Los Angeles, Calif. – Late Tuesday evening the Seattle Seahawks and Russell Wilson made history. The Seahawks inked their franchise quarterback to a four-year, $140 million extension that includes a $65 million signing bonus and makes the quarterback the highest-paid player in the NFL.
This is the second big signing in the NFC West over the last two years. Last season, the Los Angeles Rams signed Aaron Donald to a six-year contract extension worth $135 million with $87 million guaranteed.
Franchise players get paid and very rarely do they hit the open market.
General Manager Les Snead will have an important decision coming up. First the Rams front office will need to accept the fifth-year option on Jared Goff’s rookie deal, then they will have to decide whether or not Goff is a franchise caliber player worth a long-term extension or worth just using the franchise tag i.e. Kirk Cousins.
Top-10 highest paid quarterbacks (APY) *Numbers per Over The Cap*
1. Russell Wilson – $35M
2. Aaron Rogers – $33.5M
3. Matt Ryan – $30M
4. Kirk Cousins – $28M
5. Jimmy Garoppolo – $27.5M
6. Matthew Stafford – $27M
7. Derek Carr – 25.005M
8. Drew Brees – $25M
9. Andrew Luck – 24.594M
10. Alex Smith – $23.5M
Last season the seven highest paid quarterbacks in the NFL failed to make the playoffs. That’s not to say the Rams shouldn’t sign Goff to a large deal. As Rams fans found out in the time after Kurt Warner and Marc Bulger, it’s nearly impossible to make the postseason without a franchise quarterback. Between 2004 and 2017, 14 different quarterbacks started three or more games for the Rams.
Finding a quarterback that can lead you to the playoffs, let alone the Super Bowl isn’t easy – Jared Goff has done both. When it comes time, he will get paid. It’s why it is so important to win while Goff is on his rookie deal. That is the Rams’ window for a Super Bowl. As the saying goes, you can’t keep everybody.
At some point, John Johnson will expect to get paid. Cooper Kupp will expect to get paid. Marcus Peters will expect to get paid.
What does this all mean for Goff and the Rams? Well, it’s hardly simple. The decision is to extend Goff will not be an easy one. There has been a lot of good with Goff, but also a fair share of bad. Let’s run through them and start first with the bad.
1. Sean McVay made Jared Goff
Given what we saw from Goff during his rookie season, the argument could be made the Sean McVay made Jared Goff. That’s not to say that argument would be correct, it’s simply one that could be made. The Rams quarterback started his career 0-7 and had one of the worst seasons for a rookie quarterback in NFL history. All signs pointed to him being a bust. Since McVay has arrived, Goff has gone on to lead the Rams to the playoffs twice and thrown back-to-back 3,800+yards and 25+touchdown seasons.
2. Goff had one of the worst Super Bowl performances in NFL history.
Statistically speaking he was the sixth worst rated quarterback to start a Super Bowl in NFL history. Kerry Collins (7.1), Ben Roethlisberger (22.6), Rich Gannon (48.9), Cam Newton (55.4), and Peyton Manning (56.6) are the only quarterbacks with worst passer ratings in a Super Bowl than Goff.
3. A poor record against NFC playoff teams during the regular season
Excluding two wins over the Seattle Seahawks last season and the postseason, Jared Goff is 1-5 against NFC playoff teams. The Rams defeated the New Orleans Saints in Los Angeles in 2017 but have lost to the Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles (2x), Chicago Bears, and Saints. To be the best, you have the beat the best, and in those games, Goff hasn’t necessarily delivered.
1. Led the Rams to their first playoff appearance and winning record in over a decade
Prior to Jared Goff, the Rams’ quarterback situation was abysmal. As mentioned earlier, 14 different quarterbacks had made three or more starts with the team between 2004-2016. That is far less than ideal. Almost Cleveland Browns-esque. The Rams have gone on to win back-to-back division titles, make consecutive playoff appearances, and go to the Super Bowl.
2. Record breaker
Jared Goff’s 2018 season is arguably the second best season for a Rams quarterback in franchise history. His yards (4688) and touchdowns (32) trail just Kurt Warner. He’s just the third quarterback in franchise history to throw for more than 4,000 yards. He set the franchise record for most passing yards through 11 games. He’s only the third quarterback in NFL history to lead his team to a 6-0 start before the age of 25. He’s only the fifth quarterback in NFL history to throw for more than 1,700 yards while completing more than 70% of his passes through the first five games of the season. Goff became the first player in NFL history to pass for at least 350 yards while completing 75% of his passes in three consecutive games. He is also just the second player in franchise history to throw for 320 or more yards in four consecutive games and the first since Warner in 2000 to throw for 350 or more yards in three consecutive games. That’s not too shabby.
3. Great record in the division
Jared Goff has lost just one game in the NFC West since Sean McVay has taken over. One game. With Goff under center, the Rams are 10-1 in the NFC West. In the NFL if you win your division not only are you guaranteed a spot in the playoffs, but also a home game in the first round. If you’re in the dance you have a chance and a playoff game at home doesn’t hurt. You’re guaranteed a spot in the dance if you win the division. A 10-1 division record is good.
Jared Goff is not a perfect quarterback, but at just 24 years old, he’s certainly proven that not only was he worth the number one overall pick and the haul the Rams gave up to select him, but also an extension. Looking at the numbers above, Goff and the Rams are probably looking at a number between Matt Ryan and Russell Wilson.
With Russell Wilson having been to two Super Bowls, it would be very difficult to justify paying Goff more than Wilson. However, it wouldn’t be something to rule out given Goff’s age. With that said the Matt Ryan range seems very realistic. Like Ryan, Goff has a Super Bowl appearance and has had his team in contention.
At the end of the day Jared Goff is going to get paid and he is going to get paid $30M+. That’s what franchise quarterbacks are worth. The only question is, will it be from the Rams or another team?