Something doesn’t make sense.
Yesterday, Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay made his most emphatic comments regarding a potential contract extension for QB Jared Goff by suggesting an extension “will get done” and that there is a “zero percent chance” that he wouldn’t get an extension that Goff is “worthy of.”
While McVay isn’t principally involved in contract negotiations nor is General Manager Les Snead, he’s certain to be well-briefed on ongoing negotiations from Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of Football Operations Kevin Demoff and his Special Assistant Tony Pastoors who conduct those negotiations. This is especially to be the case when McVay knows of media engagements and has an opportunity to get the latest from Demoff. I say that only to reinforce that McVay isn’t likely to be speculating here but instead offering his take on Demoff’s most recent update to him.
That raises a very simple question.
If the Rams are 100% committed to extending Goff, why not do it this offseason?
Not doing so likely sees a potential deal increases in magnitude year-by-year. In just the last two years, we’ve seen the max deals for quarterbacks increase from something around $25m per year to potentially $35m. Waiting to commit to a deal this offseason, as multiple reporters have suggested the Rams are going to do, might push Goff’s deal beyond $35m.
Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger and, most relevantly, Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz all signed extensions this offseason north of $30m per year. Next year’s free agent class includes New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees, Los Angeles Chargers QB Philip Rivers, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady and Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott who could all push the bar further. And there’s the chance the Kansas City Chiefs jump early onto a megadeal for QB Patrick Mahomes to reduce their costs by doing so a couple of seasons out in front.
So I asked that simple question on Twitter yesterday. If the Rams are 100% committed to extending Goff, why not do a deal now?
The overwhelming majority of responses broke down into two camps one of which undercuts McVay’s messaging and the other just being a misunderstanding of how deals like this work.
The first camp essentially suggested that the Rams in fact aren’t 100%. Whether it was learning from the extension for RB Todd Gurley that doing a deal that early before you need to can backfire if a player’s health deteriorates or that Goff needs to elevate his individual level of play, many simply suggested the Rams aren’t committed to that level as of yet.
The other group made some kind of suggestion that the salary cap in 2019 or 2020 inhibited a deal from getting done.
That’s just not the case.
There’s nothing preventing the Rams from signing Goff to an extension that doesn’t modify his 2019 or 2020 cap hits. That’s exactly what happened with the Wentz extension; the Eagles extended Wentz through 2024 but his 2019 and 2020 salaries didn’t increase at all. In fact, Wentz now will make less in 2020 than he would have under the fifth-year option by about $3,5m.
The same criteria held for Gurley when the Rams extended him. While they did up his pay in 2018 at the time of signing, Gurley will make about $0.5m less this year than he was scheduled to prior to his extension.
So put bluntly, any restrictions the overall salary cap might impose have nothing to do with extending Goff. The Rams are free to extend him just as they did with Gurley, just as the Eagles did with Wentz. That they’re choosing not to is of their own volition.
Which leaves up nothing but uncomfortable answers as to that simple question.
Why aren’t the Rams extending Jared Goff this offseason?