Los Angeles Rams drama: Rift between Jared Goff, Sean McVay

Los Angeles Rams salary cap
Sep 13, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay talks with quarterback Jared Goff (16) in the second half against the Dallas Cowboys at SoFi Stadium. The Rams defeated the Cowoboys 20-17. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Overall, the Los Angeles Rams are coming off a pretty decent season that saw advance to the NFC Divisional Playoffs. The same can’t be said for quarterback Jared Goff.

Prior to suffering a broken thumb in a Week 16 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, Goff had regressed terribly in his fifth season with the Rams. It had led to some speculation that Los Angeles might not view the former No. 1 pick as the long-term solution at quarterback.

At issue here is a recently-signed four-year, $134 million extension that reasonably links Goff to the Rams through at least the 2022 season. Now, there seems to be a rift between Goff and Rams head coach Sean McVay.

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“So I think a lot of people are wondering if they’re going to bring in a veteran type of quarterback to push Jared Goff this offseason,” NFL Media’s Steve Wyche reported on Monday. “Or at least have that threat there as a backup to see if they can elevate Goff. The people I’ve spoken to said basically at this moment the relationship with Goff and McVay: not great. They need marriage counseling is what one person said to me. I think this is something that they’re going to be able to work through, but there’s got to be some healing and that’s not just with Jared Goff’s injured thumb.”

Goff finished the regular season having thrown for 3,952 yards with a mere 20 touchdown passes against 13 interceptions. He struggled big time down the stretch. Playoffs included, he threw 10 touchdowns with 13 turnovers over the course of his final 10 starts.

Los Angeles’ ability to have success and earn a wildcard spot had more to do with the team’s defense under recently-departed coordinator Brandon Staley. The Rams finished No. 1 in the NFL in total defense and points allowed. Meanwhile, they put up the 22nd-most points in the NFL under a perceived offensive wizard in McVay.

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Where do the Rams go from here with Jared Goff?

Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16) is sacked by Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith (55) during the 2nd quarter of the Green Bay Packers Los Angeles Rams NFC divisional playoff game Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. Packers Rams 03378

We previously looked at the potential that these Rams attempt to move off Goff in a trade. His $34.63 million cap hit for the 2021 season and the team’s less-than-stellar cap situation (projected to be $21.3 million over said cap) adds another layer to this.

If the Rams were to trade Goff after June 1, they’d then save roughly $26 million against the cap by spreading out his dead money hit over the next few years. The issue here will be a lack of interest in a quarterback who just hasn’t been good recently.

After putting up a Pro Bowl appearance in 2018, Jared Goff has tallied 43 touchdown passes against 39 turnovers in his past 31 starts dating back to Week 1 of the 2019 campaign. That sample size is large enough to scare teams off given Goff’s bloated contract.

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Rams’ options are limited with Jared Goff

Jared Goff is the bottom dog of the remaining quarterbacks in the NFL Playoffs.
Dec 16, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16) reacts after throwing an interception during the second half against the Philadelphia Eagles at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

As for the Rams, it’s just not reasonable to believe they can simply rinse themselves of Goff and release the quarterback here soon. His dead cap hits over the next two years are eye-opening.

  • 2021: $65.53 million
  • 2022: $30.9 million

Los Angeles’ first reasonable out on Goff’s contract comes following the 2022 season when the team would incur an $8.2 million dead cap hit while saving north of $23 million.

There’s other ways general manager Les Snead and Co. could move on from Goff. One scenario would be to spread these dead cap hits over the remainder of his current contract, which runs through the 2024 campaign. However, that would continue to put the team in cap hell after it ate a huge chunk by releasing Todd Gurley ahead of the 2020 season.

There doesn’t seem to be a realistic end game here outside of Jared Goff and Sean McVay making things right. Short of that happening, drama could be the name of the game in Southern California moving forward.