After finishing the season with the 28th ranked pass defense in the NFL according to Football Outsiders, improving their secondary is a top priority for the 49ers this offseason. The cornerback position specifically is an area of need, considering the team appears to have only one starting caliber player currently under contract, in last year’s third-round pick Ahkello Witherspoon.
Luckily for San Francisco, there are a number of high-profile corners about to hit the open market, and with over $69 million in cap room (sixth most in the NFL according to Spotrac) the 49ers are in an excellent position to make an upgrade via free agency. One of those corners is Trumaine Johnson, who after being franchise tagged the last two seasons is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on March 14. Though the Rams have expressed interest in re-signing him, the word is that Johnson is “headed to the Oakland Raiders or San Francisco 49ers,” according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.
Johnson, 28, a native of Stockton, CA, has been with the Rams since he was selected in the third-round of the 2012 Draft. Johnson finished tied for third in the NFL with seven interceptions in 2015, but was ranked as just the 68th best corner in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus while starting all 16 games in 2017.
Though Rams head coach Sean McVay said in an “ideal world” Johnson would be back in Los Angeles next season, the team’s recent trade for two time Pro Bowl corner Marcus Peters has put Johnson’s future with the Rams in doubt. Especially considering that Johnson’s current market value sits at around $13.6 million per year, with the player likely to seek a five-year deal, according to Spotrac. That’s a pretty penny for a player that was hardly dominant in 2017, and even with the amount of cap room the 49ers currently have, it could be seen as a questionable investment if Johnson doesn’t prove to be a Pro Bowl caliber player.
At 6-foot-2, 213 pounds, Johnson would seem to be the ideal size for a cornerback in defensive coordinator Robert Salah’s scheme.