There are indications the Raiders may be willing to sign perhaps the top cornerback available in free agency.
Tony Pauline of Draftanalyst.com reported Wednesday that Trumaine Johnson of the Rams is on their wish list.
“I’m told … Johnson is the No. 1 target for the Oakland Raiders in free agency and that the team will make a pointed effort to sign the cornerback,” wrote Pauline. “Johnson is expected to have numerous suitors once free agency opens, and Oakland views Johnson as a great pairing with Gareon Conley.”
Conley, of course, was Oakland’s No. 1 pick last year out of Ohio State, but played very little because of an injury.
Johnson has been a terrific player for the Rams, but Los Angeles apparently will move on and let him depart after acquiring top corner Marcus Peters from the Chiefs. The Rams put the franchise tag on Johnson for two straight years to keep him, and Johnson earned $16.7 million in 2017. It’s expected the Raiders – or another team – may have to pay almost as much to sign him to a longer-term deal.
Johnson, 27, was a third-round pick of the Rams in the 2012 draft out of Montana. In six seasons he’s had 18 interceptions. Last season, he had two picks, returning one for a touchdown, and had 13 passes defensed while getting in on 65 tackles.
Johnson and Malcolm Butler of the Patriots are rated at the top of this year’s free-agent class of cornerbacks.
Sean Wagner-McGough of CBS Sports noted Johnson allowed just a 79.8 passer rating in 2017, which ranked No. 36 in the league. In 2015, he ranked No. 2, giving up a 55.0 passer rating on passes aimed in his direction.
Wrote Wagner-McGough: “He might not be a top-five cornerback, but he’s in the top tier. Someone is going to pay him like it.”