Before the 2019 season, the Los Angeles Rams made the mind-boggling decision to extend Jared Goff on one of the richest contracts in NFL history. The $110 million that Goff was guaranteed from the Rams was an NFL record at the time, and immediately raised eyebrows. Most pundits had assumed, and rightfully so, that Goff would have to prove himself for one more year (2019) before he would be given an opportunity to negotiate an extension. After all, the Rams could hold his rights through the 2022 season via a fifth-year option and two franchise tags. LA seemed primed to have a huge “Prove-it” year from Goff.
Les Snead had other plans, however. Seeing some kind of promise… that no one else in the world saw…Snead decided that Jared Goff"s contract extension was in the best interests of the Rams. His thinking was that a fifth-year option and two franchise tags would not cost considerably less than this extension. Especially if you consider the prospects of having an unhappy starting quarterback on your roster. The “bottom line" was that if Goff was going to be THE GUY for the next five years, and you think he will be an all-pro caliber player, then this move is a no-brainer. But that is where the problems start. Goff has not shown the mental or physical ability that it takes to be an all-pro player.
His faults are rather hidden through Sean Mcvay"s game-planning, yet he still finds ways to lose football games for the Rams. When he is at his best, his play is more indicative of a quarterback who makes $20 million. When he is at his worst, his play is more expressive of a backup or third-string signal-caller.
Now, going back to the title of the article, most people assume that the Rams are absolutely TIED to Goff for the foreseeable future. While it may be hard to envision a scenario where Jared is not under center for the Rams when they open SoFi stadium for fans (hopefully) in 2021, I"m going to propose a few scenarios where that could be possible, regardless of Jared Goff"s contract coming off the books of not.
Los Angeles finds a trade partner
After the 2020 season, the Rams can start to try and attract a trade partner for Jared Goff"s contract. However, there would not be a big enough cap savings ($12.5 million in 2022) to justify trading Goff before June first. After June first, though, things get interesting. By that time in the year, teams will already have drafted or missed out on their “franchise quarterback of the future". There will also be camp injuries that could theoretically open up a job for Goff to be traded into. Not to mention, waiting until after June first allows the Rams to save over $27 million in cap space for 2021 and split Goff"s dead money between "21($7 Million) and "22 ($15 million).
If the Rams are willing to eat $22 million in dead money (much like they have done with Todd Gurley) and they find a taker, this can happen. The Texans famously attached draft pick compensation in order to get Brock Osweiler off of their roster, so we know things like that can happen. Snead is certainly creative enough to get it done. This scenario would likely see the Rams sign or trade for a veteran quarterback and use the draft picks they have to keep their championship window open.
The Rams draft Goff"s replacement
Los Angeles is certainly going to have to AT LEAST entertain this idea. With a few second and third round prospects like Kyle Trask, Sam Ehlinger, and Brock Purdy waiting in the wings, the Rams could possibly draft one of these young guys to come in and immediately compete with Goff. It would light a fire under both players, and despite Jared Goff"s contract, the better player would be on the field. The Rams have a championship window with Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey that they cannot miss. The contract extensions to Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp show that the organization feels the same way. It is now or never for Goff, and maybe this is what it would take to make him understand that.
The team promotes from within
This may be the most likely AND most intriguing situation. John Wolford seems to be head coach Sean McVay"s “coach"s pet", but in practice and preseason games, he has not shown the arm strength to make all of the NFL throws. He would probably have to be hidden even more than Goff has to be. The more interesting choice on the roster is Bryce Perkins. With the ability to extend plays with his feet and a cannon arm to hit every quadrant of the field, Perkins is the prototypical NFL quarterback of the modern age. He has spent the entire season on the active roster so that no team could be able to sign him to their team. That shows that the Rams have faith…and stock…in Perkins" future in LA.
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