Jared Goff’s contract extension is somewhat controversial among TSTers, which I find interesting given his overall performance under the tutelage of Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay.
There are tons of angles here and I’m sure they’ll all be addressed in the coming months as the offseason progresses. I’ve attempted to distill both sides of the argument to a manageable level.
- Goff will never be cheaper than he is today.
Let’s be real here. Every time a quarterback in the NFL get a contract extension, the asking price for the next guy goes up. In addition to this dynamic, the percentage of a team’s salary cap that is dedicated to QBs increases with each passing year. With Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson likely to be the next iteration of record breaking QB contracts soon, it would behoove the Rams to consider doing this sooner rather than later.
- The Rams have leverage - not to mention a history of getting deals like this early
This is where the cons come into play. I’ll get more into that in a minute, but the Rams front office has a littany of ways to bring Goff’s price down that they may or may not have next offseason.
The Rams took a proactive approach with the extensions for Todd Gurley, Rob Havenstein, and Johnny Hekker as well as handing out an untimely extension to Tavon Austin a few years back.
- He has Sean McVay
The Rams have the luxury of having one of the brightest offensive minds in the NFL as their head coach. McVay - with his ‘We not Me’ culture and the ‘illusion of complexity’ - has turned the NFL on it’s head over the last two seasons.
McVay has done an amazing job developing Goff thus far and we have no reason to believe that progression won’t continue. Which brings me back to my first point... as Goff continues to develop, he will only get more expensive.
- He’s inconsistent under pressure
The Super Bowl loss showed us the worst of Goff. In addition to seemingly crumpling under the brightest lights the NFL has to offer, he showed again that he struggles when the defense brings pressure. He misses throws and looks flustered when he doesn’t have a clean pocket around him. Even then, he still sometimes misses open receivers and/or easy throws.
Is this a unchangeable flaw in Goff or something that McVay can help him overcome? How the Rams front office views the answer to that question will play a large role in how they handle negotiations when the time comes.
- Value and the Aaron Donald approach
I don’t think anyone ever doubted that the Rams wanted to retain Aaron Donald. The disconnect with negotiations came down to perceived value. We may see something similar happen with Goff.
The unfortunate nature of the QB market is that it’s negotiated less in terms of QB talent than it is relative to the largest contract. The tendency of the NFL to both inflate the QB market and pay unproven talent (see Garappolo, Jimmy) will likely increase the ‘starting point’ of negotiations for Goff’s representatives. I can’t see them asking any lower than Kirk Cousins $28M average annual value with 100% of the contract guaranteed - with a $30M average salary the more likely starting point.
As for the Rams perspective, I can easily see them pointing to New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees’ contract as a baseline. With a much more reasonable $25M average annual value and a hair over 50% guaranteed, it is a much more team friendly deal.
The disparity there is obvious. For a 5 year contract it’s the difference between Goff getting $150M fully guaranteed and $125M with only about $80M guaranteed. Most negotiations start this way, but the Rams showed a willingness to take some heat from the media to get what they wanted in the Donald negotiations. To think they wouldn’t do the same with Goff would be naive.
- Veteran QBs are expensive
McVay has shown a willingness to be innovative during his tenure with the Rams. Could he try to establish a new model of how to handle the QB position? Quarterbacks on contracts have proven to be increasingly more valuable in today’s NFL and multiple teams have shown that an ‘all-in’ strategy with young QBs can be successful.
Once a QB cashes in though, success becomes much more difficult to sustain. It’s difficult to find a great QB, and the demand for such players is extremely high. That puts teams between a rock and a hard place when it comes to paying them. Which puts QB needy teams overpaying to acquire a capable signal caller.
Some believe that teams shouldn’t pay a veteran QB, but instead develop a talented player then trade them for a high draft pick which would be used to replace said signal caller - in this case Goff.
It’s a bold strategy that would take balls of steel to pull off, but the Rams could be in a position to make this work. They have a coach unafraid of taking risks with an innate ability to develop successful QBs.
Considering the Pros and Cons above, should the Rams extend Goff this offseason?
This poll is closed