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Rams’ next spending priority could be on extensions for Jared Goff and Marcus Peters

Rams’ next spending priority could be on extensions for Jared Goff and Marcus Peters
The Rams are more likely to give quarterback Jared Goff a contract extension after next season. Says coach Sean McVay: “Whether it happens this year, next year, those are things we haven’t really gotten into in depth about yet.” (Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press)

The Rams are done, for the most part, with free agency.

They are turning their attention to the NFL draft in April.

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Looming — perhaps in May, June, July or beyond — are possible discussions about extensions for players such as quarterback Jared Goff and cornerback Marcus Peters.

Last July, receiver Brandin Cooks got an extension with $50.5 million guaranteed. Running back Todd Gurley’s extension later that month guaranteed $45 million. In August, offensive lineman Rob Havenstein received an extension and $16.2 million guaranteed, and defensive tackle Aaron Donald got $87 million in guaranteed money on the eve of the season.

The Rams made all of those deals knowing that Goff, the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft, would be going into his fourth season in 2019.

Goff this season will have a base salary of $4.3 million, and carry a salary-cap number of $8.9 million, according to overthecap.com. That is a bargain in a league where the 10 highest-paid quarterbacks will have cap numbers of $23 million to $29.5 million.

The Rams are more likely to extend Goff after his fourth season, but the franchise has shown a willingness to extend players after their third, including former receiver Tavon Austin in 2016 and Gurley last year.

Goff, 24, is coming off his second consecutive Pro Bowl season and led the Rams to the Super Bowl.

“Jared’s obviously extremely important to us,” coach Sean McVay said Tuesday during a breakfast at the NFL owners meetings. “But those are things that we know we want to get him done at some point.

“Whether it happens this year, next year, those are things we haven’t really gotten into in depth about yet.”

Goff is represented by the same agency as Cooks, receiver Cooper Kupp and new backup quarterback Blake Bortles. General manager Les Snead joked that, “it seems like we’re always talking through that situation of when,” regarding Goff.

“Jared’s in a very similar boat [as] the rest of the guys,” Snead said. “Let us get through this phase right now because this phase directly impacts the ’19 season, and then after that we’ll figure out ’20 and beyond.”

The Rams traded for Peters, 26, before last season and paid the two-time Pro Bowl player about $1.7 million. They exercised their fifth-year option and will pay Peters about $9.1 million this season.

But will they extend his contract?

Peters returned an interception for a touchdown in the opener against the Oakland Raiders. But he played through a calf injury suffered in Week 3 against the Chargers and did not perform at his previous level through much of the season. A player who had 19 interceptions in his first three NFL seasons had three in 2018.

“He made plays that weren’t really indicative of what we feel like he is,” McVay said. “And what I love the most about Marcus is that he took accountability for it.”

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McVay noted that Peters played better late in the season and played his best game in the Super Bowl, a 13-3 victory by the New England Patriots.

The Rams “absolutely” would like to have Peters around for years to come, McVay said.

“I told his agent … ‘If he keeps playing this way, I think hopefully we’ll get a chance to work together for a long time,’ ” McVay said.

Peters’ improved play helped “his cause” in regard to a possible extension, Snead said.

“Anytime you trade for a young player, the goal is for that guy to be a Ram,” Snead said. “That would be the intent of the trade, is you know that this would be nice if this worked out.”

Etc.

Snead said the Rams had discussions with defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh’s representative and “being part of the Rams is pretty much guaranteed to be off the table,” based on “budgetary constraints this year [that] probably doesn’t fit in his desires.” But he noted that “two weeks later, he calls up and says, ‘I want to play for this,’ then you may reopen” the case for bringing him back.

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