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How the contract extension for Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz affects the future for Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff

The Eagles got their deal done with the #2 pick from the 2016 NFL Draft. How long before the Rams get theirs done with #1?

Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff adjusts a play at the line during the first half of a game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Dec. 16, 2018.
Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff adjusts a play at the line during the first half of a game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Dec. 16, 2018.
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles handed out a major contract extension to QB Carson Wentz yesterday. With Wentz under contract through 2020, the four-year extension locks him in through 2024 at $128m or $32m per year. Specifics will matter here, but few have been reported outside of $66m guaranteed at signing and $107.9m guaranteed overall throughout.

Why does it matter? Because Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff and Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott have yet to sign extensions of their own.

The timing here is interesting.

As Goff and Wentz were first-round picks in the 2016 NFL Draft going at #1 and #2, respectively, their teams had the fifth-year option available to lock them in through 2020. Prescott was a fourth-round pick, so he is only under contract through this season. Clearly, the Cowboys are under more pressure to get a deal done sooner. The Eagles, though, were the ones to strike first.

There’s a clear risk/reward factor for the Wentz deal. On one hand, you’re locking in a quarterback at top tier salary levels who has already had a back and knee injury in his career after just three seasons. I can think of a player who was signed after three seasons to a top tier contract for his position that now seems a bit overreaching given the impact of injuries on his young career... As for the potential reward of getting the extension done now, that’s where Prescott and Goff come in.

The Wentz deal likely sets the floor for those deals, though I’ve seen some suggest Wentz’s deal could be stronger than Prescott’s. That’s not generally how these things work, so I’d be surprised if Prescott is willing to accept “less” than Wentz. It probably ends up being about the specifics of the deal and how much is front-laden especially in terms of guarantees and performance bonuses.

For Goff, it absolutely has to be a floor to negotiate from. Both Goff and Wentz share the same representation in REP1 (who also represents Rams backup Blake Bortles). Certainly, Goff will be asking for more given his lack of injury history and having just carried his team to the Super Bowl.

Strangely enough, the two times the Rams and Eagles have played, Wentz has been injured. That left Goff dueling against former Rams QB Nick Foles. While the Rams are 0-2 in those games, Goff’s 2018 season as a whole supercedes any impact of that head-to-head record.

Instead, the question becomes one of timing. Do the Rams pull the trigger now and jump beyond two more years of tape and data? Should Goff have a regression in 2019 or put up a poor key performance in the postseason, that will certainly be a point of contention among fans. Should they wait and let Goff play out his deal before offering an extension? That would risk putting Goff on the verge of free agency where other teams might come calling willing to outbid the Rams. As we’ve noted before, Goff’s current deal expires at the same moment the current NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement does. So there’s an additional unknown of how the next CBA will reform free agency and if it will come anywhere close to having the effect the last one did in remaking market constraints.

In the end, it comes down to faith and commitment.

The Eagles clearly have faith in Wentz and were willing to commit themselves into the new CBA at record levels. The Cowboys and Rams have yet to prove the same levels of faith and commitment.

Whether either do before we get to the regular season remains to be seen.