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Packers Reportedly After Trumaine Johnson

Trumaine Johnson will be the top free agent cornerback available when the real free agent market opens next week. The Green Bay Packers will reportedly be players for his services.

This comes from Bob McGinn.

Last week, a source said the Packers planned to make a strong run at 28-year-old Ram Trumaine Johnson, probably the best cornerback on the unrestricted free-agent market. The problem is that Johnson might warrant a contract averaging about $15 million per year, and unless the Packers either cut or exact pay reductions from wide receivers Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson it might be a stretch to assume they can afford Johnson.

Yes, that certainly is a problem. After trading cornerback Damarious Randall to Cleveland for quarterback DeShone Kizer, the Packers have around $20 million in salary cap space. That will be depleted around $4 million because of money owed to their draft class, however.

The Packers are also in the running for free agent defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson, who was released by the Jets this week. They are also said to be interested in cornerback Richard Sherman, who was released by Seattle on Friday.

So how could they possibly sign all of these guys? Or how could they afford to pay Johnson the $15 million annually he’s likely to command on the open market?

As we’ve been saying all along, the Packers need to make some moves with their existing contracts. Cobb and Nelson are candidates to be released. Ditching either of those contracts would free up around $10 million. Of course, they can extend or restructure those deals to free up cap space, as well. The same goes for Clay Matthews, who is making $11 million in the final year of his deal. Tackle Bryan Bulaga, although he has two years left on his deal, could also offer some savings.

Then there’s the Aaron Rodgers’ situation. Rodgers will be signing an extension. That contract could conceivably create extra cap space, but Rodgers is apparently refusing to sign until after free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins signs. So, thanks a lot, Aaron. Free agents aren’t going to wait around so Aaron Rodgers can make sure he’s the highest-paid player in the game.

The Packers can, of course, get creative with a contract for Johnson. That would mean Johnson takes a small base salary in year one of his deal, so the Packers can fit it under the cap. The team has loads of money coming off the books in 2019, so Johnson could get his and the Packers could get their man that way. This works because signing bonuses are prorated over the length of the contract for salary cap purposes, but they’re paid out in year one.

So we’ll see what salary cap genius Russ Ball has up his sleeve.

Looking at Johnson as a player, he’s an immediate upgrade over anyone that was on the Packers’ roster in 2017. He’s 28 and the Rams used the franchise tag on him the past two years. In six seasons, Johnson has 18 interceptions, 67 passes defended and three touchdowns.

In 2017, Pro Football Focus graded him at 74.2, but he was above 80 the two seasons prior.

Is he Charles Woodson? No, but Johnson is a legitimate No. 1 cornerback.

Not that we find this scenario at all likely, but could you imagine if the Packers were able to sign Wilkerson, Sherman and Johnson? Could you imagine if they were able to do so without releasing anyone?

Then we’d say that Ball certainly deserved that promotion.

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Mordecai Jones

Mordecai is a writer living in Los Angeles. He primarily writes screenplays, but also does crap like this because GREEN BAY PACKERS, baby!

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9 Comments

  1. Don March 10, 2018

    i’d love it, but don’t think they’ll spend the cash. here’s hoping prove me wrong Please!!

  2. Skinny March 10, 2018

    I would shit myself if we got all three. But I expect a BIG CB move with Randall out. No way in hell they go into the season with just that group and possibly a draft pick.

  3. R.Duke March 10, 2018

    This is the 10 th article weeping and whining about CAP space. 1). Randall is gone.
    2). Johnson is the targeted shutdown corner. Pay Him. 3) Release some of these guys getting paid All-Pro money for second rate performance. 4). Rodgers extension will be prorated out 6 years. Has Ted Thompson Left the Building???

  4. TyKo Steamboat March 10, 2018

    this guy is a young tatted black dude that was living in LA

    You think her actually wants to live in Green Bay? Ha!

  5. PF4L March 10, 2018

    The draft class will be more expensive than 4 million.

    “Not that we find this scenario at all likely, but could you imagine if the Packers were able to sign Wilkerson, Sherman and Johnson? Could you imagine if they were able to do so without releasing anyone?”

    No, i couldn’t imagine that, but only because i live in the real world.

    Am i the only one who looks at Johnson’s numbers and isn’t all that impressed?
    A stand out season in 2015 for sure, but otherwise, nothing that would warrant anything close to 15 million.

    They couldn’t agree to a long term deal, and the Rams couldn’t find a trade partner.
    so they tagged him.

    The last 2 years have basically been contract years for Johnson.

    So after his standout 2015 season, the Rams paid over 30 million to him the last two years getting 3 interceptions for their investment in return.

    So the fact the Rams are letting him walk, seems not only justified, but logical.

    1. WinterIsHere March 10, 2018

      I was about to call out Mordi on his cap analysis also, as it makes no sense. How do they go from 16m in cap space to 20m, when the trade with randall supposedly only freed up 700k net. Also, the draft cap hit will bearound 9m, so really they only have 7-8m in free agent space as things sit now.

      1. PF4L March 11, 2018

        Yea winter…from what i see, the Pack has about 14.8 mil +/- of cap space post Randall.

        As far as signing the rookie pool, according to OTC, the Packers will need about 9 million to sign their draft picks, the final salary cap ramifications are really not known until the final roster is set.

        I very well could be wrong, but that’s the way i’m understanding it. Maybe Howard or Rob can chime in.

        1. Monty McMahon March 11, 2018

          Top 51 is what you have to factor in during the offseason. Many of those rookies won’t come in in the top 51. That’s all that is counted toward the cap.

  6. Mike March 10, 2018

    Seeing the contract Sherman just got from sf, someone will throw big money at Johnson and I doubt it’ll be the packers.