Sean McVay

QB Notes: Goff, Rams, Lions, Fields, Hawks

Had John Wolford made it through the Rams‘ wild-card win over the Seahawks healthy, Sean McVay was prepared to start him over Jared Goff against the Packers (assuming the Rams would have won in Round 1 with their backup), Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com notes. Wolford suffered a first-quarter neck injury that brought Goff back into action. McVay decided shortly after the Rams’ Week 17 game that Wolford would start over Goff in Seattle, despite not yet gauging Goff’s progress after thumb surgery. Considering the disparity between Goff and Wolford’s contracts and the nature of their arrivals — the former a No. 1 overall pick and the latter a UDFA who played in the Alliance of American Football — the gap between them narrowing to this degree is striking.

McVay and Goff’s relationship deteriorated over the course of the 2020 season, and the Los Angeles HC openly pondered if the Rams could return to a Super Bowl with Goff at the controls, Thiry adds. While Matthew Stafford will provide the Rams with a considerable upgrade in arm strength, Thiry notes McVay’s issues with Goff did not stem from his arm talent. But Goff’s inconsistency resulted in him dropping from 10th in QBR in 2018 to 22nd in ’19 and 23rd last season. The former No. 1 overall pick will receive a fresh start in Detroit.

Here is the latest from the quarterback world:

  • A month away from the draft, teams are not in agreement on Justin Fields‘ stock, according to NFL.com’s Gil Brandt. The Ohio State passer may well be a top-five pick, and Brandt has him ranked seventh in this class. But some teams have placed the two-year Buckeyes starter well below that level, the Hall of Fame scout adds (Twitter links). In Brandt’s view, the 49ers likely did not trade up to No. 3 overall to select Fields. Trey Lance and Mac Jones loom as the other high-end quarterback prospects expected to be available for the 49ers.
  • The 2021 third-round draft choice the Rams are sending the Lions in the Goff-Stafford trade landed at No. 101 overall, according to the NFL transaction wire. The Rams will retain their original third-round pick (88th overall) and also still hold the No. 103 pick, obtained from the league after the Lions hired former Rams college scouting director Brad Holmes as GM.
  • A man has accused Seahawks quarterback Alex McGough of punching him in the face on St. Patrick’s Day, TMZ reports. McGough, 25, allegedly punched Anthony Albino at a bar last week in a dispute related to McGough’s girlfriend. Albino intends to press charges, according to TMZ. The Seahawks drafted McGough in the 2018 seventh round, but he has bounced around the league. Seattle reacquired McGough in December of last year.

Goff-Stafford Fallout: Rams, Lions, Suitors

Sean McVay‘s call to Jared Goff informing him of the Ramsdecision to trade him ended quickly, but the five-year starter will exit a rapidly deteriorating (for him) situation. Both McVay and Les Snead gave suboptimal endorsements of Goff’s 2021 status recently. While the Lions could well draft a quarterback with their first-round pick, Goff is now set up to be the starter in Detroit.

I’m just excited to be somewhere that I know wants me and appreciates me,” Goff said, via NFL.com’s Michael Silver. “I’m moving forward and couldn’t be more excited to build a winner there. I’m excited about Dan (Campbell) and the whole staff.”

Goff had entered the past four Rams seasons as the team’s unquestioned starter and will now attempt to stabilize his career in Detroit. The Rams will host the Lions at some point next season. Here is the latest from Saturday night’s blockbuster trade:

  • Several teams made offers for Matthew Stafford. We can add Washington to that list. The NFC East champions presented the Lions an offer featuring more 2021 assets than the Rams offered, Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post tweets. It can be assumed Washington was willing to part with its first-round pick — No. 19 overall — but the team’s proposal could not match the unique opportunity the Lions had in leveraging Goff’s lavish contract into a monster Rams package. Washington has Alex Smith and Kyle Allen under contract for 2021, but Smith’s status is far from certain and Allen is coming off a severe injury. Taylor Heinicke is set to be an RFA.
  • Joining the Panthers, Broncos, Patriots and Washington in pursuing Stafford: the 49ers, Colts and Bears, according to NBC Sports’ Peter King (Twitter link) and NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport. All of these teams have quarterback questions, though the 49ers have indicated Jimmy Garoppolo will be their starter next season. A Bears deal would have certainly qualified as farfetched, but Chicago made an effort at a rare intra-divisional trade. Mitchell Trubisky is a free agent and obviously has not delivered anything close to what the Bears envisioned when they drafted him. Nick Foles is under contract for 2021, but the Bears, at the very least, will bring in competition for a quarterback they benched this season. The Colts lost Philip Rivers to retirement and have Jacoby Brissett as a UFA-to-be. While Jim Irsay said he would welcome Andrew Luck back, nothing has transpired on this front in a while.
  • Goff has already spoken with Campbell and other Lions staffers, and Jeff Darlington of ESPN.com notes (via Twitter) the five-year veteran has a physical coming soon. While the Lions could technically fail Goff on his physical and void the trade, Darlington adds that based on Goff’s early conversations with Detroit coaches it can clearly be assumed the former No. 1 overall pick will be the team’s starter to open the 2021 season.

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.

Longest-Tenured Head Coaches In The NFL

Things move fast in today’s NFL and the old adage of “coaches are hired to be fired” has seemingly never been more true. For the most part, teams change their coaches like they change their underwear. 

A head coach can take his team to the Super Bowl, or win the Super Bowl, or win multiple Super Bowls, but they’re never immune to scrutiny. Just ask Tom Coughlin, who captured his second ring with the Giants after the 2011 season, only to receive his pink slip after the 2015 campaign.

There are also exceptions. Just look at Bill Belichick, who just wrapped up his 20th season at the helm in New England. You’ll also see a few others on this list, but, for the most part, most of today’s NFL head coaches are relatively new to their respective clubs. And, history dictates that many of them will be elsewhere when we check in on this list in 2022.

Over one-third (12) of the NFL’s head coaches have coached no more than one season with their respective teams. Meanwhile, less than half (15) have been with their current clubs for more than three years. It seems like just yesterday that the Cardinals hired Kliff Kingsbury, right? It sort of was – Kingsbury signed on with the Cardinals in January of 2019. Today, he’s practically a veteran.

Here’s the list of the current head coaches in the NFL, ordered by tenure, along with their respective start dates:

  1. Bill Belichick (New England Patriots): January 27, 2000
  2. Sean Payton (New Orleans Saints): January 18, 2006
  3. Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers): January 27, 2007
  4. John Harbaugh (Baltimore Ravens): January 19, 2008
  5. Pete Carroll (Seattle Seahawks): January 9, 2010
  6. Andy Reid (Kansas City Chiefs): January 4, 2013
  7. Bill O’Brien (Houston Texans): January 2, 2014
  8. Mike Zimmer (Minnesota Vikings): January 15, 2014
  9. Dan Quinn (Atlanta Falcons): February 2, 2015
  10. Doug Pederson (Philadelphia Eagles): January 18, 2016
  11. Sean McDermott (Buffalo Bills): January 11, 2017
  12. Doug Marrone (Jacksonville Jaguars): December 19, 2016 (interim; permanent since 2017)
  13. Anthony Lynn (Los Angeles Chargers): January 12, 2017
  14. Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams): January 12, 2017
  15. Kyle Shanahan (San Francisco 49ers): February 6, 2017
  16. Matt Nagy (Chicago Bears): January 7, 2018
  17. Matt Patricia (Detroit Lions): February 5, 2018
  18. Frank Reich (Indianapolis Colts): February 11, 2018
  19. Jon Gruden (Las Vegas Raiders): January 6, 2018
  20. Mike Vrabel (Tennessee Titans): January 20, 2018
  21. Kliff Kingsbury (Arizona Cardinals): January 8, 2019
  22. Zac Taylor (Cincinnati Bengals): February 4, 2019
  23. Vic Fangio (Denver Broncos): January 10, 2019
  24. Matt LaFleur (Green Bay Packers): January 8, 2019
  25. Brian Flores (Miami Dolphins): February 4, 2019
  26. Adam Gase (New York Jets): January 11, 2019
  27. Bruce Arians (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): January 8, 2019
  28. Ron Rivera (Washington Redskins): January 1, 2020
  29. Matt Rhule (Carolina Panthers): January 7, 2020
  30. Mike McCarthy (Dallas Cowboys): January 7, 2020
  31. Joe Judge (New York Giants): January 8, 2020
  32. Kevin Stefanski (Cleveland Browns): January 13, 2020

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams HC, GM Discuss Offseason

It’s been a busy 24 months for the Rams, and it’ll all culminate with a crucial 2020 offseason.

They’ve handed out a number of high-priced extensions to quarterback Jared Goff, defensive lineman Aaron Donald, and others, leading to only $21MM in cap space this year. The organization also traded their 2020 and 2012 first-rounders for Jalen Ramsey, leaving the team with reduced draft capital.

Plus, the organization is staring at a long list of impending unrestricted free agents. In other words, the Rams could look a bit different next season.

Head coach Sean McVay and general manager Les Snead spoke to ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry about some of their critical offseason decisions. The entire article is worth a read, but we snagged some of the notable soundbites below:

On if the front office has engaged in any trade talks:

McVay: “Usually, Aaron Donald is off the table. I think, to answer your question, I think you kind of know who are the guys that there’s not something that would be worth it, but those are ongoing conversations and I think we’re always open to being able to explore things that can upgrade us as a team.

“What we have done a nice job of is identifying those foundational pieces to try to build around.”

Snead: “This time of year, it is interesting. You get calls on a lot of players. There’s a new era, in that somebody may call and ask about your best player, which in the past, I don’t know that phone call would be made. … But usually the answer is ‘No.'”

On free agent left tackle Andrew Whitworth‘s potential return:

McVay: “We’re pretty confident. He still played a really high level last year. His impact isn’t exclusive to just playing the left tackle position.”

On free agent kicker Greg Zuerlein:

McVay: “He’s done so many things and he’s a great kicker and I think those established veterans are so important, especially when every time he takes the field, there’s points at stake, unless he’s kicking off. But we want to make sure we’re evaluating the guys in the draft and then we’re going to have free agency.”

On potential extensions for receiver Cooper Kupp and safety John Johnson:

Snead: “The goal would be, let’s say guys like those two, if we do want them to get back, it would be great to have that box checked. What we have to do now is, because we have, I call it more urgent guys whose contracts actually expire, get through that process first and then move on to — I don’t want to call them less urgent — but less urgent than the players whose contracts are expiring.”

On potentially franchising free agent linebackers Dante Fowler or Cory Littleton:

Snead: “All options are on the table.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Updates: Rams, Matthews, Giants, Engram

There’s still no official word on when Rams outside linebacker Clay Matthews will return to action, but a realistic return date for him would be after the team’s bye week, head coach Sean McVay told reporters. That would line the veteran up for a Week 10 return on Nov. 10 against the Steelers, restoring one of the Rams’ defensive stars for a second-half push.

While Matthews’ busted jaw heals up, the Rams will face the 49ers in an intrastate matchup on Sunday.

Here’s more on some notable injuries from around the NFL:

  • Giants tight end Evan Engram is dealing with a sprained MCL, a source tells ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). It’ll be a challenge for Engram to play against the Patriots on Thursday, Schefter hears, which would leave the club with Rhett Ellison, Garrett Dickerson, and Kaden Smith at TE. Meanwhile, wide receiver Sterling Shepard is out and running back Saquon Barkley is considered unlikely to play.
  • 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk suffered an MCL injury on Monday night against the Browns, a source tells NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). The team should know more after an MRI on Tuesday. Juszczyk may not be a household name, but he’s a key part of SF’s offense.

NFC West Notes: Rams, McVay, Seahawks

The Rams recently extended both head coach Sean McVay and general manager Les Snead through the 2023 season, and Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com reports club owner Stan Kroenke was the “driving force” behind the dual deals. McVay was set to enter the upcoming campaign as one of the lowest-paid head coaches in the NFL, and — given the youthful coach’s success — Kroenke wanted to reward him. Additionally, Kroenke wanted McVay and Snead’s contract to align and run through the same season, per Breer. It’s unclear exactly how far into the future Snead had previously been under contract, but it was for fewer than the three years McVay had remaining.

Here’s more from the NFC West:

  • Bobby Wagner became the highest-paid linebacker in the NFL under the terms of his new extension, and we now have some more details on the Seahawks star’s pact. Wagner’s three-year, $54MM deal will allow him to collect $24.5MM in 2019 instead of the $11.5MM he was due this year on his previous deal, tweets Tom Pelissero of NFL.com. Additionally, Wagner will secure rolling injury guarantees of $10.75MM in 2020 and $5MM in 2021 that change to full guarantees on the fifth day of that season’s waiver period. Former agent and current CBSSports.com contributor Joel Corry broke down the deal, which Wagner negotiated himself.
  • The Seahawks will work out running backs Chris Warren and Brian Wallace this week, per Brady Henderson of ESPN.com (Twitter link). As Henderson notes, Warren’s father made three Pro Bowls as a Seattle running back from 1990-97. The younger Warren posted an excellent 2018 preseason but missed the entire regular season after suffering a knee injury. He was waived by the Raiders this week after struggling with conditioning issues.
  • In case you missed it, the Rams gave wideout Robert Woods a raise for the 2019 season. In a rare NFL occurrence, Los Angeles handed Woods an extra $1MM in base salary and a new $2MM roster bonus with no strings attached.

Rams Extend Sean McVay, Les Snead

The Rams’ power structure will stay in tact for years to come. On Friday, the Rams announced extensions for head coach Sean McVay and GM Les Snead through the 2023 season. 

I’m very thankful to be a Ram for many years to come, working with great ownership, people, coaches, and players,” McVay told NFL.com. “It’s exciting to get camp going and we’re ready to roll up our sleeves up and get to work.”

McVay, 33, has brought youthful energy to the franchise and a high-powered offensive game plan. In his first year, the Rams went 11-5 after finishing out with a 4-12 mark. Then, last year, they took another huge step forward with a Super Bowl appearance. This year, McVay will look to build off of that momentum as the Rams figure to be one of the strongest teams in the league.

Snead, meanwhile, will continue in the role that he assumed in 2012, way back when the Rams were in St. Louis. His next big task will be to hammer out an extension with quarterback Jared Goff, who is slated for free agency after the 2020 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Extensions For Rams’ Jared Goff, Sean McVay

We heard earlier this month that the Rams are eyeing a 2020 extension for quarterback Jared Goff, who is entering his fourth year in the league. Goff has thrived under the tutelage of head coach Sean McVay, who recently threw his full support behind his signal-caller, and it seems like only a matter of time before Goff lands a nine-figure contract.

So, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk asks, why wait? Goff, a two-time Pro Bowler who led his team to the Super Bowl last season, is not going to get any less expensive, especially since his draft mate, Carson Wentz, just signed a four-year, $128MM pact despite suffering significant injuries in each of the past two seasons. Florio observes that Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota are other young QBs eligible for a second contract that have not yet gotten one, but neither player has accomplished as much as Goff (plus, both of them are making over $20MM this year under their fifth-year options). Like Goff and Wentz, Dak Prescott was a 2016 draft choice, but at least he and the Cowboys are talking.

As Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times writes, GM Les Snead and Goff’s representation have been in touch, but they have only had preliminary discussions about a possible timeline for future talks. In other words, the two sides are talking about when they’re going to talk. Snead said, “Nothing heavy. No heavy lifting.”

Rams officials have indicated they could get a deal done with Goff prior to the 2019 campaign, but considering where the parties are in contract talks, the 2020 timeframe seems more plausible at this point. Like McVay, though, Snead said he is fully committed to Goff.

McVay himself could get an extension soon, and a report back in January suggested that could happen this offseason, but it sounds like those talks have not commenced. When asked whether the club was pursuing an extension for McVay, COO Kevin Demoff indicated he was focused on extending certain key players first.

Both Demoff and Snead declined to comment on Snead’s contract situation, but if things continue on their current trajectory, the Snead-McVay-Goff trifecta could be in LA for the long haul.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams To Discuss Extension With Sean McVay

Rams head coach Sean McVay has been remarkably successful in his brief tenure with the club, and his run with LA has compelled other teams in search of a head coach to look for candidates with his personality and background and to give serious consideration to younger coaching talent.

And although McVay still has three years remaining on the five-year contract he signed with the Rams in January 2017, the two sides are expected to discuss a contract extension in the offseason, per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. The soon-to-be 33-year-old is probably near the bottom of the head coaching pay scale at the moment, given that he became the youngest head coach in the modern era when he signed his contract, but any extension will likely catapult him up that list.

The Raiders’ Jon Gruden is making $10MM per season, the Seahawks’ Pete Carroll just signed an extension giving him $11MM per year, and it would not be a surprise to see McVay land somewhere in that stratosphere if he and the Rams finalize their own extension in the coming months. If he leads the Rams to a Super Bowl appearance, and certainly if he leads them to a Super Bowl victory, his price will only increase.

After all, he has become the face of the franchise in many respects, and he has helped make the Rams a hit not only in the Los Angeles market, but on the national level as well. With the team set to open a new stadium in 2020, adding some time onto McVay’s present deal makes sense.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.