The blockbuster trade between the Los Angeles Rams and the Detroit Lions, which swapped Jared Goff and a host of draft picks for Matthew Stafford, has been public for a month and a half. However, it didn’t become official until Thursday morning. The teams could have officially executed the trade the day before were it not for a hang-up in Goff’s contract.
The LA Rams still owed Jared Goff $2.5 million
After over a month, Jared Goff is officially a member of the Detroit Lions. The Los Angeles Rams traded the former first-overall pick, along with two first-round picks and a third-round pick, to Detroit in exchange for Matthew Stafford. Although the Rams and Lions agreed to the massive deal at the end of January, they could not officially execute the trade until after the start of the new league year on Wednesday.
Even after that, however, the trade did not become official until Thursday morning. This is related to the terms of Goff’s contract. According to Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com, the Rams still owed Goff a $2.5 million roster bonus which, by coincidence, was due Thursday, March 18.
That bonus will still come out of the Rams’ pocket, a condition the two teams agreed to when they finalized the trade in January. This adds $2.5 million on to the already-massive $22.2 million dead-cap hit the Rams took on for trading Goff in the first place.
The LA Rams already had a salary-cap crunch
The Los Angeles Rams have spent the past week frantically trying to sort out their salary cap situation, which was the most desperate of any NFL team. As late as Monday, the Rams were still $33 million over the cap.
General manager Les Snead got the team’s head above water mainly by restructuring players’ contracts. On Tuesday, according to NFL reporter Ian Rapoport, he saved the Rams $20 million in space by restructuring the contracts of cornerback Jalen Ramsey and wide receiver Robert Woods.
Later that day, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the team also reworked the contract of left tackle Andrew Whitworth. It’s not clear how much the Rams saved with him, although he would have carried an $11.2 million cap hit before the Rams restructured his deal.
Jared Goff will be a very rich man either way
To reiterate, after all of this, the Rams will still pay a $2.5 million bonus to Jared Goff, a quarterback they no longer have. This is over twice the amount that Drew Lock is projected to earn all season with the Denver Broncos.
On the other hand, this is $2.5 million saved for the Detroit Lions.
From a distance, that amount seems like a drop in the bucket. The Lions still inherit Goff’s four-year, $134 million contract — all for a quarterback who is, arguably, a slight downgrade from who they had before. In 2021, assuming all goes well, Goff stands to earn over $25 million.
But if this NFL offseason should teach general managers anything, it’s that every dollar counts. Indeed, the Lions have already used the savings to sign Goff’s new backup, former Packer Tim Boyle. He could come in handy someday.
Financial data courtesy of Spotrac.