LOS ANGELES--The Los Angeles Rams led the NFL in scoring last season with an offense that might return every starter in 2018.
But when faced with choosing a player on the roster to franchise tag, the Rams again looked across the line of scrimmage.
On Tuesday, the Rams put the non-exclusive franchise tag on safety Lamarcus Joyner, rather than receiver Sammy Watkins, essentially assuring that Joyner will play for the Rams for at least one more season.
Joyner was one of four NFL players who received the non-exclusive tag by Tuesday's deadline. Dallas Cowboys defensive end Demarcus Lawrence, Detroit Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah and Miami Dolphins receiver Jarvis Landry were the others.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell received an exclusive tag, preventing him from signing with another team, and the Chicago Bears put a transition tag on cornerback Kyle Fuller.
The non-exclusive tag on Joyner comes with a salary tender of $11.2 million this season. The Rams and Joyner, who in 2017 received $1.6 million in the final year of his rookie contract, can continue to work until July 16 on reaching a long-term deal.
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Joyner also can field offers from other teams. But if Joyner signs with another team, the Rams would receive two No. 1 draft picks as compensation, so the prohibitive cost makes that scenario unlikely.
The salary cap for 2018 is $177.2 million.
The Rams have about $39 million in salary-cap space, according to overthecap.com. But that figure will grow March 14, when the NFL's new league year begins.
On that date, an agreement that enabled the Rams to acquire cornerback Marcus Peters from the Kansas City Chiefs, and another deal that sent linebacker Robert Quinn and his $12-million salary-cap number to the Dolphins, will become official trades.