That leaves the Rams with a thin depth chart at CB, after letting Jenkins walk in free agency last year. If Johnson hits the open market next offseason, the remaining secondary consists of players like E.J. Gaines, Kayvon Webster, Maurice Alexander, and Lamarcus Joyner. Those four players combine for five career interceptions and plenty of inexperience.
Paying Johnson would have been a risky endeavor. New Los Angeles defensive coordinator Wade Phillips relies on defenses that attack and put pressure on quarterbacks, and that means more pressure on cornerbacks, too.
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Under Phillips, Johnson will be asked to play more man coverage and lock down receivers closer to the line of scrimmage. He’s built for the job, but it’s a new role and the Rams would have been rolling the dice betting that he’ll handle it well.
But not paying Johnson is a risk too and will likely leave the Rams looking for a new group of defensive backs in the secondary.
Normally the kicking competition doesn’t get much ink, but when you trade up to draft a kicker in the second round like the Bucs did last year, you invite that kind of scrutiny. Roberto Aguayo entered the league with some hype as the most accurate kicker in college football history, but the second round was just too high and he didn’t come close living up to expectations.
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Last season, Aguayo made just 22 of 31 field goals, a 71 percent conversion rate that was lowest in the NFL among qualified kickers. Under most circumstances that might be written off as rookie jitters, or the team might even just cut him without a second thought. Instead, the Bucs signed veteran Nick Folk to compete with Aguayo in camp.
With the Bucs starring on Hard Knocks this season, don’t expect this to be one of the top stories they focus on.