One Los Angeles Ram leaves, another takes his place? It could work for the blue and yellow’s beleaguered secondary situation.
Recasting and returning to old roles in a staple of modern Hollywood. Could it help the Los Angeles Rams as they seek defensive clarity?
As the new NFL new year approaches on March 14, several teams are planning for salary cap-related departures. At least one former Ram is set to be included among the casualties, as Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reported that the Cleveland Browns are set to cut safety John Johnson III once the new year kicks off.
Garafolo himself notes that Johnson, 27, shouldn’t have trouble finding a new job once the Browns grant him his walking papers. With the Rams’ secondary in a state of relative upheaval, turning to an old friend could be the antidote that provides a special, if not somewhat tenuous, brand of relief.
Of course, little more needs to be said about Jalen Ramsey’s potential departure at corner while Johnson’s fellow safeties Taylor Rapp and Nick Scott are each set to hit free agency (as is listed safety and special teams defender Jake Gervase, but he’ll be easy to keep as an exclusive rights free agent). Jordan Fuller could also be an under-the-radar financial-based departure as the Rams try to get back under the cap (worth $2.7 million in savings).
Johnson’s release isn’t even official yet a reunion is already on some minds. The Rams opted against bringing back their third-round pick from 2017 in favor of names like Fuller and Rapp but the ongoing uncertainty in the pass defense could cause the team to seek out familiar sources as they try to navigate through an uncertain future currently bereft of immediate first-round draft picks.
One thing working in Johnson’s favor if he’s indeed seeking an LA reunion is the fact that he’s used to leadership roles in blue-and-yellow: having developed a good rapport with then-defensive coordinator Brandon Staley (now the head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers), Johnson had the all-important green dot on his helmet, making him the on-field defensive play caller and communicator.
With a leadership void created in the secondary by Ramsey’s apparently imminent departure, Johnson could have a chance to immediately contribute to his old (and new) unit. Time will tell if the Rams are interested in exploring such a homecoming.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags
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