October 19, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

Rams GM is noncommittal about Jared Goff’s future with team

Five years ago, Rams general manager Les Snead gambled and traded up 14 spots to select quarterback Jared Goff with the No. 1 pick in the draft.

On Tuesday, Snead did nothing to clarify what has become a cloudy future for a player who led the Rams to the Super Bowl two years ago but has seemingly fallen out of favor with coach Sean McVay.

Asked if there was a scenario in which Goff would not be on the roster next season, Snead was noncommittal.

“What I can say is Jared’s Goff’s a Ram in this moment,” Snead said during a videoconference with reporters. “It’s way too early to speculate the future. That’s a beautiful mystery.”

Snead’s comments tracked with McVay’s, who said after the Rams’ NFC divisional-round loss to the Green Bay Packers that Goff was the Rams quarterback “right now.” The next day McVay doubled down and said there would be competition at every position, including quarterback.

It marked a sudden fall for Goff, a Pro Bowl selection in 2017 and 2018, when he led the Rams to the wild-card round of the playoffs and the Super Bowl, respectively.

Before the 2019 season, the Rams awarded Goff a $134-million extension — with a then-record $110 million guaranteed.

But Goff’s performance has since waned. This season, he passed for a career-low 20 touchdowns, with 13 interceptions as the Rams finished 10-6.

McVay called out Goff after he committed three turnovers in a loss to the Sean Francisco 49ers, saying “Our quarterback’s got to take better care of the football.”

With Goff recovering from right thumb surgery, backup John Wolford started the season finale against the Arizona Cardinals. McVay then started Wolford over Goff in a wild-card playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Wolford suffered a neck injury in the first quarter and Goff came off the bench to lead the Rams to victory. Goff started against the Packers and played without major error in the season-ending defeat.

But he got no vote of confidence from McVay.

Snead, in evaluating Goff’s season, said there were, “steps forward, steps back, steps forward again.”

He indicated the relationship between McVay and Goff was not irreparably strained.

“A lot of quarterbacks and a lot of coaches are going to have tough conversations,” Snead said, adding, “Maybe a tough conversation in the moment leads to some semblance of friction, but I’m a believer that you can use that friction to move forward, maybe even get closer.”

Last March, Snead demonstrated he was not afraid to absorb a financial blow when the Rams cut running back Todd Gurley and traded receiver Brandin Cooks, ostensibly to create salary-cap space for a then-imminent extension for cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

But with their financial commitment to Goff, the Rams would have trouble trading or releasing him. If the Rams cut Goff before June 1, they would absorb a $65.2-million dead-cap hit, according to overthecap.com. If they trade Goff, it would be a $22.2-million hit, according to the website.

“Moving on from Jared Goff, the money we’ve invested in him, that’s not easy to overcome,” Snead said.

Snead downplayed the speculation surrounding Goff’s future.

“The real thing that should come out of this is, ‘Hey, we want to be a better offense,’” he said, “And that includes Jared.”

Finding more weapons for whomever plays quarterback next season will be a priority in free agency and the draft. The Rams lacked a legitimate deep threat this season, a void McVay acknowledged limited the offense.

The defense will be going through a transition with new coordinator Raheem Morris, who replaces Brandon Staley. Linebackers coach Joe Barry left to join Staley’s Chargers staff and cornerbacks coach Aubrey Pleasant left to join the Detroit Lions staff.

“Sean has a vision to keep the DNA of the scheme that Brandon implemented,” Snead said, adding, “We have coaches who know it and can keep that in-house.

“Raheem will learn it a little bit, but I know he will bring some derivatives… so this is how all these schemes evolve when everyone starts mixing the ingredients together.”

Edge rusher Leonard Floyd, cornerback Troy Hill and safety John Johnson are among the Rams’ unrestricted free agents. Snead said that he and McVay have had preliminary discussions about free agency and would delve deeper into the subject in mid-February.

The Rams also are moving to address departures in their personnel department. Brad Holmes, former director of college scouting, left to become the Lions general manager. Holmes hired pro scouting director Ray Agnew to be assistant general manager.

“We have a good subset of lieutenants in our building already,” Snead said, declining to offer specifics.