Jared Goff begins his breakthrough season with the Lions
Jared Goff looked like one of the most promising young quarterbacks in the league when he helped the stacked Los Angeles Rams team on their journey to Super Bowl LII. They ultimately fell short to the New England Patriots managed by Tom Brady, but fans had hope for their young QB and coach.
Flash forward to 2022, and Jared Goff finds himself in year two with the Detroit Lions, and on a pretty expensive contract compared to his recent output. Although he wasn’t who he was in 2018, the 2016 No. 1 overall pick clearly had enough talent to land him a major contract and be the first player to be dropped from the roster.
Goff is essentially in a contract year, as cutting Goff this year would result in a dead cap of $41 million, with a loss of $10 million in cap space right now. The Lions would create $20 million in cap space by simply waiting a year. So that logic would assume that Goff needs to have a season worth $20 million if he wants to play out his contract in Detroit, which would keep him here for two more seasons. But is it over for the 27-year-old, who had a fairly average (some would say below average) season posting a stat line of 3,245 Yds, with 19 touchdowns for 8 interceptions?
This may not be the case. As this is a contract season and the second year of a system, you can be educated with optimism as there is usually a natural bump every year. On top of that, Goff has a strong offensive line and running back with major dual-threat abilities in D’Andre Swift. He also saw rookie WR Amon-Ra St. Brown show major flashes late in the year.
The Lions took that success and added it by bringing in free agent DJ Chark and trading for what many believe is the best WR in the rookie class in Jameson Williams. Along with those offensive weapons, the defense is much improved on paper — three out of four of those additions haven’t played in a heartbeat yet — with Aidan Hutchinson, DeShon Elliott, Josh Paschal and Malcolm Rodriguez.
All of this, plus having a great coach, in year two of his program setup, contains the ingredients needed to get Jared Goff back to peak Rams form. Or nearby. Goff is still young enough (27) that a turnaround like we saw with Ryan Tannehill might be in order, where the Lions might just find a mid-term starter for their football team who can turn it into a team. perennial in the playoffs.
This season is where the Lions will see what they have in Dan Campbell, but most of all they will discover what they have in Jared Goff. Needless to say, this season is so important for this Lions franchise, as it could lay the groundwork for this rebuilding/refurbishment/house flipping/whatever you want to call it, for the foreseeable future.
Are the Lions buyers for the next QB that becomes available? Are the Lions looking to trade or target a specific QB in the 2023 NFL Draft? Or are the Lions content with Jared Goff for at least the next 5 seasons? It all depends on what we see of Jared Goff this season, and whether he can find his way back to the Jared Goff who finished first overall and led his team to a Super Bowl in his third season.