As the top of the quarterback contract market continues to rise, as it always does, the proverbial "middle class" of signal callers rises with it (see Daniel Jones).
With two years left on his contract, at what's now regarded as a bargain rate by some people, the prospect a contract extension for Jared Goff to keep him a Detroit Lion awhile longer has become a hot topic.
In the span a couple weeks this spring, it went from Goff saying no contract talks had taken place to general manager Brad Holmes saying talks had started. In a broad sense, the Lions shouldn't feel all that much urgency to get anything done before seeing how Goff plays this season. But Goff and his camp are surely wanting to lock something down soon, since he's coming off one of the best seasons of his career.
Jared Goff-Lions contract negotiation deemed most important for a quarterback in the NFL right now
Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus (subscription required) recently tabbed the most important contract negotiation at each position. The quarterback for him was Goff. After mentioning upcoming deals for Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert that will raise the top of the market again, but are more clear-cut, Spielberger got into Goff.
"Goff, however, is the next in line of the above-average quarterbacks who create a difficult decision for a club balancing between the fear of letting a good thing go and the fear of the unknown.
Goff has undeniable arm talent and led a high-powered Detroit Lions offense in 2022 that should only improve, but he’s also failed to eclipse a 72.5 passing grade in four straight seasons and has had more turnover-worthy plays than big-time throws in three straight. In today’s NFL, his lack of athleticism shows up a bit more than it would have during the traditional pocket passer times, making his ceiling pretty clearly limited.
Will the Lions nonetheless extend Goff, who will end the 2023 season at 29 years old, if he has another good but not great season? Or will they roll the dice and try to shoot for the moon in the draft or otherwise? If they can get Goff to agree to a deal that doesn’t hamstring their ability to spend elsewhere, it could be worth it. But good luck negotiating that contract with a former No. 1 overall pick who topped the market on his first extension."
Rather than go all the way negative, Spielberger noted Goff's "undeniable arm talent" before diving into what anyone who pays objective attention can see as his flaws. And that's where the conundrum lies for the Lions regarding a contract extension, as Spielberger mentioned.
At one point this offseason, Holmes said (pardon the strained paraphrase) how it's a lot easier to get worse at quarterback than it is to get better. That's also easy to say when Goff is your quarterback. You can get a lot better, in theory (if not application, like the Rams did), but it's also possible to get a lot worse if you move on from him and don't nail the replacement decision.
One way or the other, Goff will show whether he's worthy of a contract extension beyond 2024 this season. Whether it's an undeniable, unequivocal assertion of "yes" with his performance, or something less, the decision should become easy for the Lions.