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Rams draft analysis: Pick could be groomed to replace Blake Bortles

Rams draft analysis: Pick could be groomed to replace Blake Bortles
Quarterback Blake Bortles gets ready to pass for the Jaguars against the Texas on Dec. 30. (Eric Christian Smith / Associated Press)

As the Rams prepare for the NFL draft, The Times will examine their roster. Part 7 of 8: Quarterbacks.

Big money is eventually coming his way, but when Rams quarterback Jared Goff reported for offseason workouts last week, he said he was not thinking about his contract situation.

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“Not on my mind at all,” said Goff, who is preparing for his fourth NFL season. “I know the deal and understand that I hired an agent for that reason, and things always work out. You continue to play well, it will work itself out.”

Sometime before the NFL’s May 3 deadline to exercise options, the Rams will employ their fifth-year option on Goff — the first pick in the 2016 NFL draft — guaranteeing him a 2020 salary of more than $20 million. And before he plays that season, he could receive a massive extension.

Goff is due to earn a base salary of $4.3 million this season and carries a salary cap number of $8.9 million, according to overthecap.com.

NFL teams have the option of adding a fifth year to first-round rookie contracts after a player’s third season. The fifth year is guaranteed for injury. Players selected with the first through 10th picks can earn a fifth-year salary that is the average of the 10 highest salaries at their position.

Goff and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, the No. 2 pick in the 2016 draft, are represented by the same firm. Both are expected to be impacted by the recent extension the Seattle Seahawks gave quarterback Russell Wilson. His four-year, $140-million extension included $107 million in guarantees.

Goff, who helped lead the Rams to a Super Bowl appearance this past season, enters the year with an experienced backup. Blake Bortles, seeking an opportunity to learn from coach Sean McVay, signed a one-year, $1-million contract with the Rams after the Jacksonville Jaguars released him in March.

Bortles passed for 103 touchdowns, with 75 interceptions, in five seasons with the Jaguars. During the 2017 season, he led them to the AFC championship game.

After he signed with the Rams, Bortles said he was looking forward to working with Goff. The quarterbacks have been friends for a few years, Goff said.

“I would imagine he’s kind of excited for the role and to be there and, hopefully, help me,” Goff said. “And I’m excited to continue to grow with him and work together.”

Under contract for 2019: Jared Goff ($8.9 million), Blake Bortles ($1 million), Brandon Allen ($645,000), John Wolford ($495,000).

Free agents: Sean Mannion, a third-round pick by the Rams in 2015, signed with the Minnesota Vikings. Bortles could not wait to join the Rams, and the team was happy to welcome a player who can play for a bargain rate because the Jaguars reportedly owed him $6.5 million.

Draft: Bortles is only expected to be with the Rams for one season, so McVay will possibly take a shot at a quarterback who can be groomed.

Roster decisions: The Rams will extend Goff at some point before or after the 2019 season. Wolford played in college at Wake Forest and most recently in the defunct Alliance of American Football.

NEXT: Running backs.

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