Following the Los Angeles Rams' fourth official team practice of the offseason on Tuesday afternoon, many questions
In light of that, head coach Sean McVay stated that the team had expected Johnson to be a no-show.
“We feel good about the guys that were out here," McVay said. "We weren’t expecting him not to be here, but I’m sure that we’ll find that out. He’s done a great job communicating with us, but I’m not really sure where he was today.”
Much of the speculation has centered around his contract situation as he received the franchise tag for the second straight year earlier this offseason worth $16.7 million for the 2017 season. The Rams have until July 15 to work out a new long-term deal with Johnson, which is something that they fell short of doing last year.
The 27-year-old had expressed much optimism last month that both sides could come to terms on an extension before the upcoming deadline that is now just a few weeks away. Although that appears to be clearly the case, McVay fell short of indicating that the reasoning for Johnson's absence was directly connected to his desire for a new contract.
“I don’t think so. But, again, those are things that we’re keeping in-house. Not sure about that, to answer your question. Haven’t heard anything of that nature, right now.”
Johnson is coming off a 2016 campaign that saw him experience many ups and downs compiling 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.
Since being selected with the 65th overall pick in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft, Johnson has proven to be one of the Rams' stable pieces on defense while becoming their top cornerback. He figures to be an important part of defensive coordinator Wade Phillips' defensive scheme that relies on strong play from the secondary.
Despite his sudden absence from practice, McVay doesn't seem to be too concerned about the situation and has quickly shifted his attention to the encouraging play from the team's other cornerbacks such as E.J. Gaines and Nickell Robey-Coleman through the early portion of the practice schedule this offseason.
“I wouldn’t say that. It is voluntary, and I think you feel good about the way the guys have been competing out here.
Ultimately, it's something that McVay will receive more clarity in the coming days.
We’re not sure where Trumaine was today, but it is voluntary," McVay said. "Guys that stepped up in his absence did an excellent job. I’m sure we’ll find out specifically because he’s done a great job this offseason communicating and being here every day. I’m sure we’ll find out a little bit more moving forward.”