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The Los Angeles Rams signed quarterback Jared Goff to a four-year, $134 million deal in early September. This is just what NFL teams do. Unless a QB has proven to be incapable, he’s going to get an enormous contract. There’s not much critical thinking when it comes to quarterback. Teams just pay.
Even though this is how the NFL mindlessly operates, you have to wonder if the Rams privately have regrets. Goff doesn’t look like a quarterback who should be taking up more than 15 percent of the Rams’ salary cap. Since last November, he has looked average or worse. But he’s getting paid like he’s one of the NFL’s best. In terms of annual average, Goff is tied with Aaron Rodgers as the third-highest paid player in NFL history.
Goff leads the Rams into a Thursday night showdown at the Seattle Seahawks, a game that can be live-streamed on the Yahoo Sports app. It’s a key contest in the NFC West race between two 3-1 teams that are looking up at the 3-0 San Francisco 49ers.
The Rams are paying Goff $33.5 million per season over his extension to dominate in games like this.
Jared Goff put up a lot of yards, turnovers vs. Bucs
Goff put up some huge numbers last week. His 517 yards were tied for the eighth-most in NFL history. He had 45 completions. But it wasn’t a great game.
Goff missed throws early as the Rams fell into a 21-0 hole. Goff had three interception and lost a fumble. The Rams fell 55-40 to the Buccaneers. With Todd Gurley looking like he’s no longer one of the NFL’s best running backs, the Rams need much more out of Goff.
Remember the Rams’ 54-51 win over the Kansas City Chiefs last November? Goff was certainly great in that game. It seemed like that was the night he entered an elite class of quarterbacks. Since then, he has been mediocre at best. In 12 games including playoffs, Goff has completed 276 of 459 passes for 3,107 yards, 13 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. That’s a 77.1 passer rating. Only two NFL starting quarterbacks last season posted a rating worse than 77: Josh Allen and Josh Rosen. Both were rookies.
Since last November, Goff has looked more like a rookie than a quarterback worth a nine-figure extension.
Rams need Goff to play better
The Rams could have played the Goff situation differently. They could have traded Goff for a bounty of picks and let Sean McVay develop a new, young, cheap quarterback. It would have been radical and unlike anything any other team had ever done, but they could have noted that the biggest advantage in the NFL is a good quarterback on his rookie deal and acted accordingly. Then they could have used the $33.5 million per season they’re giving Goff on the rest of the roster.
But NFL teams don’t operate that way. Even teams that make otherwise shrewd decisions fear the unknown at quarterback. The Rams are paying Goff twice as much per year as the Houston Texans pay J.J. Watt. That doesn’t seem like a wise investment.
It’s also true that 12 games don’t define Goff’s career. He was good for most of last season and played well in an NFC championship game win. He’s still just 24, plays on a talented offense with a good coach, and wouldn’t be the first young player to have a slump. Perhaps over the rest of this season Goff will play like an MVP candidate and his contract will look well worth it to the Rams.
But as the Rams head into Seattle for a huge early season game, they need better play out of their quarterback. They need him to play like one of the NFL’s best. That kind of pressure comes with those nine-figure deals.
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