Johnson III tested his fair market value in the 2021 NFL Free Agency market and signing on with the Cleveland Browns. At the time, the Browns were challenging in the AFC Playoffs, and needed to ramp up their pass defense to counter the pass-centric offense of the Kansas City Chiefs. The Browns signed both Johnson and Troy Hill from the LA Rams in free agency that year.
If the LA Rams believed that DB Troy Hill was worth a fifth-round draft pick a year ago, then they surely must value the production of John Johnson III as a veteran DB that this team can target in free agency, right? After all, we have come to the conclusion that the Rams are in the process of rebuilding the defense, and that no player is safe on the Rams roster. But just as that can be true of the 2023 NFL season for the Rams, so too can the statement that the Rams defense needs someone to hold everyone accountable and to the task at hand.