Football Outsiders
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Rams Extend Goff

Details are thus far scarce, but several are reporting that the Rams have signed QB Jared Goff to a four year extension. 

We will update with more information as we learn of it, but an easy first impression is: why?

I can't think of any reason why doing this now is a good idea, even if they think more highly of Goff than I do personally. There was still plenty of time to wait and see if he became worthy of a massive paycheck, especially when there is so much evidence that he's more a product of McVay and the offense than his own talent.

The numbers on this one will surely be fascinating.

(And they're in: According Ian Rapaport, it's four years, $134 million. $110m guaranteed. Wow.)

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Comments

74 comments, Last at 06 Sep 2019, 1:40pm

60 Flacco post-SB contract - a failure of recency bias

Flacco was kind of an anti-Goff when he got his huge contract after the 2012 season. His whole body of work painted him as a mediocre QB. But if you focused your eyeballs on the stretch of games where he got hot, he looked like the best QB ever. Besides, it would have been hard to say "goodbye" to the hero of your SB win.

If FO has taught us anything, it is to distrust recency bias and to distrust the hot or cold streak. Eli got hot in the playoffs. But he was still Eli. Flacco got hot, too. But he was still Flacco.

Goff is still Goff.

They may have paid too much for him. But it's hard to see how they could have landed a better long term QB for less, short of getting lucky on a late draft pick.

67 Better QB

"They may have paid too much for him. But it's hard to see how they could have landed a better long term QB for less, short of getting lucky on a late draft pick."

Yeah, I think the odds of them ever getting better QB play than Goff are pretty remote. Especially considering Goff's age and improvement thus far. However, the odds of getting only slightly worse QB play than Goff, at vet minimum, with McVay as coach, are less remote. It's not unreasonable for people to think that Goff wasn't worth 33.5 APY, especially with McVay as coach, I just don't agree with them.

21 Goff is a polarizing figure…

Goff is a polarizing figure right now, for good reason. If you have followed Dak Prescott's career thus far, you'll realize the perils that come with assessing how good your qb is in a vacuum.

I am with David in that I am similarly pessimistic about the Rams upcoming season. They profile as a team that had a dream season a year ago and will face growing pains that inevitably rise from regression to the mean. How they navigate those pitfalls will say a lot about Goff and McVay.

22 But what makes them profile…

But what makes them profile as "dream season" a year ago? Their defense already took a step back in 2018 to 17th, which is likely to either be just as good or better under Philips. The special teams also took a step back to average, and the offense went from good to great, with a third year quarterback playing very well. I'm not sure why that's the archetype of coming regression, unless you think the offense is going to take a huge step back this year.

23 I do think their offense…

I do think their offense takes a step back.  I've been trying to square in my head what is fundamentally different about the Rams offense and the Chiefs offense(who I similarly expect to fall off some). It really comes down to - Goff is more dependent on good blocking and good receivers than I believe Mahomes is. Maybe its the Superbowl thats coloring my vision(I thought he played well in the New Orleans game btw). 

31 Sure, although I don't agree…

Sure, although I don't agree, it's reasonable to expect offensive regression. But why does 2018 profile as a "dream season" then? When I hear "dream season" I think team that's actually 7-9 talent wise that just keeps winning close game after close game and getting great turnover luck, and a whole bunch of other things that are unsustainable, including decent/lucky/streaky QB play. I think if you're predicting the Rams to go 10+ wins, then calling last year a "dream season" is a bit of hyperbole.

Myself, I think the Defense will regress back to Wade Philips mean, which is as a top 10 unit. The Special Teams will regress back to John Fassels mean, which is a top 10 unit, and the offense is going to continue to take a step forward with a very young quarterback and coach getting better. It's impossible for fans to correctly evaluate their own team, but I'm looking at this Rams squad as being full value for another 13-3 season.

WRT Mahomes versus Goff comparison, again, sure. I think we are all forgetting too soon that Andy Reid and this KC offense made Alex Smith a pro bowler, and that version of the KC offense had less talent than this version. If I was to start a team with a fantasy draft, I'd probably pick Mahomes over Goff, but let's not pretend that he hasn't also benefited from great coaching and surrounding talent.

35 Mahomes definitely has…

Mahomes definitely has benefitted from terrific coaching, but given a choice between him and Goff, it's not even close, on the basis of having frequently demonstrated the ability to make big plays in the face of pressure. This is not a harsh criticism of Goff, to be clear.

41 I disagree with this…

I disagree with this assessment; Mahomes didn't make big plays in pressure appear, Tyreek Hill did. Put Tyreek Hill (and accompanying cast) on a team with Arron Rodgers and he will put up 2,500 yards & 20+ TD's (IMHO). I get that Mahomes is great at getting the ball downfield under pressure, but that's only a good thing because he had the best set of downfield offensive talent in Hill, Hunt, Kelce & Watkins that I can ever remember in one place, that same attribute produces turnovers when paired with crappy offensive players. He might be better than Goff, but I don't think it's actually self-evident.

44 Well, yes, qb production is…

Well, yes, qb production is dependent on receiver production. I don't think I stated or implied otherwise. The point is that I've seen Mahomes do things while under pressure that I've not seen Goff produce under pressure, and it isn't because Mahomes receivers have been that much better.

45 Skill Position

Again, I would preface this by saying I think Mahomes is better than Goff. However, the skill position group the Chiefs have is absolutely the best in the league, and the only one that you can say is clearly better than the Rams. The Saints have Thomas and Kamara, but then no one else. The Eagles have a lot of talent, but it could go either way. The Chiefs have an absurdly talented group of receivers, who are clearly much better than the group that sent Alex Smith to the pro bowl. The Chiefs have a straight up Pro Bowl receiver group.

EDIT: This was in reply to the comment above Will Allen.

46 Pressure

"it's not even close, on the basis of having frequently demonstrated the ability to make big plays in the face of pressure."

I think that "big plays in the face of pressure" is the less wrong version of "he just has that clutchness". There's clearly some truth there, but every sober analysis ever, statistical or grading, has shown that performance in a clean pocket is a much better predictor of future success than performance under pressure. Not that there's no correlation year to year, just that there's much less than people believe. To support what sbond101 said, it's easier to make that clutch throw under pressure when the guy you're throwing to is actually open. And it's easier for there to be an open guy if you're throwing to a Pro Bowl receiver group.

48 I would say - can Goff adapt…

In reply to by theTDC

I would say - can Goff adapt to where he is not reliant on the expectations of a clean pocket. Every qb performs poorly under pressure, but how they react to anticipated pressure is what counts. Can they speed up their progressions, audible into correct plays, utilize motion and varying formations to get themselves into a good situation rather than a poor one.

Goff to this point feels like a preprogrammed player. McVay ensures the right play design and the talented offense mitigates the rest of his weaknesses. But if you take those two things away, can he adapt?

I have this same question for Mahomes btw. Its why declaring a qb elite takes years imo. Brees, Brady, Rodgers, Manning - the four horseman maintain a pretty standard level of play even as teammates come and go. 

 

A step below might be someone like Matt Ryan or Tony Romo. Their performances are more erratic than the four above when the talent dips, but they are still consistent enough week to week. 

 

We just don't know which category Goff is in at this moment is my assertion.

52 I'm not putting Romo on the…

I'm not putting Romo on the same level as Brees or Brady, but it is a fact that neither Brees or Brady have ever had the chance to prove they could qb an efficient passing offense with bad pass protection, like Romo did more than once. Anybody who says they have high confidence, or even average confidence, that Romo would not have been a 1st ballot HOFer, had he benefitted from being in the situations that Brees and Brady did, is watching a different game than I'm watching. Romo got lucky to be signed by a Parcells coached team; there's a chance that none of us would have heard of him if he'd signed with a team with a bad coach.  After Parcells left early in his career, however, Romo had pretty bad organizational luck. 

49 You go ahead and make your…

In reply to by theTDC

You go ahead and make your bet on, say, Drew Bledsoe,  getting the ball to the best available option when given poor protection, at the same rate as the guy that followed him, Tony Romo. My bet is that Bledsoe is considerably worse. To take another hypothetical which illuminates another aspect of passing efficiency with bad pass blocking, if Jared Goff had started for the Vikings in 2016 there isn't a chance in hell the Vikings passing DVOA would have been as good as it was with Sam Freakin' Bradford taking the snaps, under any coach with a clue. Goff can't process with the extreme speed that was required of Bradford that year, when the Vikings had one of the worst injury outcomes ever for an offensive line. The idea that maximizing efficiency, meaning still being able to make big plays,  while pass protection is bad, is anywhere close to "clutchness", in terms of validity, is itself invalid. The fact that a clean pocket is the best predictor of passing success is a nonsequitur.

68 Clean vs Pressured

"You go ahead and make your bet on, say, Drew Bledsoe,  getting the ball to the best available option when given poor protection, at the same rate as the guy that followed him, Tony Romo."

Why would I do that, when there's no reason to believe that Romo would not drastically outperform Bledsoe from a clean pocket?

"To take another hypothetical which illuminates another aspect of passing efficiency with bad pass blocking, if Jared Goff had started for the Vikings in 2016 there isn't a chance in hell the Vikings passing DVOA would have been as good as it was with Sam Freakin' Bradford taking the snaps, under any coach with a clue. Goff can't process with the extreme speed that was required of Bradford that year, when the Vikings had one of the worst injury outcomes ever for an offensive line."

You know, I've seen plenty of Bradford when he was with the Rams. Do you know what Rams fans used to say about him? That he was great from a clean pocket, and absolutely terrible when pressured. He got happy feet. He missed throws. He would go down and take a sack when he could have stepped up. It wasn't just Rams fans, this was his reputation around the league.

Once again though, I will completely accept that 2016 Bradford would be better under pressure than 2018 Goff. I would also completely accept that 2016 Bradford would be better from a clean pocket than 2018 Goff. Bradford had one of the most accurate arms I have ever seen in a quarterback. 

"The idea that maximizing efficiency, meaning still being able to make big plays,  while pass protection is bad, is anywhere close to "clutchness", in terms of validity, is itself invalid."

The fact that your go-to example of solid play under pressure is a guy who absolutely sucked under pressure every year except the one you mention is almost a better counter-example proving my point than I could have come up with myself. Bradford was horrible under pressure, until he suddenly became amazing, but he was always consistently good from a clean pocket. Pressure makes plays high-variable, and sometimes things just work out and sometimes they don't. It helped that Bradford went from throwing to garbage in St Louis, to throwing to Diggs and co. Minnesota. It also helped, I'm sure, that he was a little bit older and more experienced. I'm sure at least some small part of his improvement is completely on him.

"The fact that a clean pocket is the best predictor of passing success is a nonsequitur."

I may be reading this wrong, but I think you misunderstood me. Statistically speaking, passing rating from a clean pocket is very predictive of future passer rating from a clean pocket. Passer rating when pressured is not very predictive of future passer rating when pressured. This has been found statistically by this very website, and even subjective grades given by PFF say the same thing. I wasn't making a comment on the importance of the value of pressuring the QB to overall team success.

70 Nevertheless, Goff has has…

Nevertheless, Goff has has two years of success and that still makes it small sample size theatre. Goff has had great teammates and a smart coaching staff. I think this year will be a great litmus test for just what kind of qb he is. I don't think he's a bum and I've defended him on this site including after the sb. I just think he's a polarizing figure and I don't think anyone can proclaim with any degree of certainty what he will become, which encompasses everything from average to hall of fame. 

30 The offensive line had the…

The offensive line had the same 5 starters for 16 games, two years in a row, which is incredibly rare. When your qb doesn't have a track record of handling pressure well, that's an area to be concerned about. If the Rams strart having to make typical NFL o-line adjustments during the season, that might easily translate into a significant decline in offensive efficiency.

33 That's a good point. There's…

That's a good point.

There's no question that offensive line regression should be expected, with the excellent Saffold departing. Sullivan was below average, but even assuming full health, there's no reason to suspect that the two second year players Bryan Allen and Joseph Noteboom are going to step in and play as well on average. On top of that, the inevitable injuries are just bound to occur, and father time has been eyeing Whitworth for quite a while now.

38 Sullivan has been the most…

Sullivan has been the most overrated center (not by all, to be sure) I can ever remember, mostly by having had some good fortune in surrounding talent and coaching for most of his career. Having said that, there's a reason he lasted 11 years (if he is done) despite getting overpowered not infrequently; he was pretty solid at line calls.

34 Risky

The advantage is since the QB market keeps rising each year, the Rams save probably $3 million per year on a deal than if they waited two years. The downside is immense, if Goff struggles like he did in the playoffs and the Rams want to move on they are stuck with him for many years taking around $30 million cap hits.

71 I remember reading on this…

I remember reading on this very site that Goff's rookie season was so historically bad that if he turned into even a mediocre starter, it would be impressive: https://www.footballoutsiders.com/stat-analysis/2017/hope-jared-goff.

Obviously he has achieved that level of improvement already, but it makes me very skeptical that Goff will ever be a top QB in the league. And if McVay's system somehow does elevate him to a level where his turnaround from his rookie year is basically unprecedented in NFL history, you'd still have to question whether he's worth all that money or if McVay could achieve similar results with any decent QB.