Sean McVay

Rams Extend GM Les Snead

Throughout the offseason, new deals were expected to be finalized for Rams head coach Sean McVay and general manager Les Snead. Per a team announcement on Thursday, both are indeed set to remain with the team for years to come. 

McVay had already confirmed his new deal one month ago, and he made it clear at that time that an announcement regarding Snead would be forthcoming. With the Rams’ title defense beginning in a matter of hours, many expected that announcement to come today. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweets that the pair are now on the books through the 2026 season.

To no surprise, both McVay and Snead are now thought to be among the league’s highest-paid at their respective positions. The Rams have seen consistent success during their time guiding the franchise, including last season’s Super Bowl win. That has come during Snead’s increasing reliance on his unorthodox roster-building strategy of forgoing premium draft picks in return for proven commodities at important positions (including, most notably, quarterback Matthew Stafford).

Los Angeles has not made a first-round selection since 2016, and does not own one until 2024. Still, the effectiveness of the 51-year-old’s actions led to joint extensions for both he and McVay in 2019. Another set of deals keeping them together was widely expected to be the team’s preference, and became possible once the latter confirmed that he would continue coaching in lieu of a broadcasting career.

Snead has held his current title since 2012, ranking him in the top-10 with respect to the NFL’s longest-tenured GMs. He will look to continue climbing the ladder in that regard, while seeking continuity on the roster he has molded into a champion. Much of that has already been taken care of, with new deals being signed in recent months by Stafford, defensive tackle Aaron Donald and receiver Cooper Kupp.

The long-term future of the organization has been questioned by some given the ‘all-in’ nature of Snead’s moves. Further titles remain possible for at least the next few years, however, and he will still be at the helm if/when the team’s Super Bowl window closes given today’s news.

Sean McVay Confirms Rams Extension

Amidst the several headline-grabbing financial moves the Rams have made this offseason, it has been widely expected that a new deal for head coach Sean McVay was among the team’s priorities. He confirmed on Tuesday that a new contract has indeed been agreed upon (Twitter link via Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic). 

McVay made the announcement during a press conference; details on the length and value of the deal are still unknown, and likely will be for some time. He added that the team will wait to officially announce it until an extension with general manager Les Snead is finalized, tweets NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

“Les and I have always been a pair,” McVay said, via ESPN’s Sarah Barshop. “We wanted to be able to announce that when both of us [had] gotten done. Mine is done. Les is in the process of that.”

The 36-year-old recently spoke about his decision to decline a broadcasting deal and remain on the sidelines with the defending champions. The possibility of his departure loomed over their Super Bowl victory, but McVay had two years remaining on his contract before today’s news. He has also widely been expected to receive a substantial raise from the $8.5MM annual value of his old pact.

Likewise, it comes as little surprise that McVay and Snead will be re-upped simultaneously. The two signed joint extensions in 2019, and have achieved significant success together. A new contract for Snead was considered an inevitability once those of Matthew Stafford, Aaron Donald and Cooper Kupp were taken care of. McVay’s remarks point to both extensions being made official in the near future.

With much of their championship core still intact from last season, the Rams are contenders to repeat in 2022. With McVay (and, all-but assuredly, Snead) remaining at the helm for several years into the future, their intermediate future looks positive as well.

Latest On Aaron Donald’s Playing Future

Among the many moves made this offseason by the Rams was a re-working of Aaron Donald‘s contract. No new years were added to his existing pact, but the future Hall of Famer received a record-setting raise in the process. 

That provided more clarity on Donald’s immediate playing future – something which was in question especially after the Rams won the Super Bowl, and has been speculated on in conjunction with that of head coach Sean McVay. Recent comments from the d-lineman confirm that their football fates are in fact intertwined.

When asked if he still would have played in 2022 had McVay stepped aside in favor of a broadcasting role, Donald said (via NFL.com’s Bobby Kownack), “not at all. I told Sean when he first got here. We came up with some things early and I first told him as long as he’s the head coach here, I want to continue to build my legacy with him. As long as he’s here and I got the ability to still play at a high level, I’m going to be here.”

McVay will coach for at least the upcoming season, though progress is being made on an extension which will keep him in the fold for several years beyond that. The end of his Rams tenure could very easily be the end of Donald’s as well, though, as he also said, “when [McVay’s] gone and it’s all said and done, that probably will be when I’m hanging it up, too.”

Donald, 31, is under contract for another two years, but he has hardly slowed down with age. Now the league’s highest-paid non-QB under his new deal, he is set to earn $95MM over that term. McVay is likewise in line for a raise when his extension is finalized, setting the pair up to continue the success they have enjoyed together. How long they will remain in their current positions will be a consistent storyline in the short- and medium-term future.

Latest On Sean McVay Contract Talks

The Rams’ Super Bowl win came amidst questions regarding Sean McVay’s future on the sidelines. Those have been put to rest in the short-term, but his contract status remains an important talking point for the defending champions. 

Part of the speculation surrounding the 36-year-old’s intentions sprung from the possibility that he would walk away from the sidelines in favor of a media career. As he recounted recently, conversations with quarterback Matt Stafford and receiver Cooper Kupp helped convince him to remain in the position which has delivered unprecedented success.

“It was really when those guys came in, and I could see how genuine and authentic it was,” McVay said, via Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer“That was when I looked them in the eye and said, I’m not doing that” in reference to leaving the team to pursue a media role. “I think more than anything, all the emotions that are released when you’re able to [win a Super Bowl], and you’ve got other opportunities, it’s like… ‘that’s an exciting option.’

“But when you really sit down and think about it, the things I love most about coaching… it’s the amount of people that would potentially be affected… I love coaching. I love working with guys. I love being in the foxhole with the players and coaches. And you can’t mimic and emulate that in a media job.”

McVay’s current deal runs through 2023, but he has long been expected to receive an extension (along with, presumably, a significant raise from his $8.5MM salary). Finalizing a new contract this offseason was essentially deemed an inevitability in March by COO Kevin Demoff. That still hasn’t happened yet, but progress is being made.

McVay is presently feeling “really good” about contract talks, adding that he considers it “more than likely” his extension will be hammered out before the start of the season (Twitter links via ESPN’s Sarah Barshop). Not surprisingly, he adds that the term on his new deal will align with that of GM Les Snead; the two signed joint extensions in 2019.

The Rams have taken care of the contracts for several notable players, including Stafford, Kupp and Aaron Donald already this offseason. More work remains on that front, but the team’s head coach and general manager should be on the books for the foreseeable future by the time their title defense commences.

Rams HC Sean McVay Has Regrets Over Handling Of Jared Goff Trade

It’s been a bit more than a year since Jared Goff was sent packing to Detroit. Things worked out well for the Rams; trade acquisition Matthew Stafford helped guide the organization to a Super Bowl championship. The front office obviously has no regrets with how things turned out, but Sean McVay recently admitted that he’d like a re-do when it comes to how he handled the trade with his former starting QB.

During an appearance on Mike Silver’s Open Mike podcast, McVay said he could have done a better job of communicating the team’s intentions at quarterback to Goff.

“That was a hard thing for me because the thing that’s more important than anything is being a good communicator — clear, open, and honest. Making sure people aren’t caught off guard and really having respect for the players and the coaches for what they have to do. And I wish that there had been better in-person communication,” McVay said (h/t to Myles Simmons of ProFootballTalk.com). “The one thing that hurt me is that I would never want anything to be misunderstood about my appreciation, my respect for Jared. Was it a tough decision? Yes. Were there some things that I could’ve handled better in terms of the clarity provided for him? No doubt.

“If I had it over again, what I would do is, before I had even gone to Cabo, when there was a possibility of, alright, if Matthew Stafford’s available, if there’s other quarterbacks available, that would be something that we would explore — you sit down with him, you look him in the eye, you tell him that instead of calling him and setting up a meeting where that was my intention when I got back from Cabo.”

At one time, it would have been crazy to suggest that the Rams would move on from Goff. The 2016 first-overall pick earned Pro Bowl nods in both 2017 and 2018, and he made it to the Super Bowl during that latter season. Following that Super Bowl loss, the Rams signed Goff to a four-year, $134MM extension, with the $100MM in guaranteed money setting a then-record. Indeed, it seemed like the Rams and McVay were fully committed to their starting QB.

However, after averaging 12 wins between the 2017 and 2018 campaigns, the Rams averaged only 9.5 victories in 2019 and 2020. The Rams started considering changes, and with Stafford available in Detroit, the organization decided to make a move. According to McVay, the trade negotiations came together quicker than anticipated; what the Rams “thought was going to be a week’s worth of time ended up happening in about 24 to 36 hours.” As a result, the organization didn’t have an opportunity to truly prep Goff for the impending move.

“So all in all, biggest thing I regret, [not] being able to sit down, look him in the eye and be able to communicate kind of where we are, what we were going to try to do moving forward,” McVay said. “And for that, I regret it, I’ll not make those same mistakes again.

“But, I care about Jared. He sure as hell did a lot of good things. And I think the thing that shows what a stud, what a class act he really is, is one of the best text messages I got after the Super Bowl was from Jared Goff. And so, I think the further we get away, the more appreciation that we’ll have for the great four years that we did have together — because there were a lot of really good times. … But all in all, just the better communication, better clarity is what I would’ve wanted. And I didn’t like the outside narrative, but I think he knows where my heart was. And I was glad we were able to connect, sit down, be honest with each other, and I think we both have a lot of respect for each other. And I wish I’d handled it better as a leader for him.”

The NFL’s Longest-Tenured Head Coaches

The NFL experienced a busy offseason on the coaching front. A whopping 10 teams changed coaches during the 2022 offseason, with the Buccaneers’ late-March switch pushing the number into double digits.

Fourteen of the league’s 32 head coaches were hired in the past two offseasons, illustrating the increased pressure the NFL’s sideline leaders face in today’s game. Two of the coaches replaced this year left on their own. Sean Payton vacated his spot in second on the longest-tenured HCs list by stepping down from his 16-year Saints post in February, while Bruce Arians has repeatedly insisted his Bucs exit was about giving his defensive coordinator a chance with a strong roster and not a Tom Brady post-retirement power play.

While Bill Belichick has been the league’s longest-tenured HC for many years, Payton’s exit moved Mike Tomlin up to No. 2. Mike Zimmer‘s firing after nine seasons moved Frank Reich into the top 10. Reich’s HC opportunity only came about because Josh McDaniels spurned the Colts in 2018, but Indianapolis’ backup plan has led the team to two playoff brackets and has signed an extension. Reich’s seat is hotter in 2022, however, after a January collapse. Linked to numerous HC jobs over the past several offseasons, McDaniels finally took another swing after his Broncos tenure ended quickly.

As 2022’s training camps approach, here are the NFL’s longest-tenured HCs:

  1. Bill Belichick (New England Patriots): January 27, 2000
  2. Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers): January 27, 2007; extended through 2024
  3. John Harbaugh (Baltimore Ravens): January 19, 2008; extended through 2025
  4. Pete Carroll (Seattle Seahawks): January 9, 2010; extended through 2025
  5. Andy Reid (Kansas City Chiefs): January 4, 2013; extended through 2025
  6. Sean McDermott (Buffalo Bills): January 11, 2017; extended through 2025
  7. Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams): January 12, 2017; extended through 2023
  8. Kyle Shanahan (San Francisco 49ers): February 6, 2017; extended through 2025
  9. Mike Vrabel (Tennessee Titans): January 20, 2018; signed extension in February 2022
  10. Frank Reich (Indianapolis Colts): February 11, 2018; extended through 2026
  11. Kliff Kingsbury (Arizona Cardinals): January 8, 2019; extended through 2027
  12. Matt LaFleur (Green Bay Packers): January 8, 2019
  13. Zac Taylor (Cincinnati Bengals): February 4, 2019; extended through 2026
  14. Ron Rivera (Washington Football Team): January 1, 2020
  15. Matt Rhule (Carolina Panthers): January 7, 2020
  16. Mike McCarthy (Dallas Cowboys): January 7, 2020
  17. Kevin Stefanski (Cleveland Browns): January 13, 2020
  18. Robert Saleh (New York Jets): January 15, 2021
  19. Arthur Smith (Atlanta Falcons): January 15, 2021
  20. Brandon Staley (Los Angeles Chargers): January 17, 2021
  21. Dan Campbell (Detroit Lions): January 20, 2021
  22. Nick Sirianni (Philadelphia Eagles): January 21, 2021
  23. Nathaniel Hackett (Denver Broncos): January 27, 2022
  24. Matt Eberflus (Chicago Bears): January 27, 2022
  25. Brian Daboll (New York Giants): January 28, 2022
  26. Josh McDaniels (Las Vegas Raiders): January 30, 2022
  27. Kevin O’Connell (Minnesota Vikings): February 2, 2022
  28. Doug Pederson (Jacksonville Jaguars): February 3, 2022
  29. Mike McDaniel (Miami Dolphins): February 6, 2022
  30. Dennis Allen (New Orleans Saints): February 7, 2022
  31. Lovie Smith (Houston Texans): February 7, 2022
  32. Todd Bowles (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): March 30, 2022

Sean McVay Comments On Aaron Donald Situation

We recently wrote about some comments made by Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald during an appearance on the I Am Athlete podcast. Donald’s comments echoed sentiments we heard after the team’s Super Bowl victory that the 31-year-old might be done playing football after eight years in the league. Specifically, Donald seemed to indicate that if he and the Rams can’t come to an agreement on a new contract, he would be “at peace” with his career coming to a close. 

Earlier this week, Rams head coach Sean McVay remarked on the comments and his view of the situation with Donald, according to Cameron DaSilva of USA Today. “We’ve had great dialogue,” McVay stated. “The goal all along has been to try to get this thing figured out, but also like I’ve said, if there’s anybody that’s earned the right to make the decision on their own terms…it’s Aaron.”

McVay went on to frame the situation in an optimistic light. “Things are trending in the right direction,” he continued. “We have regular dialogue with Aaron and the goal is to figure out how to get a contract done that he feels good about, that we feel good about, and have him continue to do his thing for the Rams leading the way.”

Donald currently has three years remaining on his six-year, $135MM contract. He’s only due to make $14.25MM next year, though, and Donald is seeking a raise based on everything he’s done for the Rams since signing that deal in 2018. Donald hasn’t appeared at OTAs this year, but that’s hardly out of the ordinary for the completely voluntary workouts.

When asked if Donald will be at mandatory minicamp next week, McVay expressed some hope. “I think so. That’s the plan right now, so we’ll see. I sure hope so, so I don’t have to answer your questions next week about it,” McVay joked. “No, I think he’ll be here. That’s the plan.”

Latest On Rams’ Snead, McVay, Donald, Kupp

While they have made a number of big-name additions in recent years, a key core of players and personnel have been present throughout the recent success the Rams have enjoyed. Included among those is general manager Les Snead and head coach Sean McVay, along with All-Pros Aaron Donald and Cooper Kupp. According to Jourdan Rodrigue of the Athletic, each member of that quartet is in line for new or re-worked contracts. 

As chief operating officer Kevin Demoff recently confirmed, both Snead and McVay “will receive contract extensions prior to the official start of the 2022 season”. It had been known for some time that McVay would be getting a new deal after he confirmed his intention to continue coaching. Likewise, Snead been extended parallel to McVay in recent years, including their joint re-signing in 2019.

They want to be aligned”, Demoff said. “They speak the same language and they see football the same way. They’re motivated to build teams together the same way. When you find that partnership, you want to keep it.”

As for Donald, Rodrigue reports that “the team is working out a new contract for [him] and expects it to be done soon”. The three-time Defensive Player of the Year has three years remaining on his current deal, which he signed in 2018 following a holdout one year earlier. There is optimism a repeat of that will be avoided, as negotiations have “been nothing but positive” for an extension which is thought to represent a large raise on his current $22.5MM-per-year pact.

For Kupp, meanwhile, an extension – or at least a restructure of his current deal – will become the priority after Donald. He has two years remaining on a contract which is set to pay him just over $14.5MM per season. While the 29-year-old isn’t “looking to top the [WR] pay charts”, as far as the front office is aware, a raise spread out over a longer term is their goal. Doing so could open up some needed financial flexibility, given the addition of Allen Robinson and the teams’ ongoing efforts to re-sign Odell Beckham Jr.

While change is inevitable for any team – even Super Bowl winners – it appears much of the Rams’ nucleus will be remaining in Los Angeles for the foreseeable future.

NFC Coaching Notes: 49ers, Rams, Vikings, Giants

Kyle Shanahan has had to deal with quite a bit of turnover on his coaching staff this offseason. One of the most notable additions was made last night, however. According to his (now former) ESPN colleague Adam Schefter, San Francisco has brought in Brian Griese to become the team’s new quarterbacks coach (Twitter link).

This marks the first time the 46-year-old will hold a coaching role at the college or NFL level. He had followed in his father’s footsteps in terms of transitioning from a playing career to the broadcast booth. He initially joined ESPN’s college crew, before being brought on to the Monday Night Football broadcast team in 2020. That followed an 11-year career in the NFL, including five seasons with the Broncos where he won a Super Bowl as John Elway’ s backup.

The former Rose Bowl MVP will replace Rich Scangarello, who left the Bay Area to become the offensive coordinator at Kentucky. His first season on the sidelines will be an important one, with the team expected to transition to Trey Lance as their new starting QB. How quickly he meshes with Shanahan – who was on the Bucs’ staff when Griese played in Tampa – will be critical to the team’s success in 2022.

Here are some other notes from the NFC:

  • Before hiring Griese, San Francisco interviewed ex-Bears QBs coach John Defilippo “and a few others”, according to Sirius XM’s Adam Caplan (Twitter link). In related 49ers’ news, running backs coach Bobby Turner will take this season off to rehab from two surgeries. However, the 72-year-old intends to return in 2023, tweets David Lombardi of The Athletic.
  • Staying in the NFC West, Rams assistant head coach Thomas Brown will transition from coaching running backs to tight ends, per Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic (Twitter link). He will be a valuable staffer for Sean McVay, who has also lost a number of assistants in 2022; Brown will hire his replacement.
  • The Vikings have announced several additions to their staff, as noted by Chris Tomasson of The St. Paul Pioneer Press (on Twitter). Among them are Tony Sorrentino as an assistant WRs coach, Derron Montgomery as an offensive quality control coach and Ryan Cordell as a passing game specialist. On the defense side of the ball, the Vikings are bringing in A’Lique Terry to assist on the defensive line, as well as Steve Donatell – the son of new DC Ed Donatell – as a defensive quality control coach.
  • The Giants have hired Angela Baker to be an offensive quality control coach, per a team announcement. She is the first recipient of the Rosie Brown Minority Coaching Fellowship, and joins Laura Young as the other woman on the team’s staff.

Sean McVay Will Not Pursue TV Jobs In 2022

Sean McVay continues to reaffirm his commitment to the Rams. After the sixth-year Rams coach’s fiancée confirmed he did not plan to retire, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com adds the recent rumored NFL television shakeups will not affect McVay’s status.

The Super Bowl-winning head coach is not actively pursuing a TV job, Schefter tweets. McVay confirmed this to ESPN. While the rumblings of McVay leaving the coaching ranks at a young age may not be going away, this appears a back-burner issue for now.

McVay, 36, was linked to retirement rumors ahead of Super Bowl LVI. At the Rams’ victory parade, however, he incited a “Run it back” chant alongside Aaron Donald, who was also linked to a surprise retirement. A Donald exit would still surprise, though he has not definitively announced he is returning like McVay now has.

McVay was then mentioned as a possible option for Fox, which is set to lose top analyst Troy Aikman to ESPN, according to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post. Amazon also was planning a McVay pursuit, per Marchand. Aikman leaving Fox for Monday Night Football could set off major changes, with Al Michaels’ NBC play-by-play job also in flux. Michaels, linked to Amazon as well, has a good relationship with McVay, Marchand adds, bringing more smoke into this situation.

The Rams are believed to be planning another McVay extension. He is currently attached to an $8.5MM-per-year agreement, one he signed in 2019. With Tony Romo earning nearly $20MM in salary at CBS, McVay could have conceivably commanded a far more lucrative salary as a TV analyst than he does as a coach. However, the Rams should be expected to raise McVay’s coaching salary considerably this offseason. It perhaps should be the expectation this saga ends with McVay becoming the NFL’s new highest-paid HC.