Following the team's first official practice of voluntary minicamp on Tuesday, Johnson finally addressed the entire situation voicing his excitement to be back for at least another season as a member of the Rams.
“I’m glad to be a Ram, point blank," Johnson said. "Coming out here, it’s a privilege to play football. I’m glad I’m on the team, and I’m with the Rams.”
Last month, Johnson signed a $16.7 million franchise tag for the 2017 season, which marked the second consecutive offseason that he decided to go that route. However, his future with the team has remained in question in the last several weeks with rumors that Los Angeles was looking to move him.
Despite all of that, the 27-year-old has kept his hopes up that a long-term deal can be worked out between both sides prior to the July 15 deadline.
“Of course, I love these guys. I’m here because I love my teammates," Johnson said. "I don’t want to leave and hopefully we get a long-term deal.”
The 27-year-old is coming off a 2016 season where he dealt with plenty of ups and down recording 57 total tackles, 11 pass deflection, and one interception in 14 games played. According to Pro Football Focus, he graded out as the 27th overall player at his position (81.0), 26th in pass coverage (81.6), and 98th against the run (39.2). He also allowed an 83.7 passer rating in coverage while giving up eight touchdowns, which was tied for the eighth-most in the NFL.
Johnson has been one of the Rams' stable pieces on defense through his first five years in the league since being selected with the 65th overall pick in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft. He figures to be a focal point in new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips' game plan that is reliant on strong play from the secondary.
In the brief time that head coach Sean McVay has gotten to know Johnson, he has become quickly impressed by his work ethic and how he has handles himself as an NFL player.
“Getting around these players for the first time, starting out in Phase One a couple weeks ago, he’s handled himself like a true pro," McVay said. "Great in the meetings – I’ve been fortunate to sit in a handful of defensive back meetings with (Cornerbacks) Coach (Aubrey) Pleasant and (Safeties) Coach Ejiro (
On a similar note, general manager Les Snead stated during Tuesday's pre-draft press conference that the team doesn't intend on trading the veteran cornerback at this point in time.
“Today he’s a Ram. First walk-thru, and then we’ll get this minicamp going and it’ll go through OTAs, and the plan I mentioned is still the same," Snead said. "It’s not necessarily going to affect the draft at all. We’ll try to rank the corners from top to bottom. You can always use more than one or two or three good corners. His situation won’t affect it, but right now he’s a Ram, and we plan to go from there.”
Regardless of what transpires behind the scenes with his contract situation with the Rams, Johnson is zoned in what he can control as a player on the field.
“I tend to let my agent handle that, and my agent gets back to me," Johnson said. "This whole month and a half I’ve been controlling what I can control, and that’s working out, I’m not worried about that. I’ll know when it comes, and when it comes, I’ll handle it.”