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Sean McVay: I wish I’d handled trading Jared Goff better as a leader

Rams COO Kevin Demoff says he's “optimistic” about returning Odell Beckham Jr., but the team will need to hustle before another team swoops in for the star receiver.

Just over three years ago, Rams head coach Sean McVay said it was “insane” to think quarterback Jared Goff would go anywhere.

Obviously, things changed. And everything worked out as well as possible for Los Angeles after the club traded Goff to the Lions as part of the deal for quarterback Matthew Stafford since the Rams won Super Bowl LVI.

But in a recent interview with Mike Silver for his Open Mike podcast, McVay was asked about how he views the end of the Goff era in hindsight and admitted he regrets the way he handled communicating with his former quarterback.

“That was a hard thing for me because the thing that’s more important than anything is being a good communicator — clear, open, and honest. Making sure people aren’t caught off guard and really having respect for the players and the coaches for what they have to do. And I wish that there had been better in-person communication,” McVay said. “The one thing that hurt me is that I would never want anything to be misunderstood about my appreciation, my respect for Jared. Was it a tough decision? Yes. Were there some things that I could’ve handled better in terms of the clarity provided for him? No doubt.

“If I had it over again, what I would do is, before I had even gone to Cabo, when there was a possibility of, alright, if Matthew Stafford’s available, if there’s other quarterbacks available, that would be something that we would explore — you sit down with him, you look him in the eye, you tell him that instead of calling him and setting up a meeting where that was my intention when I got back from Cabo.”

Before delving further into his explanation, McVay noted, “Whatever I’m going to say from here on out is an excuse.” But he said that he didn’t anticipate the trade talks with Stafford and the Lions would escalate as quickly as they did.

“When it got public that we were interested in Matthew, what we thought was going to be a week’s worth of time ended up happening in about 24 to 36 hours,” McVay said. “So all in all, biggest thing I regret, [not] being able to sit down, look him in the eye and be able to communicate kind of where we are, what we were going to try to do moving forward. And for that, I regret it, I’ll not make those same mistakes again.”

“But, I care about Jared. He sure as hell did a lot of good things. And I think the thing that shows what a stud, what a class act he really is, is one of the best text messages I got after the Super Bowl was from Jared Goff. And so, I think the further we get away, the more appreciation that we’ll have for the great four years that we did have together — because there were a lot of really good times. … But all in all, just the better communication, better clarity is what I would’ve wanted. And I didn’t like the outside narrative, but I think he knows where my heart was. And I was glad we were able to connect, sit down, be honest with each other, and I think we both have a lot of respect for each other. And I wish I’d handled it better as a leader for him.”

Goff was 42-20 as a starter for the Rams under McVay from 2017-2020. With Goff behind center, Los Angeles advanced to Super Bowl LIII, falling to the Patriots 13-3.