Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson on Monday signed a one-year franchise-tag tender worth nearly $17 million.
Johnson, 27, last week was tagged by the Rams for the second consecutive season. In 2016, he earned nearly $14 million.
After intercepting seven passes in 2015, Johnson missed two-plus games because of injuries and intercepted only one pass last season.
“I feel blessed, honored and really grateful to the organization for placing the tag on me for the second year,” Johnson, a third-round draft pick in 2012, said in a statement released by the Rams. The statement continued, “This is my third contract and I’m back with my brothers, my teammates again.
“I’m glad that I get to come back and play with these guys another season and I’m excited to be back.”
With Johnson signing the tender, and the salary cap set at $167 million, the Rams will enter free agency about $22 million under the cap. The 48-hour “legal tampering” period, when teams can negotiate with players’ agents, begins Tuesday. Free-agent players can begin signing contracts Thursday.
July 15 is the deadline for the Rams and Johnson to work out a long-term deal. Serious discussion is not expected to begin until new Coach Sean McVay and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips assess Johnson on the field during organized team activities.
“Because everyone is new, we need to work together, live together, see if we all fit,” General Manager Les Snead said last week at the NFL scouting combine. “Does Tru fit Wade? Does Wade fit Tru?
In 2015, when he intercepted seven passes, Johnson played opposite Janoris Jenkins. Last season, after Jenkins signed with the New York Giants, Johnson played opposite oft-injured E.J. Gaines and inexperienced Troy Hill and Michael Jordan.
Snead acknowledged Johnson’s drop from seven interceptions to one.
“You have to look through and try to figure out why,” Snead said. “Probably just a simple answer would be that he probably got challenged a little bit less this year than in the past. So, having less shots at it.
“But that’s a fact. He went from seven to one. Takeaways are important, so let’s try to get you closer to seven.”
Follow Gary Klein on Twitter @latimesklein