The Los Angeles Rams signed quarterback Jared Goff to a four-year, $134 million deal in early September. That’s exactly what NFL teams do. Unless a QB has proven himself incompetent, he’s going to land a huge contract. There’s not a lot of critical thinking when it comes to the quarterback. Teams just pay.
Even though that’s how the NFL operates mindlessly, you have to wonder if the Rams have any private regrets. Goff doesn’t look like a quarterback expected to take more than 15% of the Rams’ salary cap. Since last November it looks average or worse. But he’s paid like he’s one of the best in the NFL. In terms of annual average, Goff is tied with Aaron Rodgers as the third highest-paid player in NFL history.
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Goff leads the Rams in a Thursday night showdown against the Seattle Seahawks, a game that can be streamed live on the Yahoo Sports app. It’s a key fight in the NFC West race between two 3-1 teams watching the San Francisco 49ers 3-0.
The Rams are paying Goff $33.5 million a season on his overtime to dominate in games like this.
Jared Goff racked up plenty of yards and turnovers against the Bucs
Goff posted huge numbers last week. His 517 yards were tied for eighth most in NFL history. He had 45 completions. But it wasn’t a great game.
Goff missed shots early as the Rams fell to a 21-0 hole. Goff makes three interceptions and loses a fumble. The Rams fell 55-40 to the Buccaneers. With Todd Gurley seemingly no longer one of the NFL’s best running backs, the Rams need a lot more Goff.
Do you remember the Rams 54-51 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs last November? Goff was certainly excellent in this game. It looked like it was the night he entered an elite class of quarterbacks. Since then it has been mediocre at best. In 12 games, including the playoffs, Goff completed 276 of 459 passes for 3,107 yards, 13 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. That’s a passer rating of 77.1. Only two NFL starting quarterbacks last season posted a rating below 77: Josh Allen and Josh Rosen. Both were beginners.
Since last November, Goff has looked more like a rookie than a quarterback worth a nine-figure extension.
The Rams need Goff to play better
The Rams could have played Goff’s situation differently. They could have traded Goff for a pick bonus 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 NFL’s biggest advantage is a good quarterback on his rookie contract and acted on it. Then they could have used the $33.5 million per season they give Goff on the rest of the roster.
But NFL teams don’t work that way. Even teams that make otherwise sound decisions fear the unknown at quarterback. The Rams pay Goff twice as much a year as the Houston Texans pay JJ Watt. It doesn’t seem like a wise investment.
It’s also true that 12 games doesn’t define Goff’s career. He was good for most of last season and played well in an NFC Championship win. He’s just 24, plays on a talented attack under a good coach and wouldn’t be the first young player to have a meltdown. Maybe for the rest of this season, Goff will play as an MVP candidate and his contract will be worth it for the Rams.
But as the Rams head to Seattle for a huge early season game, they need to play better from their quarterback. They need him to play like one of the best in the NFL. That kind of pressure comes with those nine-figure deals.
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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Do you have any advice? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab