Kyler Murray’s New Contract Further Complicates Jared Goff Situation For Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions were already facing a decision regarding quarterback Jared Goff and his future with the franchise. But things just got even more complicated.
On Thursday, Kyler Murray agreed to a five-year, $230.5 million contract extension with the Arizona Cardinals that includes $160 million in guaranteed money. That's an average annual value of $46.1 million.
The deal resets the market for franchise quarterbacks in the NFL and has real implications for the next passers to ink long-term deals. Lamar Jackson will probably be next. Goff could be coming up soon, too, and Murray's new contract could lead Goff to demand $50 million per season.
Goff's deal runs through 2024, paying about $26 million per. But many have speculated the Lions could cut him after this coming season as it would carry a $20 million cap savings with just a $10 million dead cap cost.
But what if Goff has a good season this year? Many expect the Lions to take a big step forward in 2022, particularly on offense. Detroit will have one of the top 10 offensive lines in the NFL; they have at least one really good young wide receiver and signed a solid No. 2 in DJ Chark; they have one of the better tight ends; and DeAndre Swift looks like a versatile, three-down back, if he can stay healthy.
If Goff performs well and helps the Lions improve by four or five wins this year, the Lions would be faced with a dilemma: Do they move on from Goff, do they keep him through the remainder of his deal while drafting his eventual successor, or do they commit to him long term and make him their franchise quarterback?
Their decision could be the latter if Goff plays well in 2022. And if that's the course they choose, it will cost them.
Let's say Goff comes through in 2022 with something like 4,000 passing yards, 30 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, and a 67 percent completion rate. That would give him a passer rating in the mid-90s, and it would likely be good enough to deliver the Lions a 7- or 8-win season. If the Lions then were to try to lock him up long term, he could realistically command more than what Murray got from the Cardinals.
Goff's rationale would be that he's put up better numbers and has actually accomplished more in his career, having won playoff games and gotten to a Super Bowl. Goff would also have the benefit of being just 28 years old and being in the present — new contracts tend to be worth more than those signed in the past.
That all means that Goff could reasonably ask Detroit for a six-year, $300 million extension. The Lions would be headed into Year 3 of Dan Campbell's tenure, coming off a competitive 2022 that showed so much promise and potential that expectations for 2023 would be the playoffs. If all that happens, the Lions would be forced to commit to Goff at $50 million per year or face dealing a crippling blow to their program just as it begins to blossom.