“Jared Goff is a Ram at this moment,” Snead said when asked whether Goff would be on the roster in 2021. “It’s way too early to speculate the future. That’s a beautiful mystery.”
McVay on Jan. 17 — one day after the Rams’ loss at the Green Bay Packers in a divisional playoff — wouldn’t commit to Goff’s future with the team and said that every position, including quarterback, would be evaluated.
“Jared Goff, he’s a Ram right now,” said Snead, who was asked repeatedly about Goff’s status moving forward during an hourlong videoconference with reporters on Tuesday. “So what’s the date? January 26. That’s a fact. That’s obvious.”
However, Goff, the No. 1 draft pick in 2016, has been plagued by turnover issues the past two seasons as the Rams’ offense has faded from a juggernaut in McVay’s first two seasons to an average unit.
This season, the Rams finished 10-6 and in second place in the NFC West.
In 15 games, Goff passed for 3,952 yards and 20 touchdowns with 13 interceptions.
“This year, [Goff] started off probably hot, got a little bit of a case of the turnovers, which probably hurt us,” Snead said about the season. “That’s the thing that we’ve got to improve on. We started going south a little bit over the last couple years.”
Since 2019, Goff ranks second in the NFL in turnovers with 38.
After a run to Super Bowl LIII and before the 2019 season, the Rams signed Goff to a four-year, $134 million extension that included $110 million guaranteed. Four seasons remain on the deal.
The Rams would face significant dead-money charges — $65.2 million — if they were to move on from Goff this offseason. Trading him would result in a $22.2 million dead-money charge, according to OverTheCap.com.
“Moving on from Jared Goff, that’s … the money we’ve invested in him, that’s not easy to overcome,” said Snead, who added later that “anything can be done” in a cap-based system.
The McVay-Goff partnership has not appeared the same since Super Bowl LIII, when New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick effectively stopped McVay’s high-powered offense.
But any tension did not become apparent until McVay voiced his frustration with Goff’s lack of ball security following a Week 12 loss this season to the San Francisco 49ers in which Goff was responsible for three turnovers. It was the first time in their four campaigns together that McVay publicly called out his quarterback.
Friction also became apparent in the aftermath of a wild-card playoff win at Seattle. Prior to the game, Goff said he was ready to play just 12 days removed from surgery to repair a broken thumb, but McVay opted to start undrafted free-agent backup John Wolford. However, Goff was forced into action when Wolford suffered a neck injury midway through the first quarter, and Goff passed for 155 yards and a touchdown in the victory.
After the game, Goff said McVay told him early in the week that Wolford would start.
“As a competitor, of course I wanted to be out there and I wanted to play and felt like I could make a difference,” Goff said. “He’s the coach. He had to make a decision that he needed to make early in the week to get out in front of some stuff. I get it. But as a competitor, of course I wanted to play, and I was ready to play.”
After the divisional playoff loss to the Packers, during which Goff passed for 174 yards and a touchdown, McVay hardly provided a vote of confidence about the quarterback’s future.
“Yeah, he’s our quarterback,” McVay said, trailing off, “right now.”
When asked if McVay’s lack of public confidence in Goff could be an issue moving forward, Snead said it would not.
“A lot of quarterbacks and a lot of coaches are going to have tough conversations,” Snead said.
“I can say this,” he added later. “Maybe a tough conversation in the moment leads to some semblance of friction, but I’m a believer that you can use that friction to move forward, maybe even get closer.”