The Rams have elected to place the non-exclusive franchise tag on safety Lamarcus Joyner, in all likelihood keeping him with the franchise for the 2018 season.
This is the third year in a row — and ninth time in team history — that the Rams have elected to use the franchise tag. Joyner was slated to become an unrestricted free agent on March 14 at the expiration of his rookie contract.
The non-exclusive franchise tag is the same designation the Rams placed on cornerback Trumaine Johnson for the last two years. It is a one-year tender offer for an amount no less than the average of the top five salaries at the players position over the past five years.
While said player can still negotiate with other teams, the original club has the right to match any offer or receive two first-round draft picks as compensation, should he sign with another club.
Selected by the Rams in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Joyner played his best professional season in 2017. After spending the first three years of his career mainly as a slot corner, Los Angeles elected to move Joyner to free safety. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said that as one of the Rams' best defensive players,
this change would allow Joyner to make the most impact.
Joyner proved Phillips correct, as he recorded a career-high three interceptions — one of which he returned for a touchdown — seven pass breakups, and a forced fumble to go along with 61 total tackles.
At the NFL Combine, head coach Sean McVay called bringing back Joyner for 2018 "a huge priority for us."
"I think some of the things he can do in Wade's system makes him a huge priority. He's a great person as well," McVay said. "He kind of represents a lot of the things that are right about your locker room and kind of what you want guys to embody from a football character standpoint, the way they attack every single day. And Lamarcus is somebody that's very important and we'd like to get him re-signed for sure."
Los Angeles may still negotiate a long-term deal with Joyner through July 16.