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Trumaine Johnson accepts franchise tender from Rams

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With one franchise tag to wield, the Los Angeles Rams had a choice between corners Trumaine Johnson and Janoris Jenkins. The team chose Johnson.

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Johnson accepted his non-exclusive franchise tender from the team, but has not signed it, Johnson's agent Chafie Fields and a team spokesman told NFL Media's Steve Wyche on Friday. Rams coach Jeff Fisher told Wyche earlier Friday that Johnson had signed, but Fields said he and his client are still waiting on paperwork from the team. The tender, under official 2016 salary-cap numbers, is worth $13.952 million.

Before the franchise tag deadline, the Rams were eager to ensure Johnson didn't hit the open market, where he might have commanded a huge long-term extension. The 6-foot-2 corner finished with 58 tackles and seven interceptions in 2015. He was part of a high-flying, hard-hitting Rams secondary.

Johnson was ranked No. 22 on Around The NFL's top 99 free agents list.

The move will allow Jenkins -- who we had ranked No. 16 -- to reach free agency. The playmaking corner, who blanketed one side of the field, will be easily the top corner to hit the open market, with the Panthers also tagging Josh Norman. Jenkins, 27, recently fired his agent. It has been reported Jenkins wants to be paid top dollar and it's possible the Rams viewed Johnson as an easier candidate to lock down for the long haul.

Johnson just turned 26 in January and has displayed vast improvement in the past few seasons. It's clear the team sees him as a building block for the future. The sides have until July 15 to hammer out a long-term contract.

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