We already have things to be thankful for this week, most notably the Cowboys getting their ass kicked on national TV:
You have have also seen that Younghoe Koo somehow made three onside kicks (one of them called back on an erroneous offside call), one more than had been made in the entire league this year. Since we happen to be in Las Vegas for the holiday and I had a Saints 1st half (-3.5)/over 49 parlay, I am grateful to Matt Ryan for transforming from Garbage Time Matt Ryan to Crunch Time Matt Ryan just in time to not deliver the epic Bad Beat that seemed to be coming.
And finally, I am grateful for the sudden crash of the Rams, who were absolutely destroyed by the Ravens. This is not an “I told you so” post; I absolutely thought they would be major contenders this year. But they now have a less than one in four chance of making the playoffs, which is a serious problem given their cap situation going forward. Conceptually, I agree that they needed to be in win-now mode, but they have made three major decisions ranging from dubious to indefensible to this end:
- Giving Todd Gurley an extension with $45 million guaranteed. We went through this last week, but big second contracts to RBs have a ghastly track record, and since Gurley has been ordinary this year while having an extensive injury history he is extremely unlikely to be an exception.
- Jared Goff, who currently ranks 30th in QBR, got an extension with $110M guaranteed that STARTS in 2021. This is a tougher one because a franchise QB is so important, but given that they didn’t get much of a discount and his uneven track record, I’m not sure why they rushed to do this. The “worst” case scenario that Goff played well enough this year to ask for significantly more guaranteed money is something you could live with. This worst case scenario, on the other hand, woof. Goff will have better years than 2019, but counting on him to be a franchise QB with a contract you could only get rid off by taking on the contract of whatever replacement-level veteran John Elway falls in love with in 2022 looks like a disaster.
- Trading two first rounders for Jalen Ramsey. This is the toughest one to evaluate. In the off-season, I would have had no problem with it; Ramsey is an elite talent and the Rams looked to have a championship window. After it was clear that the Seahawks and especially 49ers would be good and with Goff’s awful Super Bowl looking like a harbinger rather than a fluke, I dunno. On the other hand, if Goff is the mediocre-to-replacement level QB he’s looked like all year the Rams are entirely fucked anyway, so I guess why not.
But especially with Kyler Murray looking like the real deal, and Sean McVay starting to give at least a whiff of being Chip Kelly without the college cv, this is a trainwreck. They may well be the fourth-best team in the division at the start of 2020, and they’ll be in cap hell with no first round picks. Things can fall apart quickly in this league.