Rams coach Sean McVay had the ultimate leverage land in his lap in February, when Amazon wanted to pay him $20 million or so per year to become the analyst for Thursday Night Football. When McVay passed on the opportunity, he presumably secured a new financial commitment from Rams owner Stan Kroenke.
As McVay tells it, he didn’t. As McVay tells it, he still hasn’t gotten a new contract.
“We’re in a good place,” McVay said at the opening of training camp, regarding the status of an extension, via Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times.
As to whether a deal will be in pace before the start of the regular season, McVay said that it was “more than likely,” but that he “wouldn’t want to put a timetable on it.”
“These things can kind of drag on, as we all know,” McVay said. “But I do feel really good about the direction and all the conversations that have been had as it relates to myself and [G.M.] Les [Snead].”
It’s a bit surprising that McVay didn’t insist on a binding agreement from the Rams before he said no to Amazon. Once he closed that door, his leverage disappeared. And it won’t return until after the season, at the earliest. Even then, the big-money broadcasting seats are all taken.
Then there’s this possibility, which isn’t as crazy as it sounds because it’s happened before. It’s possible that McVay already has his new contract, and that the entire organization has decided to act as if he doesn’t.
In 2016, the Rams decided to conceal that coach Jeff Fisher and Snead had gotten new contracts in the offseason. The truth didn’t emerge until December, after Fisher fell under fire for chronic underachievement. COO Kevin Demoff later acknowledged that the secrecy may have been a mistake.
Demoff’s comment related to the fact that Fisher was fired. With McVay, who is as safe as any coach in the league, the Rams could choose once again to pretend that the head coach hasn’t gotten a new contract, when in fact he already has.
From the Fisher contract to the things said publicly and privately before leaving St. Louis, it’s been clear for a while that the very top of the Rams organization has a casual, at best, relationship with truth. It’s entirely possible that, in this case, the truth is that McVay already has his deal.
Hopefully, he does. Hopefully, he got Kroenke to fork over some of his yacht maintenance fund before McVay said “no thanks” to Bezos money.
And there’s a very good reason for the Rams to hide the fact that a deal was done in February, if it indeed was. Kroenke and the rest of the league’s owners won’t want to create the impression that the Rams got squeezed by interest from a network to give McVay a gigantic raise. So Kroenke and Demoff commit to a gigantic raise in order to get McVay to reject Amazon, and then they all agree the deal will be announced much later, in order to make it look like Amazon had nothing to do with forcing Kroenke to pay up.