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If Jared Goff goes, one of these quarterbacks could be Rams’ 2021 starter

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is congratulated by Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff.
Rams quarterback Jared Goff embraces Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers following their NFC divisional playoff game at Lambeau Field.
(Matt Ludtke / Associated Press)
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With Rams coach Sean McVay and general manager Les Snead giving quarterback Jared Goff no vote of confidence, the team that selected Goff with the first pick in the 2016 NFL draft appears poised to move on.

Cutting Goff would trigger a prohibitive $65.2-million dead cap hit, so a trade or free-agent signing is the most probable way to replace him.

A look at potential targets if the Rams move on from Goff:

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Deshaun Watson

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson scrambles against the Cincinnati Bengals
Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson
(Eric Christian Smith / Associated Press)

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Age: 25

NFL experience: 3 seasons

Career stats: 14,539 yards passing, 104 TDs, 36 INTs

Salary cap number: 2021-$15.9 million, 2022-$40.4 million, 2023-$42.4 million, 2024-$34.7 million, 2025-$32 million

The Houston Texans are hiring a new coach, Dave Culley, but Watson reportedly has made a request to be traded. The three-time Pro Bowl selection is regarded as one of the best young players in the NFL. Watson is represented by agent David Mulugheta, who negotiated cornerback Jalen Ramsey’s record-breaking extension with the Rams.

3

Aaron Rodgers

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers gestures to fans after an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Rams
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers
(Matt Ludtke / Associated Press)

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Age: 37

NFL experience: 16 seasons

Career stats: 51,245 yards passing, 412 TDs, 89 INTs

Salary cap number: 2021-$37.2 million, 2022-$39.9 million, 2023-$28.4 million

The probable 2020 NFL MVP played like it during the Green Bay Packers’ NFC divisional-round victory over the Rams. But in the days leading up to last Sunday’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC championship game, Rodgers hinted he might be ready to move on. Rodgers described his future as “a beautiful mystery,” a phrase Snead quoted four times this week when discussing Goff and the Rams.

4

Matthew Stafford

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford warms up before a game against the Tennessee Titans.
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford
(Ben Margot / Associated Press)

Age: 32

NFL experience: 12 seasons

Career stats: 45,109 passing yards, 282 TDs, 144 INTs

Salary cap number: 2021-$33 million, 2022-$26 million, 2023-$3 million

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The No. 1 pick in the 2009 draft is winless in three playoff games — the last in 2016 — and has been voted to the Pro Bowl only once. But, receiver Calvin Johnson notwithstanding, Stafford has not exactly been surrounded with outstanding talent on offense. Stafford and the Lions reportedly agreed that he should move on, and the team is seeking trade offers.

5

Sam Darnold

New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold runs during a game against the Los Angeles Rams.
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

Age: 23

NFL experience: 3 seasons

Career stats: 8,097 passing yards, 45 TDs, 39 INTs

Salary cap number: 2021: $9.8 million

The former USC star, the third pick in the 2018 draft, has been plagued by illness and injuries, and the Jets — who have the second pick in the draft — have yet to show outward enthusiasm for exercising their fifth-year option. Darnold is mobile and capable of making plays as he demonstrated in the then-winless Jets’ victory over the Rams at SoFi Stadium this season.

6

Dak Prescott

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott throws during a game against the Cleveland Browns.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott
(Michael Ainsworth / Associated Press)

Age: 27

NFL experience: 5 seasons

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Career stats: 17,634 passing yards, 106 TDs, 40 INTs

Salary cap number: TBD

Prescott earned $31.4 million playing under the franchise tag this season, and the Cowboys are probably apt to tag him again if they cannot get a long-term deal done. But there also is a possibility the Cowboys could tag and trade a quarterback who burst onto the NFL scene in the 2016 preseason opener when he completed 10 of 12 passes, two for touchdowns, against the Rams at the Coliseum.

7

Matt Ryan

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan lines up behind his offensive line during a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan
(Kevin Sabitus / Associated Press)

Age: 35

NFL experience: 13 seasons

Career stats: 55,767 yards passing, 347 TDs, 158 INTs

Salary cap number: 2021-$40.9 million, 2022-$41.7 million, 2023-$36.6 million

The Falcons finished 4-12 and have the fourth pick in the draft. If new coach Arthur Smith uses that to select a quarterback, the Falcons could move on from Ryan. The 2016 NFL MVP led his team to Super Bowl LI, only to watch as Tom Brady and the New England Patriots overcame a 25-point, third-quarter deficit to win their fifth championship.

8

John Wolford

Rams quarterback John Wolford plays against the Seattle Seahawks.
Rams quarterback John Wolford
(Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)

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Age: 25

NFL experience: 1 season

Career stats: 231 yards passing, 0 TDs, 1 INT

Salary cap number: 2021-$855,000

After Wolford spent the 2019 season on the Rams practice squad, McVay elevated him to back-up status this season. With Goff recovering from right thumb surgery, Wolford started the season finale against the Arizona Cardinals, showing mobility Goff lacks. McVay started Wolford in the wild-card playoff game against the Seahawks only to see him suffer a neck injury.

Salary cap numbers via overthecap.com

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