Los Angeles Rams: The weight of the franchise now lies on Jared Goff

Rams rumors (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Rams rumors (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Rams are entering an unusual era for the team with the weight of the entire franchise baring down on Jared Goff’s shoulders.

The Los Angeles Rams made headlines on Thursday by releasing who many believed was the best running back in the league just two years ago, Todd Gurley. Needing to free up cap space, the Rams released Gurley right before needing to pay him his $10.5 million bonus for the season, making him a free agent at 25 years old.

Gurley did not take long to find his new team as he agreed to a one-year, $6 million contract with the Atlanta Falcons, essentially ‘coming home’ after playing at the University of Georgia.

Gurley was already paid $7.5 million by the Rams and according to Vaughn McClure of ESPN, $2.5 million of his $6 million deal with the Falcons will be subtracted due to ‘offset language’. Gurley is still making a total of $11 million this season.

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Todd Gurley’s release is more than just a big-name player getting released, it is indicative of the Los Angeles Rams’ current situation that the team has put itself in. Les Snead and the front office have been very aggressive over the last few years, and it has not panned out.

If the team would have won the Super Bowl then all of this would just be the icing on the cake and would be easier to swallow. They didn’t, and now the future looks bleak. The only person that can now save the Rams is the guy they bet on four years ago, which started this aggressive decision-making, Jared Goff.

Goff has received a lot of criticism in his short NFL career and it is not his fault. Is he worth what the Rams are paying him? Absolutely not. Is Goff one of the ten quarterbacks I would pick to lead my team on a two-minute drive down by four in a big game? Probably not.

However, he has been better than is given credit for and when compared to some of the greatest of this generation, it is clear that he will be fine. Sure, some of it might be a byproduct of Sean McVay’s offensive brilliance, but Goff still has to make the throws and the reads.

With the face of the franchise now gone Goff is the only one that can save the Rams from another long stretch of irrelevancy. Sure, the team has Aaron Donald and Brandin Cooks also netted to long-term deals, but Goff taking his play to the next level is the only thing that can swing the franchise.

He no longer has the elite running game to bank on and we saw some of those effects last season as Gurley’s workload was reduced. Being a quarterback is a lot easier when teams are more worried about the running game, that is not the case anymore.

He has to take over the offense and be the biggest pillar for the entire franchise. If Goff does not produce this year, then the ripple effects will be immediate. Jalen Ramsey, who the team traded two first-round picks for, could see this in the forecast and leave after just half a season.

Cooper Kupp could find greener pastures, the defense could continue losing the few standouts that are home-grown and before you know it, the Rams could be saddled with an awful quarterback contract with no assets around them.

Then the reset button has to be hit. Les Snead will almost certainly be gone, and who knows if Sean McVay will survive. McVay is a genius, but he can only do so much and if Goff cannot get it done, ownership could just wipe the slate completely clean.

It is all up to Jared Goff, which is a terrifying thought. The guy that the Los Angeles Rams traded up for, the guy that they stood behind and offered a massive contract to, the guy who helped lead them to a Super Bowl and followed suit by restricting the cap space so heavily.

I don’t blame Goff in the slightest, I will never tell an athlete not to make as much money as possible and he simply signed on the dotted line for what the Rams thought he was worth.

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Now, though, he has to prove that he is worth what he signed on the dotted line for. If not, his legacy, McVay’s legacy, and the legacy of the Rams moving back to Los Angeles will forever take a hit.