Given his level of play this season and the rising quarterback market, Jared Goff’s contract is now being tabbed as a bargain for the Detroit Lions.
When the Detroit Lions sent Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams in 2021, they also acquired Jared Goff. The Lions needed a quarterback, after all, and the Rams added a second first-round pick as a clear sweetener for taking on Goff’s contract as the bloated contract extension they gave him was set to start.
Goff played well enough this season to lock himself in as the Lions’ starting quarterback next season. Beyond that his future in Detroit is still a viable question, though it’s worth wondering if the Lions will consider extending him beyond 2024 and what that’d look like.
Goff’s cap hit crossed over $30 million in 2022. His cap hit $30.975 million in 2023 and it’s $31.975 million in 2024. It’s been easy to look ahead to the viable path for the Lions to part ways with him this offseason, leaving behind just $10 million in dead money, but that’s not happening now.
Jared Goff contract tabbed as a bargain for the Lions
Via Spotrac, Goff’s 2023 cap hit ranks 11th among quarterbacks. The top of the market is $50 million per year.
ESPN dove into quarterback performance and compensation, beyond salary cap hit, etc., breaking NFL starters into tiers and outling best and worst bargains.
Goff is the “Established Starters Not on Rookie Deals” category. Analyst Dan Graziano put Goff in the “Who gets paid next and what can they expect?” subset.
"Jared Goff is a steal for the Lions at an average of $26.5 million over the next two years. He could be looking for a raise after his big season, but the fact that he’s two years from free agency hurts his leverage. Detroit could try to work something out with him like Las Vegas did last offseason with Carr — guaranteeing his 2023 salary and injury-guaranteeing some of his 2024 salary — to keep him happy and reward him."
Best as I can tell, based on the “effective compensation” formula outlined in the article, Graziano basically used Goff’s base salaries and $5 million each year in prorated signing bonus to arrive at that $26.5 million per year over the next two years. A $5 million roster bonus each year, including the one he’s basically guaranteed to get on March 19 this year, seems to be left out to bolster the case that Goff’s a bargain.
The specific mention of Carr is interesting, since the soon-to-be former Raiders quarterback is in a similar position to the one Goff was in two years ago. The idea of a similar arrangment to Carr and the Raiders has merit.
The Lions, eventually, need to pay their starting quarterback less–not more (rookie contract). Right now, a commitment to Goff beyond 2024 is not necessary and the Lions shouldn’t feel pressured into it based on one of the best seasons of his career.
That said, finding a way to guarantee Goff more money in 2023 wouldn’t be a bad idea. And injury guaranteeing some of his 2024 salary wouldn’t have to greatly impact the idea of parting ways with Goff next offseason, if that’s what they want to do.