It was between wide receiver Sammy Watkins and safety Lamarcus Joyner for the franchise tag in Los Angeles. Everyone knew this.
On Tuesday, the Rams made it official. They have placed the franchise tag on Joyner, which means that Watkins will almost certainly hit free agency next week.
— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) March 6, 2018
Facing the possibility of losing Trumaine Johnson in free agency, the decision to franchise Joyner makes a ton of sense. A second-round pick out of Florida State back in 2014, Joyner starred in his first season as a full-time safety in 2017, recording 49 tackles, nine passes defended and three interceptions. He’ll now team up with the recently acquired Marcus Peters to form a ball-hawking duo in the Rams’ secondary moving forward.
This decision also means that Watkins is almost certainly set to hit free agency next week. After being acquired from Buffalo last preseason, Watkins recorded just 39 receptions for 593 yards and eight touchdowns. He’ll join Allen Robinson as the top free agent receiver on the market.