Through my near 38 years on this Earth, I’ve seen a lot of rebuilds. Not just with the Detroit Lions, but with NFL teams as whole. A lot of them have no worked out for various reasons. If I had to do a study, I’m sure that I would find that the largest reasons the rebuild didn’t work is because the team couldn’t find a quarterback.
That’s it. That’s what these rebuilds tend to boil down to. It’s the biggest answer to the biggest question. The Lions rebuild has been a rousing success so far. This team is ready to compete right now, and they’re ready to compete in the future. The biggest thing that puts them ahead of other rebuilds is that they have the answer to their biggest question. The Lions have their quarterback in Jared Goff. It seems they know that too.
On Tuesday morning Brad Holmes mentioned that the Lions have been in contact with Jared Goff’s agent about a contract extension. I’m sure that’s surprising news to some. Maybe it’s surprising news to a lot of people. Ever since he was traded to Detroit, there has been a narrative that Goff is a bridge quarterback, but some haven’t even given it a thought that the Lions might actually like this guy.
When Jared Goff arrived in Detroit, my first question was whether or not we’ve seen the best of him yet. After two years in Detroit—especially last season—we’ve seen Goff have some of the best play of his career, and it’s reasonable to believe he’s capable of even more.
In 2022, Goff had time where he missed Amon-Ra St. Brown, DJ Chark and D’Andre Swift. The Lions also traded away his number one tight end half way through the season. Goff managed one of his best statistical season despite working with Kalif Raymond, Josh Reynolds, Tom Kennedy and Brock Wright as his primary weapons for a long period of time. He looked adversity in the face and didn’t waver.
It’s why I think we haven’t seen Goff reach his peak yet. For those reasons, I say the Lions need to lock down Jared Goff as soon as possible.
Goff had a big year two with the Lions. He didn’t just help the Lions win games and dang sure didn’t manage games. Jared Goff finished the 2022 season sixth in passing yards, sixth in passing touchdowns, 25th in interceptions, sixth in yards per attempt, eighth in yards per game and seventh in passer rating. On top of that, Goff didn’t throw an interception for nine straight games and 324 straight passing attempts. That’s the fifth longest such streak in NFL history. He’s also just 28 years old.
I know some Lions fans want the Lions to move on with a rookie quarterback because they feel as though the Lions are capped with what they can do with Goff. I get it, but why would any team whose quarterback just had a year like Goff did—at the age he’s at—ever look at their team and think that they need to move on from him?
On top of that, why are some people willing to risk the success of this ready-to-compete team on a rookie quarterback? Why try to find a quarterback who has no proven history of success in the NFL like the one you currently have on the roster. The question is answered. Lock the guy you have down.
Another major concern is the money. Yeah, Goff is going to command some serious coin. But there’s no reason to think that Goff is going to get top dollar in the league. He’s not getting Lamar Jackson money. He’s not getting Jalen Hurts money. The Lions aren’t going to make him the highest-paid quarterback in the league despite the fact that he’s putting up numbers like a guy that would normally get paid that way.
If the Lions pay Goff $40-45 million a year, that’s a discount compared to the company he has in the the statistical range he plays in. By the time the ink dries on that contract, another few quarterbacks will have gotten paid similarly or more.
Why should the Lions do it now? Because it’s cheaper right now. If the expectation is that Goff will be even better and the Lions do all the things they’re projected to do, Goff and his team are going rightfully want more money. At this point, the Lions still hold a lot more of the leverage. They lose a lot of it if Detroit produces another year of a top-five offense and some postseason success.
What if it doesn't work out? What if Goff regresses like he did in Los Angeles? Well, then you still have options if you structure the contract right. Perhaps the Lions can attempt to front load the contract to give themselves an out later on. That’s easier said than done, though. But the Lions have added a contingency plan with Hendon Hooker. Or maybe they can do the new popular thing and trade for a new quarterback. If all else fails, go draft your guy. This doesn’t have to be a death sentence if it fails.
As for right now, the team is built to win. So go win. Don’t disrupt what you have for experimental sake. Jared Goff is your guy. Lock him down before he becomes someone else guy.