The Rams may win a Super Bowl with Jared Goff at quarterback, but paying him big bucks will cost Sean McVay and company a shot at forging a dynasty.
Jared Goff isn’t a bad NFL quarterback. The Rams’ signal caller also isn’t one of the top-five signal callers in football. That makes Los Angeles’ decision to give him the most guaranteed money in NFL history a massive gamble.
According to ESPN‘s Adam Schefter, the Rams are committing $110 million in guaranteed money to Goff over the next four years. The total value of the deal could rise to $134 million if he hits certain incentives. The deal doesn’t give Goff the highest annual salary in the league, but it’s still a record-breaking contract that fully commits the Rams to their current quarterback for years to come.
Some NFL observers believe the Rams really didn’t have a choice. Head coach Sean McVay rode into town and transformed Goff from a punchline into a legitimate Pro Bowler. There aren’t many franchises who are willing to give up on young quarterbacks with that kind of resume.
There’s a very legitimate case to be made that Los Angeles should have been brave enough to go in a different direction. It’s quite possible that Goff’s success is largely a product of McVay’s innovative offensive system. The talent surrounding him on offense doesn’t hurt either. Plenty of quarterbacks could achieve success while handing the ball to Todd Gurley and throwing it to receivers like Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. The question of just how many players could replicate Goff’s success is certainly open to debate.
The Rams could have chosen to dump Goff for a player with a higher ceiling. Goff is undeniably competent, but the chances of him becoming an elite quarterback are almost non-existent. You can certainly win a Super Bowl without an All-Pro under center, but it’s really difficult to build a dynasty without an elite quarterback. The ability to dominate the NFL for the next decade is what Los Angeles has given up by handing Goff such a rich contract.
Again, the point here isn’t that the Rams have made some sort of unforgivable error. Goff’s rich deal will quickly be eclipsed by other, superior players. The amount of millions isn’t the issue here. The issue is that a contract of this size locks Los Angeles into Goff for years to come. Since he isn’t an elite player at the game’s most important position, that inherently places a ceiling on how good the Rams can be for how long.
The bold move here would have been to let Goff go and take a bigger swing for a quarterback who could really elevate the players around him. Instead, the Rams chose to play it safe. Time will tell whether or not that costs McVay and company the chance to build a superpower.