The spotlight is shining brightly on Jared Goff and his contract with Detroit heading into the 2023 NFL season. Let’s take a look at the details around Goff’s contract, his salary, the implications on the Detroit Lions‘ salary cap, and the Lions’ options with Goff going forward.
Jared Goff’s Contract Details and Bonuses
Goff was drafted with the first overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams. He signed a four-year deal worth $27.9 million, which had an option for a fifth year. However, in 2019, the Rams and general manager Les Snead signed Goff to a four-year, $134 million contract.
When Goff was traded to the Lions, the Rams had to take on a $24.7 million dead money cap hit as the remaining prorated bonus money rolled onto their cap in 2021. The remainder of the deal went with Goff to the Lions.
Following the trade, Goff was set to earn just over $25 million in salary in 2021. Detroit restructured the contract, moving $20 million into a signing bonus, with the bonus prorating at $5 million per year between 2021 and 2024.
Goff’s contract has one more year of guaranteed money remaining, which is in the form of a $15.5 million roster bonus.
Goff’s Contract Runs Out Soon
Goff’s contract extension was originally signed with the Rams in 2019, but he’s currently slated to enter free agency in 2025, and the Lions are reportedly exploring an extension.
The new contract took into account the fourth year of his rookie deal and the fifth-year option that the Rams could have chosen to exercise. Therefore, the 2020 season was actually the final year of that original rookie setup. The 2021 season was the first of Goff’s extension.
How Does Goff’s Contract Affect the Lions’ Salary Cap?
Goff’s contract currently counts for $30.975 million against the Lions’ salary cap in the 2023 season.
This season is the last year in which Goff has any guaranteed salary left on his contract. However, he will count for almost $32 million against the cap during the 2024 season. If Detroit seeks to lower that number, an extension should do just that.
Can the Lions Move on Following the 2023 Season?
If the Lions sought to move on from Goff at the end of the 2023 season — something many had speculated when they acquired him from the Rams — it would be a feasible option.
If Detroit lets Goff go as a pre-June 1 cut, they would only be on the hook for $5 million in dead cap and would save $26.65 million for the cap, a rather massive number given their upcoming extensions decisions in Penei Sewell, Jonah Jackson, and Amon-Ra St. Brown. Those cap numbers would be the same if Detroit were able to find a trade partner following the 2023 season as well.