Rams coach Sean McVay reflects on handling of Jared Goff departure: ‘He deserved better’

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Jared Goff was the top overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. One year later, the Rams made a surprising move by hiring Sean McVay at the age of 31. 

McVay became the youngest person to be tapped for an NFL head coaching role in the modern era.

Goff struggled in his rookie season, finishing with five touchdowns against seven interceptions in seven games. The Rams finished with a 4-12 record in 2016 and parted ways with Jeff Fisher. In 2021, Goff was traded to the Lions in exchange for draft picks and veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford.

The Lions are the reigning NFC North champions and preparing to host Stafford and the Rams on Sunday, in what will be the first-ever postseason game at Ford Field.


Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff, #16, and head coach Sean McVay talk on the sidelines during the game against the Baltimore Ravens at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Nov. 25, 2019 in Los Angeles. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Goff recently revealed that he is entering the playoff game against his former team with a chip on his shoulder. McVay believes Goff’s feelings are justified. 

McVay, who is now in his seventh year with the Rams, expressed regret about the way Goff’s trade was handled.


“Could it have been handled better on my end? Absolutely,” McVay said. “I’ll never run away from that. But the further you get away from it the more you try to grow as a person, as a man, as a leader. He deserved better than the way that it all went down. I’ll acknowledge that. And I think he knows that too. And I’m not afraid to admit to those things, but I think we’re all better being able to look back on those things. And I do have more appreciation for him as time goes on.”

Jared Goff and Sean McVay react during a Rams game

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff, #16, and head coach Sean McVay react after throwing an incomplete pass on third down in the fourth quarter against the Seattle Seahawks during their game at CenturyLink Field on Oct. 3, 2019 in Seattle. (Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

McVay also praised Goff for his improvement during his tenure in Detroit. “He’s done a great job for them. They’re one of the top offenses the last couple years,” McVay said.

Goff did help lift the Rams to a Super Bowl appearance. Los Angeles’ offense struggled in Super Bowl LII without a healthy Todd Gurley and ultimately suffered a 13-3 loss to the New England Patriots.


The Rams and Lions wild-card round game kicks off at 8 p.m. EST on Jan. 14.

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