In 2016, the Los Angeles Rams committed their future to a quarterback from California by selecting him first overall in the 2016 NFL Draft. Not only did the Rams use the first-overall pick to select California Golden Bears quarterback Jared Goff, they traded a lot of assets to jump to the first pick allowing them to select their new signal caller.
Fast forwarding to the current day tells two stories about Goff’s NFL career: the rookie season in which he looked to be one of the most recent busts at the position, and the past two seasons in which Goff made back-to-back pro bowls and led his team to a Super Bowl appearance.
Yet, Goff still remains on his rookie contract as the Rams have yet to tear that deal up and extend him like other teams have decided to do, namely the Philadelphia Eagles with quarterback Carson Wentz. Goff is set to cost the Rams only $8.889m (all salary cap related numbers are per Over The Cap) of the cap this season and $22.783m in 2020 when his fifth-year option kicks in. Over the five-year span of his rookie deal, Goff’s average price per year has been $6.984m, though the Rams are likely to rip up the rookie deal sometime in the next year and reward him with a hefty long-term extension. Wentz on the other hand, received a four-year $128m extension with $66.5m in guarantees recently, equaling to a price of $32m per year.
When looking at the two quarterbacks who were selected first and second overall in the 2016 NFL Draft, their stats are eerily similar on a per game basis. Here are the numbers (numbers sourced per Pro Football Reference):
Goff: 252.1 passing yards/game, 1.7 touchdowns, 0.7 interceptions, 4.6 rushing yards, 0.1 rushing touchdowns
Wentz: 253.8 passing yards/game, 1.8 touchdowns, 0.7 interceptions, 13.6 rushing yards, 0.1 rushing touchdowns
Looking at the breakdown per game over their careers, the two are much closer in terms of statistical output than people think. Taking a look at the comparison deeper, Goff has played in two less games, won one more game, lost three less games, attempted nearly 200 fewer pass attempts, has a 2-2 playoff record (Wentz hasn’t played in the playoffs yet), and appeared in a Super Bowl. Looking at the prospects of a new contract may lead you to believe Goff is owed more than Wentz, especially when you factor in the health of Goff and the timing of the contract extension (coming after Wentz’s).
The other quarterbacks who signed recent deals will be listed here, as well as their average price per year and total guarantees:
- Russell Wilson: $35m/year, $107m guaranteed
- Ben Roethlisberger: $34m/year, $50m guaranteed
- Jimmy Garoppolo: $27.5m/year, $74.1m guaranteed
And dating back to 2018:
- Aaron Rodgers: $33.5m/year, $98.2m guaranteed
- Matt Ryan: $30m/year, $100m guaranteed
- Kirk Cousins: $28m/year, $84m guaranteed
It’s safe to assume Goff will eclipse most of these quarterback figures, both in average per year and in total guarantees. The timing is particularly important and interesting because it will absolutely affect the price tag. The Dallas Cowboys are in a similar position to the Rams as they look to work out a long-term extension with starting quarterback Dak Prescott, who has reportedly turned down a deal worth $30m/year and asked for $40m/year (conflicting reports), though that drastic number is likely only a negotiation tactic.
When looking at all of the quarterback deals above, majority of them cost their team between 14-17% of the salary cap, and since we know the cap now but not in the future, it’s tougher to gauge just how much an extension will truly cost.
With that being said, a safe projection – barring any unforeseen circumstances – for Goff and the Rams on his next contract would be in the ball park of a 4-year, $35m/year deal with $112m in guarantees. The amount of % I projected for Goff to count against the salary cap is roughly 15%, with around 80% of his contract counting as total guaranteed money.
Reminder: The NFL’s collective bargaining agreement is set to expire in 2020/2021, meaning many factors – which include contract negotiations, pricing, etc – are subject to massive change. Prior to the CBA expiring, this is the best we can project for a Jared Goff long-term contract.