Jared Goff

Sean McVay Non-Committal On Jared Goff

The Rams just lost their defensive coordinator to the Chargers, and more big changes could be on the way. Los Angeles just wrapped up what was by all accounts a successful season, winning a playoff game and advancing to the divisional round after failing to make the postseason the year before. But if they want to make it back to their old heights of the 2018 Super Bowl run, they’ll need much better production in the passing game. 

Sean McVay seems to understand that, and he’s now raised plenty of eyebrows in his last two press conferences by declining to commit to Jared Goff. In his post-game press conference immediately after the Rams’ loss to the Packers, McVay was asked whether Goff is his quarterback and he replied “yeah, he’s the quarterback right now.” As we’ve often seen, “right now” can be something of a kiss of death in coach-speak.

In his end of year media availability on Sunday, McVay muddied the waters even further. “I’m evaluating everything we do, and that includes the QB position,” McVay said, adding “I’m not ready to make any sort of statements with regards to ANY starting position,” per Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Los Angeles had the league’s top total defense this season, the weapons are good enough, the offensive line is solid, and the coaching is by all accounts great. As such, it’s fair to assume that the only way to increase their ceiling is for Goff to improve, because it’ll be hard for the defense to play any better in 2021. The former first overall pick regressed this season, ranking toward the top of the league in interceptions despite being toward the bottom in average depth of target.

It sounds like McVay is far from happy with his current depth chart, but his options are limited. Goff is under contract through the 2024 season thanks to the big extension he signed in September of 2019 that is only really starting to kick in now. There’s no realistic way to cut him before next season with the dead cap implications.

No team is likely to take on his contract in a trade, which would seem to indicate the only way for McVay to replace him would be to add some competition to the roster. It would be really hard to fit another big contract next to Goff’s, which would mean that competition would likely need to come in the form of a cheaper veteran or a player on a rookie deal.

It’s going to be a very interesting offseason in Los Angeles. Perhaps GM Les Snead, noted for his aggressiveness in recent years, has one more trick up his sleeve.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams To Start Jared Goff Vs. Packers

Jared Goff will return to the Rams’ starting lineup in Green Bay. The Rams’ fifth-year starting quarterback has participated fully in practice throughout the week, and Sean McVay confirmed it will be Goff taking the snaps Saturday.

Los Angeles’ starter the past two weeks, John Wolford has not practiced this week after suffering a neck injury against the Seahawks. The Rams have ruled Wolford out for the team’s divisional-round game against the Packers. Blake Bortles will dress as Los Angeles’ backup quarterback, McVay said.

Despite Goff undergoing thumb surgery earlier this month, the Rams dressed only he and Wolford against the Seahawks. Johnny Hekker became the team’s backup after Wolford’s hospitalization. The Rams have a fourth quarterback option, rookie UDFA Bryce Perkins, who resides on their practice squad.

Goff delivered an uneven but effective performance against the Seahawks (9 of 19, 155 yards, one touchdown pass), against whom he suffered the thumb injury in Week 16. After previously never missing a start due to injury through four-plus seasons, he will attempt to pilot the Rams to an upset win over the Packers.

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Rams To Start QB John Wolford

John Wolford will make his second career start today. The Rams will turn to their backup again, with Jared Goff active and serving as an emergency backup, Jay Glazer of Fox Sports tweets.

Goff underwent thumb surgery last week. Although the longtime Rams starter went through warmups, Sean McVay confirmed Wolford will make a second straight start.

Having previously never missed a start due to injury, Goff played after suffering the thumb injury in Seattle two weeks ago. He did not play well and then sat in Week 17. Wolford accounted for nearly 300 yards against Arizona last week, rushing for 56 on six carries.

A Wake Forest alum, Wolford began his pro career as a Jets UDFA in 2018. His most notable pre-Rams action came with the Alliance of American Football, however. When the AAF folded midway through its inaugural season, Wolford signed with the Rams in April 2019. He spent last season behind Goff and Blake Bortles. Despite the Rams signing Bortles off the Broncos’ practice squad, Wolford will start in Los Angeles’ playoff opener.

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Andrew Whitworth, Cooper Kupp, Michael Brockers Expected Back This Week

The Rams do not yet know who their starting quarterback will be in their Saturday wild-card game, but they are expecting a few critical reinforcements.

Out since mid-November, Andrew Whitworth remains on Los Angeles’ IR-DTR list. But the Rams expect their left tackle to return against the Seahawks, Sean McVay said Tuesday (via The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue, on Twitter). McVay also anticipates Cooper Kupp and Michael Brockers, who landed on the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list last week, to return to practice Wednesday, Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com tweets.

Whitworth missed the past seven games, having suffered MCL and PCL tears during the Rams’ first Seahawks meeting. The 39-year-old blocker returned to practice last week and has long been reported to have progressed quicker than expected. A return for Rams-Seahawks III would certainly boost the visitors’ chances.

Kupp and Brockers were not confirmed to have tested positive for the coronavirus, ut the Rams placed the longtime starters on the COVID list last week. Each missed the team’s regular-season finale. Had they contracted the virus, neither would be eligible to return to practice Wednesday.

Jared Goff has resumed throwing, per McVay, but the Rams have not yet determined whether he or backup John Wolford will start in Round 1. Despite having never thrown an NFL pass, Wolford accounted for nearly 300 yards in the Rams’ win over the Cardinals last week. Goff, who is recovering from thumb surgery, had never previously missed a start due to injury.

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Rams Planning To Sign QB Blake Bortles

With Jared Goff being sidelined by a thumb injury, the Rams will be turning to a familiar face. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter) that Los Angeles is planning to sign Blake Bortles off the Broncos practice squad.

However, this impending signing shouldn’t add any confusion to this weekend’s depth chart. The team announced that Goff is officially out in a crucial contest against the Cardinals, with John Wolford getting the start under center. Meanwhile, Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic explains (on Twitter) that the Rams will likely promote Bryce Perkins from the practice squad, meaning they’ll temporarily be holding four quarterbacks (Goff, Wolford, Bortles, Perkins) on their active roster. One or two of these quarterbacks will likely land on the Rams practice squad once Goff is ready to return.

Following a disappointing five-year stint with the Jaguars, Bortles signed a one-year deal with the Rams during the 2019 offseason. He proceeded to appear in three games last season, completing a single three-yard pass. After going unsigned throughout the 2020 offseason, Bortles joined the Broncos in September following an injury to Drew Lock. He was eventually released by Denver and landed back on their practice squad.

In 78 career games, Bortles has completed 59.3-percent of his passes for 17,649 yards, 103 touchdowns, and 75 interceptions. The two quarterbacks currently ahead of him on the depth chart, Wolford and Perkins, have yet to appear in an NFL game.

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Rams QB Jared Goff To Undergo Thumb Surgery

Jared Goff‘s regular season has likely come to an end, but it sounds like the quarterback could return if the Rams make the playoffs. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter) that Goff will undergo surgery tonight on his broken thumb. There hasn’t been any definitive word that the 26-year-old will miss the Rams’ crucial season finale against the Cardinals, but all signs are pointing to John Wolford being under center on Sunday.

Schefter adds (on Twitter) that the surgery that Goff underwent “gives him the best chance of an optimum result without a delay in return,” with the organization eyeing a postseason comeback. Meanwhile, Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic tweets that left tackle Andrew Whitworth could also be back for the start of the postseason, and that “alignment” could have been a contributing factor in Goff’s decision to go under the knife. We heard earlier today that Goff was battling a dislocated and broken thumb on his throwing hand. Surgery always seemed inevitable, but initial reports indicated that Goff was pushing to play this weekend.

The Rams control their own playoff destiny, as they can reach the postseason with a win over Arizona. Instead of having Goff under center, they’ll likely turn to Wolford, a former undrafted free agent out of Wake Forest. The 25-year-old started his career with the Jets before a stint in the AAF where he led the league in touchdowns. He joined the 49ers organization back in 2019 and has primarily been on their practice squad over the past year-plus.

If Goff’s season is indeed over, the former first-overall pick will have finished with a career-high passing percentage of 67.0. He also threw for 3,952 yards, 20 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions.

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Injury Updates: Goff, Rams, Murray, Cardinals, 49ers, Mixon, Bengals, Watkins, Chiefs, Edelman, Patriots

Things have gotten ugly for Jared Goff and the Rams’ offense the last couple of weeks, with back to back losses to the Jets and Seahawks in which Goff played poorly. Making matters worse, Los Angeles’ quarterback dislocated and broke his thumb during the loss to Seattle. It looks like there are a wide range of outcomes moving forward, with everything from Goff playing this Sunday to being out for the remainder of the season being on the table. Goff will require surgery on the thumb at some point but he’s hoping to push it back until after the season, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports (Twitter video link).

Rapsheet says that Goff is “adamant” about pushing to play in Week 17 and that he at least has a “shot” to be under center. If the Bears lose to the Packers on Sunday then the Rams are in the playoffs no matter what, but if Chicago beats Green Bay then the Rams will need to beat the Cardinals to get in. It sounds like Goff is going to try to push through and suit up for the playoffs even if he isn’t able to be out there on Sunday. Goff is meeting with specialist Dr. Steven Shin today, the same doctor who treated Drew Brees‘ thumb injury last year, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Obviously Brees missed a handful of games with that injury last year, although hopefully for the Rams this isn’t as severe. If Goff is forced to miss the game against Arizona, it’ll mean the first regular season NFL action for former Wake Forest and AAF star John Wolford.

Here are more health issues from around the league entering the final week of the season:

  • Goff isn’t the only banged up quarterback in this pivotal game. Kyler Murray has already dealt with a lingering shoulder injury this season, and he also hurt his leg at the end of Arizona’s Week 16 loss to San Francisco. Speaking to the media Monday head coach Kliff Kingsbury was vague, only deeming it a “lower leg” injury and saying they won’t put Murray out there if he can’t be effective. If the Cards win on Sunday, they’re in. If they don’t, they’re out. In a game of this magnitude, you have to figure Murray is going to play if it’s at all possible, but right now Kingsbury is saying it’s up in the air. This will be a situation to monitor closely, but either way it sounds like Murray is going to be at less than 100 percent against Aaron Donald and co.
  • One last dispatch from the NFC West. The 49ers picked up an upset of the Cardinals, but their injury-plagued season continued. They dropped at least two more starters, as rookie receiver Brandon Aiyuk and left tackle Trent Williams both won’t play in Week 17 due to injuries they suffered against Arizona, Kyle Shanahan said Monday. Shanahan also said he’d be shocked if Jimmy Garoppolo plays this weekend, meaning C.J. Beathard should get another crack at it. Aiyuk has flashed a lot of promise, and 49ers fans have to be excited about his 2021 potential. It’s possible we’ve seen Garoppolo play his last snap as a 49er.
  • Joe Mixon‘s 2020 campaign is officially in the books. The Bengals running back won’t play this weekend, head coach Zac Taylor confirmed Monday. Mixon hasn’t played since all the way back in Week 6 due to a foot injury, but the team kept insisting he was only week to week this whole time. Mixon signed a four-year, $48MM extension back in September, so he’s in Cincy for the long-haul.
  • Chiefs fans can breathe a little easier. Receiver Sammy Watkins went down with a calf injury yesterday, but Rapoport tweets it isn’t believed to be major. Given Watkins’ injury history, that’s a big relief. Rapoport writes that Watkins will rest in Week 17, but that there’s a “good chance” he’s back for Kansas City’s first playoff game.
  • Another player whose season, and quite possibly career, is over: Patriots receiver Julian Edelman. Rapoport tweets that Edelman won’t be activated for tonight’s Monday Night Football showdown with the Bills, and that it’s “unlikely” he plays next week either. Edelman is under contract for next season but he’ll turn 35 in May, so it’s entirely fair to wonder whether he’ll end up retiring. The legendary Patriot, who has spent all 12 years of his career in New England, was limited to only six games this year due to a knee injury.

This Date In Transactions History: Rams Sign No. 1 Overall Pick Jared Goff

Four years ago today, the Rams officially signed No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff. The Rams were happy to sign the promising young Cal product to a four-year, $28MM deal in accordance with his slot, though they paid a hefty price for the right to draft him in the first place. 

[RELATED: This Date In Transactions History: 49ers Trade Issac Bruce To The Rams]

After a classic Jeff Fisher middle-of-the-pack season, the Rams came into the offseason with the No. 15 overall pick and a major crush on Goff. A couple weeks before the draft, they pried the top choice away from the Titans with a Godfather offer, a package that included two 2016 second-round picks, plus 2017 first- and third-round choices.

Goff wasn’t everyone’s preferred quarterback in that class, but the Rams saw Goff as a more polished passer than North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz. It was hard to argue with Goff’s potential – he threw for nearly 8,700 combined yards and 78 touchdowns during his final two college seasons. And, in his final year, he established new personal watermarks by completing 64.5% of his passes and throwing for 4,714 yards and 43 TDs.

With Goff under center, the Rams reached the Super Bowl following the 2018 season. After Goff threw for 4,688 yards, 32 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions in the regular season and brought them to a snoozer of a championship game, the Rams rewarded him with a four-year, $134MM deal with $110MM guaranteed. Goff’s 2019 showing has raised some question marks about his second contract, but the Rams can’t complain about his first deal.

In keeping with team tradition, the Rams also signed the rest of their entire 2016 draft class on this same day. Thanks to the blockbuster deal to get Goff, the Rams’ next pick didn’t come until the fourth round at No. 110 overall, when they selected the troubled-yet-talented Tyler Higbee, a tight end out of Western Kentucky. In October of last year, the remainder of the class looked pretty unremarkable. But, after Higbee’s incredible finish last year, the Rams’ report card deserves a revised grade.

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Rams Restructure Jared Goff’s Contract

The Rams have officially announced the signings of free agents Leonard Floyd and A’Shawn Robinson, and in order to create the necessary cap space, Los Angeles has restructured the contract of quarterback Jared Goff, reports Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The Rams will create $7MM in cap space via the restructure, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Because of their dire cap situation, the Rams were essentially forced to rework Goff’s deal in order to fit Floyd and Robinson on their roster. Over the Cap has already figured Robinson’s 2020 cap hit into Los Angeles’ figures, but it has the Rams at nearly $6MM over the cap without accounting for Floyd’s contract, which will reportedly pay him at least $10MM during the upcoming season.

Goff, 25, inked a four-year, $134MM extension with the Rams last September. He’d been scheduled to have a cap charge north of $36MM (yes, you read that correctly) in 2020, which would have been the largest figure in the league.

Instead, Los Angeles will convert most of Goff’s $10MM salary into a signing bonus and spread out that money over the next five years. While the move will give the Rams some breathing room in 2020, it will make it even more difficult to cut Goff down the line.

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Rams Rumors: Kupp, Goff, Gurley, Matthews

The latest on the Rams:

  • With one year left on his deal, wide receiver Cooper Kupp says he isn’t sweating the Rams for an extension. “There’s so much going on in the world right now,” Kupp said (Twitter link via Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times). “It’s not really a priority at this time.” Cupp, 27 in June, managed 94 catches, 1,161 yards, and ten touchdowns last year – all career highs.
  • If the Rams need additional cap room, Jared Goff is open to a restructuring of his deal. “I don’t see why not,” said the quarterback, who added that it’s a matter to be discussed between his agent and Rams COO Kevin Demoff (Twitter link via Omar Ruiz of NFL.com). Thanks to the four-year, $134MM extension he signed last fall, Goff is under contract with L.A. through 2024.
  • After parting ways with the Rams, running back Todd Gurley and linebacker Clay Matthews said that the team was late on money they were still owed. In an interview on the NFL Network, GM Les Snead said that they will, in fact, get their bonus checks. However, the Rams disagree with Gurley and Matthews on the language of the contracts – the Rams believe that they’re not due to pay for some time. The Rams, in theory, could wait until other clubs pick up part of the tab via offset language.