Rams Rumors

Rams Exercise Jared Goff’s Option

The Rams have exercised Jared Goff‘s fifth-year option, according to a team announcement. With that move, the quarterback is now under contract through the 2020 season.

Some of this year’s fifth-year option calls may be tricky, but this one goes in the no-brainer category. After a rough start to his professional career, Goff has been named to the Pro Bowl in each of the past two years under the tutelage of head coach Sean McVay. He of course led the Rams to an NFC Championship and a Super Bowl appearance in 2018, and his stat line from last season — 32 TDs against 12 interceptions, a 64.9% completion percentage, and a 101.1 QB rating — indicate that he will be the club’s signal-caller for a long time.

Los Angeles has not yet broached a re-up with Goff, but given that he is now under club control through 2020, there’s not a ton of urgency on that front just yet. When asked about an extension recently, Goff said, Not on my mind at all. I know the deal and understand that I hired an agent for that reason, and things always work out. You continue to play well, it will work itself out.”

Goff will earn a little over $4.2MM this year, and the fifth-year option will pay him $22.783MM in 2020 if the two sides do not work out a long-term deal before then. His 2020 salary is guaranteed for injury only, but McVay indicated recently he is pleased with Goff’s career track, despite Goff’s shaky Super Bowl outing, so it is hard to imagine Goff and the Rams parting ways anytime soon.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Memphis RB Darrell Henderson Met With Four Teams

Memphis running back Darrell Henderson is now considered a possibility to sneak into the back end of the first round of the draft, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link), who adds Henderson has recently met with the Rams, Eagles, Raiders, and Cardinals.

Henderson (5’9″, 200) topped 1,000 rushing yards in each of the past two seasons and averaged an astounding 8.9 yards per carry in both campaigns. He ranks fourth behind Josh Jacobs (Alabama), Miles Sanders (Penn State), and Devin Singletary (FAU) on The Draft Network‘s running back rankings, and Lance Zierlein of NFL.com calls Henderson a “home run hitter” while comparing him to now-49er Tevin Coleman.

Henderson is exceptional at running out of the shotgun formation: over the last four college seasons, Henderson ranks third in Graham Barfield’s Yards Created metric — which attempts to identify production a running back generated on his own, independent of offensive line play — out of shotgun. Circling back to the the four clubs Henderson has recently visited, the Eagles ranked fifth league-wide in shotgun run rate, per Warren Sharp. The Raiders finished 11th, the Cardinal 23rd, and the Rams dead last (just 4%).

Rams To Pick Up Jared Goff’s Fifth-Year Option

One of a few 2016 first-round picks with fairly open-and-shut fifth-year option decisions, Jared Goff will soon see his rookie contract extended to 2020.

The Rams plan to pick up their two-time Pro Bowl quarterback’s fifth-year option, Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times writes. This will tie Goff to a $22.783MM 2020 salary.

Goff became extension-eligible this year, joining 2016 No. 2 overall pick Carson Wentz in that regard. While the Eagles are hoping to extend Wentz this year, the Rams have not discussed a Goff re-up yet. Both teams have plenty of high-priced veterans, though the Rams have higher-profile deals on their payroll due to their 2018 extensions for Aaron Donald, Todd Gurley and Brandin Cooks.

Not on my mind at all,” Goff said, via Klein, of an extension. “I know the deal and understand that I hired an agent for that reason, and things always work out. You continue to play well, it will work itself out.”

It is possible the Rams ($5.4MM in cap space) could table Goff’s extension until after the 2019 season, but after ’19, Patrick Mahomes becomes eligible for a new deal. His next contract will raise the bar higher than Russell Wilson‘s did. While Goff has not accomplished what Mahomes has, from an individual perspective, he does have two Pro Bowl seasons and is only going into his age-25 campaign.

The 2016 No. 1 overall pick set new benchmarks with 4,688 passing yards and 32 touchdown throws last season, the yardage a near-1,000-yard spike from his 2017 figure. Sean McVay indicated recently he is pleased with Goff’s career track, despite the Los Angeles starter’s shaky Super Bowl outing.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Draft Rumors: Taylor, Ford, Sweat

Florida offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor met with the Bengals on Tuesday, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Taylor, who stands 6’5″ and 328 pounds, certainly has the size requirements favored by new Cincinnati offensive line coach Jim Turner, but it’s unclear if the ex-Gator will be available when the Bengals make their first-round selection at No. 11. Along with Jonah Williams (Alabama), Andre Dillard (Washington State), and Cody Ford (Oklahoma), Taylor is considered one of the best tackle prospects available in the 2019 draft. If selected by the Bengals, Taylor could immediately take over at right tackle, displacing the recently re-signed Bobby Hart, and would be a long-term option to replace Cordy Glenn on the blindside.

Here’s more on the 2019 NFL draft:

  • Speaking of Ford, the Oklahoma offensive lineman has been extremely busy during the pre-draft season. Per Aaron Wilson the Houston Chronicle, Ford has met with and/or worked out for the Patriots, Eagles, Buccaneers, Vikings, Texans, Cardinals, and Falcons. That’s in addition to his previously-reported stops with the Bengals and Panthers. Ford was a first-team All-Big 12 selection in 2018 and helped Oklahoma win the Joe Moore Award, given to the country’s best offensive line. A left guard in both 2016 and 2017, Ford shifted to right tackle for the 2018 campaign.
  • The Texans are meeting with Mississippi State edge rusher Montez Sweat on Wednesday, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Sweat is considered of the best defensive ends in the draft (especially after blowing up the combine), so Houston would likely need to trade up from No. 23 overall in order to land him. After starting his collegiate career at Michigan State, Sweat spent two years with the Bulldogs, racking up 22.5 sacks and 30 tackles for loss during that time.
  • Washington cornerback Byron Murphy has met with the Panthers, Chiefs, and Cardinals in addition to his visit with the Steelers, tweets Wilson. In 2018, Murphy earned a spot on the first-team All-Pac-12 list after putting up 37 tackles, four interceptions, and 13 interceptions. Regarded as a first-round pick by most observers, Murphy is the No. 6 overall player on Pro Football Focus’ draft board after allowing only a 47.7% completion percentage against and forcing 17 incompletions.
  • The Rams hosted Mississippi State safety Johnathan Abram on Tuesday, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link). Abram, who has also met with the Cowboys and Cardinals, is part of a closely-clustered safety class that could start coming off the board at the end of the first round. Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com, notably, ranks Abram as the No. 1 safety prospect of 2019. Arbam posted two interceptions, three sacks, and nine tackles for loss last year.

Minor NFL Transactions: 4/17/19

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

  • Signed: OL Brant Weiss (Alliance of American Football)

Chicago Bears

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

New York Giants

Oakland Raiders

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

McVay Backs Goff

It’s been a rollercoaster of a ride for Jared Goff these past few years. The first overall pick back in 2016, a lot of people wrote him off as a bust after his disastrous rookie season. But Goff came alive once he was paired with head coach Sean McVay, and has now made the Pro Bowl each of the last two seasons. This past season, the Rams made it all the way to the Super Bowl but Goff had a terrible performance in the big game. There’s been a lot of debate the past couple of years about how much of Goff’s improvement was due to his own natural development versus how much of it was due to McVay’s coaching.

As such, there have been some rumors that the Rams aren’t completely sold on Goff as the longterm answer. McVay openly stating last month that the team wasn’t in any rush to extend Goff did nothing to quiet those rumors. But during a recent appearance on The Rich Eisen show, McVay pushed back on that perception, saying Goff doesn’t have to prove he’s “the man.” “I think he’s already the man. I think he’s had a lot of moments,” McVay said. “His teammates believe in him, his coaches believe in him. I think it’s just continuing to do what you do at a higher level. It’s ‘can I continue to make great decisions? Can I continue to make throws with accuracy and anticipation?’ I think the thing that was great about him really from the first year we were together to last year is the ownership. We talk about the quarterback being an extension of the coaching staff and I think he did that.”

NFL Draft Rumors: Brown, Harry, Cardinals

This week’s combine re-checks produced very positive news for Oklahoma wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Brown, who has been out of a boot for weeks, was given the thumbs up on his surgically-repaired foot.

Despite the injury, the 5’9″ receiver is widely projected as a first round pick. Last year, Brown put himself on the NFL radar with 75 catches for 1,318 yards and ten touchdowns.

Here’s the latest NFL Draft buzz:

  • Arizona State wide receiver N’Keal Harry will work out for the Cardinals on April 20 at ASU, according to a source who spoke with ESPN.com’s Josh Weinfuss (on Twitter). Head coach Kliff Kingsbury, GM Steve Keim, and president Michael Bidwill will be among those on hand for Harry’s only private NFL workout. Harry isn’t a contender for the No. 1 overall pick, but he could be a candidate for the Cardinals’ first pick of the second round (No. 33 overall)
  • The Rams are meeting with Clemson defensive linemen Dexter Lawrence and Clelin Ferrell on campus, Rapoport tweets. Both players are expected to go in the first round, but the Rams may be out of range at No. 31 overall.
  • Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams will visit the Jaguars on Thursday, a source tells ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link).
  • Houston cornerback Isaiah Johnson will work out for the Falcons on Thursday, Rapoport tweets. The converted wide receiver came away with two interceptions in each of the last two seasons and could go as high as the second round.

Minor NFL Transactions: 4/10/19

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

  • Waived: G Parker Ehinger, DT Aziz Shittu

Green Bay Packers

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

New York Jets

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Rams Part Of Ferguson's 22-Team Tour

  • Staying on the subject of draft-eligible ends, Jaylon Ferguson‘s extensive April tour of NFL cities continues. Among the teams on his reported 22-visit tour: the Bills, Giants, Colts, Eagles, Cowboys, Titans and Rams, per NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). Ferguson met with the Bills on Monday; he will head southeast for his Giants powwow next. His visits with the Colts and Eagles are on tap for this week, with the Cowboys, Titans and Rams meetings are slated for next week. The Bucs and Bengals were already on the Louisiana Tech-produced pass rusher’s docket.