After a second poor year in Los Angeles, Jared Goff and his remaining contract were traded to the Detroit Lions. Let’s take a look at Goff’s NFL contract, the financial impact of the trade for both the Rams and Lions, the Lions’ salary cap situation after the trade, and what options they have with Goff going forward.
Jared Goff contract details and bonuses
Jared Goff was drafted with the first overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft. 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 Jared Goff to a four-year, $134 million contract.
Goff’s contract length is for another four years
While the contract was a four-year extension signed in 2019, Jared Goff still has four years remaining on his deal.
The new contract still 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 set up. The 2021 season will be the first of Goff’s extension.
How does Jared Goff’s contract shape up following the trade?
With four years remaining on the deal at the time of the trade, there are significant financial impacts for both the Rams and Lions. Let’s take a look at his cap hits with each organization.
Los Angeles Rams
When Jared Goff signed his contract extension, he received a $25 million signing bonus. He then restructured his contract ahead of the 2020 season, receiving another $9 million signing bonus.
The original $25 million signing bonus prorated on the salary cap from 2019 to 2023 at $5 million per year. The additional $9 million restructure signing bonus prorates at $1.8 million per year from 2020 to 2024.
Therefore, the Rams had the following prorated charges on Jared Goff’s contract prior to the trade:
- 2021: $6.8 million
- 2022: $6.8 million
- 2023: $6.8 million
- 2024: $1.8 million
All of those prorated charges now accelerate onto the Rams’ cap as dead money. Therefore, the Rams will have $22.2 million in dead money following the trade. That saves $12.75 million on Goff’s $34.95 million cap number prior to the trade. However, with the addition of $20 million to the salary cap with Matt Stafford’s contract, the Rams have a net loss of around $7 million in salary cap space following the trade.
Following the trade, the Lions will take on the remaining four years of Jared Goff’s contract. They now take on Goff’s salary and roster bonuses in the next four years. Immediately following the trade, Goff’s salary cap numbers for each year are:
- 2021: $27.825 million
- 2022: $25.5 million
- 2023: $25 million
- 2024: $26 million
Entering 2021, Goff has a further $43 million in guaranteed money remaining on his contract. Of that remaining money, $15.5 million is in 2022. That means that even if the Lions want to move on from Goff after the 2021 NFL season, they would still be left needing to pay Goff $15.5 million in 2022.
Of the $27.5 million in guaranteed money for Goff in 2021, $25 million is in salary, with the remaining $2.5 million a roster bonus. In 2022, the guaranteed money on the contract is in the form of a roster bonus.
How does Goff’s contract affect the Lions’ salary cap?
As it stands, Jared Goff’s contract will count $27.825 million against the Lions’ 2021 salary cap. That cap hit would account for around 15 percent of the Lions projected 2021 salary cap. Prior to the trade, the Lions were projected to have around $1.7 million in cap space.
The Lions were set to have Stafford count $33 million against the salary cap in 2021. Jared Goff’s contract is saving $5.125 million in 2021. However, Stafford leaves $19 million in dead money on the Lions’ cap in 2021. Therefore, the Lions have effectively assigned $46.825 million in cap space to their starting QB in 2021.
Is there a way for the Lions to move on from Goff in 2022?
Following the trade, the Lions are in an interesting situation with Jared Goff’s contract. With $43 million remaining in guarantees, the Lions cannot release Goff ahead of 2021. That would accelerate another $15.5 million onto their salary cap in 2021.
Therefore, the focus is on the next offseason. If the Lions release Goff following 2021, they will have a $15.5 million dead money cap charge due to the guaranteed money remaining on the deal. If they choose to keep Goff in 2022, he will count a further $10 million against the cap ($25.5 million).
The Lions could choose to restructure Jared Goff’s contract
If the Lions are looking to commit to Goff long-term, a restructure could make sense for 2021. A potential restructure could save as much as $20 million in cap space this season.
However, it would likely involve guaranteeing more money and making it harder for the two sides to go separate ways in 2022. Any prorated money the Lions push into 2022, 2023, and 2024 would count on the Lions’ cap in 2022 on top of the $15.5 million in guaranteed roster bonus if they were to release him.
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