Multiple quarterbacks are going to be on the move in what will be an extremely entertaining NFL offseason. It may even top the shuffling of last year's quarterbacks, which was impressive in of itself. A handful of teams need a new starter and as many as a dozen would be willing to move on from their incumbent signal-caller should the opportunity present itself.
One of those latter teams is apparently the Los Angeles Rams, dissatisfied with what Jared Goff has given them from the position over the last two seasons after he helped lead the team to a Super Bowl appearance. The relationship between Goff and head coach Sean McVay is reportedly in need of some marriage counseling and GM Les Snead did not leap at the opportunity to assure Goff of his long-term security in a press conference earlier this week.
Now, Adam Schefter is piling it on. Appearing on the Scherleth and Evans Show of Denver's 104.3 The Fan, hosts Mark Scherleth and Mike Evans (not that one, the other one) asked Schefter if Goff was on the market this offseason. He simply replied, "Yes" at the 33:20 mark of Hour 3.
Well, the Rams can put Goff on the market all they want. They won't get any bites. As laid out on The Big Lead two weeks ago, L.A. can't move on from Goff until 2022 at the earliest lest they incur a truly obscene $65 million dead cap hit. That is over a quarter of what the projected cap ceiling is going to be in 2021, dedicated to absolutely nobody if they chose to move on from Goff.
I'm sure there are some cap machinations to utilize that would lessen the impact of that dead cap hit, perhaps spreading it out over several years as a renegotiation before a trade. The caveat being they would need to have a trade in place in order to execute that. But simply put, nobody will want to be the other team in question. No one wants to trade for Goff.
Contract aside for the time being, Goff is not the up-and-coming superstar the Rams (and most others, to be fair) thought he was when he signed the gigantic extension that currently roots the franchise to its current position. He has been maddeningly inconsistent since the Super Bowl run. Sure, the numbers remain more or less the same; Goff threw for 4,688 yards, 32 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions in 2018, 4,638 yards and 22 touchdowns with 16 picks in 2019, and 3,962 yards with 20 touchdowns to 12 picks in 15 games in 2020. The touchdown numbers have obviously dipped, but statistically, he's about who the Rams thought he was.
The problem is that when Goff is good, he's really good. But when he's bad, he's really bad. Take a two-week span in the 2020 season. On November 23, he was excellent against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, completing 39 of 51 passes for 376 yards and three touchdowns with two picks to come away with a win against the future NFC champions. On November 29, the script was flipped entirely as Goff stumbled to a 198-yard, two-interception day with a 61 percent completion rate against the division rival San Francisco 49ers in a three-point loss.
That's just who Goff is at this point. Usually the hotness and coldness of his play doesn't stray to those extreme levels, but on the day he has it, things go great for his squad. When he doesn't have it, he is an active detriment in pursuit of winning a football game. That's fine and dandy for players who are early in their careers or aren't signed to nine-digit contracts, but Goff is neither. He just finished up his fifth season in the NFL and was guaranteed a record $110 million to not be that guy.
All this is happening under the studious eye of McVay, widely recognized as one of the NFL's best offensive gameplanners even with the relative lack of success his team has had over the last two years. If McVay can't make a consistently good, if not great, quarterback out of Goff, who can?
There's also the small matter that whatever team takes the plunge and does pull the trigger on a Goff trade is on the hook for the next four years of his contract. Goff will count for more than $30 million against the cap every year except the last, when he'll count for $27 million against the cap in 2024. Even with a renegotiation to bump Goff's substantial salary over those years to a more reasonable level, dedicating that much cap space to an average quarterback is a one-way ticket to consecutive 9-7 seasons. Which is fine! There are a few teams who would love for an above .500 season right about now. But not what that kind of money warrants.
The Rams are stuck with Goff until 2023, when they can move on with only an $8 million cap hit. Until then, he's their guy. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.