EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Every year, a number of players around the NFL inevitably enter the final year of their contract and put forth the best performance of their careers.
There is, of course, no better time for that to happen than the season before becoming an unrestricted free agent. On Thursday, ESPN NFL Insider Mike Sando put together a list of players who stepped up in their contract years.
Although the St. Louis Rams have quite a few unrestricted free agents, only one player made Sando's list: cornerback Trumaine Johnson. Sando also gave a mention to Johnson's fellow cornerback Janoris Jenkins, though he didn't make the "all-contract year" team.
Johnson's place on the list is well deserved after he posted seven interceptions, bringing his four-season total to 15. According to Pro Football Focus, Johnson also ranked near the top of the NFL in passer rating allowed.
It was a breakthrough year for Johnson, who was slowed by injuries and lost his starting job to E.J. Gaines in 2014. In fact, Johnson undoubtedly increased his value on the open market and has made his retention a priority for the Rams moving forward.
A roundup of Thursday's Rams stories appearing on ESPN.com. ... Rams running back Todd Gurley believes he'll be even better in his second season... The Ram-blings began with a look at Todd McShay's questions about the quarterbacks declaring early for the draft. ... Kicker Greg Zuerlein will have competition for his job next year, if he's still with the team. ... Orlando Pace, Kurt Warner and Kevin Greene were named finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Mel Kiper Jr. put two Rams on his all-rookie team.
As always, a great read from Elizabeth Merrill on Johnny Manziel's final audition in Cleveland.
Since we're on non-Rams reads, you must check out Jason Wilde's story on a special locker room attendant in Green Bay.
At 101sports.com, Bernie Miklasz goes through the past comments of Stan Kroenke and Kevin Demoff through the relocation process.
Miklasz also writes that it's time to fasten your seatbelts as we get closer to a resolution on relocation.
At stltoday.com, Tony Messenger writes that St. Louis has many problems but Rams owner Stan Kroenke isn't one.
St. Louis mayor Francis Slay sent a letter to Roger Goodell, David Hunn reports.
At LATimes.com, Sam Farmer breaks down where things stand on the relocation front before next week's owners meetings.