Los Angeles Rams backup quarterback Blake Bortles will be a free agent this offseason. His potential exit leaves the backup spot as a question mark for the Rams. Will Bortles be re-signed or will there be a new backup come 2020? The answer depends on what kind of backup the Rams want behind Jared Goff next season. Spoiler alert: it might not be the same as what the Rams wanted in 2019.
Will Blake Bortles Backup Jared Goff In 2020?
As with any position, the Rams need to know in advance what kind of quarterback to shop for in the offseason. First and foremost, the Rams need someone who can step in and win games over a short period of time if something were to happen to Jared Goff.
Next, Head Coach, Sean McVay would like someone who could handle a playoff run if needed, as the Rams are still in a “win-now” mode.
Thirdly, the Rams need someone that comes with a responsible price tag due to the currently rough salary cap situation.
Fourth, the Rams would like to have someone who is a natural scheme fit in order to maximize their chances of winning games.
Finally, and most luxuriously, the Rams might like someone who could possibly provide a spark for the offense if Jared Goff continues to struggle as he did in 2019 when he put up 22 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. Obviously, this would only occur as a last-ditch effort to spark a playoff push late in the year.
Which players would fit this build the best?
The most boring choice, Blake Bortles has shown that he can handle a playoff run due to the fact that he has played in an AFC championship game in the past. Secondly, Bortles is cheap: he only cost the Rams one million dollars in 2019. Also, Bortles is a natural scheme fit as he comes from a Jacksonville Jaguars team that had its best season when running the ball to set up play-action passes.
However, the odds that Bortles can come in and light a spark for the offense over Jared Goff are not very realistic. That being said, the odds are not completely impossible due to his ability to be a scheme fit and also because of his playoff experience.
It is very unclear as to Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston’s fate this offseason. He could remain in Tampa Bay or he could also find himself somewhere else as a backup, or potentially a starter with a QB needy team.
Considering the fact that Winston and his old backup Ryan Fitzpatrick are very similar players in the way that both can be hot as lava or cold as dry ice depending on the Sunday, and looking at Fitzpatrick’s relative success as a backup, one can guess that Winston would also make a great backup.
However, the biggest drawback to Winston is that he doesn’t have any playoff experience. Additionally, he might be affordable as a backup (keyword might), considering that backup money is in the same ballpark as base pay of rookie contracts before taking into account the various salary bonuses.
While Winston isn’t a true scheme fit for Sean McVay’s gameplan before Sundays, he would fit nicely when McVay decides to abandon the running game in the actual game. That being said, while Winston doesn’t quite fit in with the Rams in some ways, his saving grace is that he is one of the best quarterbacks on the market when it comes to the potential of lighting a spark later in the season.
After bouncing around the league for much of his NFL career, Keenum once again finds himself wondering where he’ll play next season. Many older Rams fans will likely immediately take umbrage with the idea of Keenum returning. However, this isn’t the same Rams team as when he last wore the horns.
Keenum can definitely come in and win games as his time in Minnesota illustrates. The journeyman also has playoff experience as he made it to an NFC championship game with the Vikings. Keenum is likely also quite cheap in a reasonably saturated quarterback market for 2020. Also, considering that he only made 3.5 million dollars from the Redskins in 2019 as a starter, there is a great chance that the Rams could get him as a backup for half of that or less.
He is an under-the-radar scheme fit for the Rams as his ratings while using play-action are among the best in the league. Keenum has already provided a spark to a team as a backup quarterback. He did this in 2017 after Sam Bradford went down with an injury and subsequently led his team to the NFC championship game.
The Award For Best Fit Goes To…
Case Keenum is the most realistic and best option for the Rams to backup Jared Goff in 2020. He would likely be an upgrade over Blake Bortles and has a bigger chance of providing a spark to the offense if needed late in the season. He is not the cheapest option but the backup quarterback is likely a higher priority this season and his price is likely not as much as Jameis Winston would ask.
Overall, Keenum is good enough to start for the Rams if needed but not openly good enough to create a quarterback controversy. This is the tightrope on which the Rams will need to balance if they want to maximize their chances of success in 2020.