The clock is ticking for the Los Angeles Rams to take advantage of their franchise quarterback’s rookie contract. Their Super Bowl matchup with the New England Patriots is the only thing that should matter now. But there will be more football after Sunday. Along with Jared Goff‘s looming contract extension, several key players will be filing for free agency this offseason. With the salary cap limiting their available funds, the upcoming months for Los Angeles will be a challenge.
Luckily for the Rams, according to Reuters, NFL teams will receive a projected $12.8 million increase in team salary cap space. The addition may help Los Angeles retain some players, but I doubt it will be enough to make a remarkable difference. According to Spotrac, LA will have $32,441,386 free in cap space entering this offseason.
The combined total annual average value (AAV) for their upcoming unrestricted free agents equates to $43,760,482. I expect their general manager, Les Snead, to get creative very soon because he has no other choice. Will he let vital players on the team walk away or will he think outside the box and retain them? My guess is Sunday is the last time you see a few players in their white, gold, and blue uniforms.
Suh and Joyner Headline the Rams 2019 Departures
Veteran defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh has been a crucial addition to the Rams defensive unit. However, his time with the Rams may be short-lived. The elite interior lineman will be an attractive free agent after Sunday, and he will demand a pricey salary. The Rams were able to sign him for one year at the price of $14 million, but they may not have the wiggle-room to re-sign him. Along with the departure of Suh, LA decided not to offer a contract extension to free safety LaMarcus Joyner.
As one of the top safeties in the league, Joyner will also be an appealing available player up for grabs. My guess is he was not offered an extension because extending the best defensive tackle in the league, Aaron Donald, and arguably the best running back in the league, Todd Gurley, was more of a priority to the Rams. Joyner made $11,287,000 in 2018 and will ask for a nice raise the Rams may not be able to afford.
Instead of entering a bidding war for Suh and Joyner, the Rams will have more holes to fill. Unfortunately, both aren’t the only crucial inevitable exits from the roster. Starting left guard Rodger Saffold, outside linebacker Dante Fowler Jr., and running back C.J. Anderson will all be available after Sunday along with a few others.
With Snead’s hands virtually tied, he’ll need to sacrifice a few of the roster’s assets to keep the Rams competitive. Atlanta Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff recently praised Snead for developing a very competitive team. And how can you not agree? I think Snead has done a fantastic job, but I have a feeling he will mistakenly delay offering an extension to Goff.
Extending Jared Goff Should Be A Priority
The ball is in the Los Angeles Rams court when it comes to extending Goff’s contract. They hold a 2020 team option to keep Goff under his rookie contract, but holding off on an extension may backfire. If Goff were to hit the free agent pool, he’d be a hot commodity with a considerable price tag. His agent, Ryan Tollner, may already be whispering in his ear to hold off on signing an extension. By the way, Tollner is also the agent for Carson Wentz, and his rookie contract will soon expire. If the Rams do not offer an extension to Goff now, I expect Tollner to masterfully use Wentz’s contract negotiations as leverage with Los Angeles to increase Goff’s salary.
The 2020 and 2021 free agent class for quarterbacks is juicy and will likely cause the AAV of quarterbacks to rise higher than it is today. Over The Cap’s report of the top QB contracts in the NFL hint that it’s very likely Goff will make at least $20 million and maybe more than $30 million a year. If a decent veteran like Case Keenum costs the Broncos $18 million a year, how much more is Goff worth? The answer is a lot more, and teams will be willing to spend for him.
The last thing the Rams would want to do is to get caught up in a bidding war for the centerpiece player of their franchise. And you better believe Goff is going to get paid. His statistics from the last two seasons measure up to players like Tom Brady, who Goff will have a chance to outshine in the Super Bowl; the stage Brady is at his best.
Can Goff Lead The Rams To A Super Bowl Victory?
Sports radio personality Colin Cowherd recently said he believes Goff will lead the Rams to victory against the Patriots. He thinks he has the talent, and he isn’t the only sports analysts that praise Goff. Some daringly claim Rams head coach Sean McVay and quarterback Jared Goff could be the next Bill Belichick and Tom Brady extraordinary head coach and quarterback duo. To achieve that prestigious status, the Rams need to win on Sunday, and they need to extend Goff.