On Saturday night, the Los Angeles Rams completed a trade with the Detroit Lions which saw Matt Stafford heading to L.A. In return, the Lions received Jared Goff, a 2022 1st round pick, a 2023 1st round pick and a 3rd round pick for this year’s upcoming draft. With both teams coming to an agreement, the deal will become official on March 17th. It’s very rare to see quarterback swaps like this, let alone former #1 overall picks. With that being said, let’s take a dive into some of the major takeaways from this blockbuster trade.
1. The Rams Think Matt Stafford is the Answer…But is He?
With a trade like this, Rams GM Les Snead and head coach Sean McVay are ready to win now. They think bringing in a vet like Stafford with the weapons they already have will take the offense to the next level. On the other side, this trade brings a lot of risk with it, as well. Matt Stafford is an established veteran in the league, but who says he’s the guy to take on the challenge? During his entire career, Stafford has only reached the playoffs 3 times, all resulting in 1st round exits. Yes, football is a team sport. But, I’d like more of a sample size of Stafford in the postseason before I throw the kitchen sink to land him.
The next thing to look at is stats. In 2020, Jared Goff’s and Matt Stafford’s stats were pretty similar. The only noticeable difference is that Stafford threw for 6 more touchdowns than Goff. Wouldn’t you want the next guy you bring in as your quarterback to be dominantly better than the last? Especially for what the Rams gave up to get him. With this trade, the Rams will enter the NFL draft without a 1st round pick for 7 consecutive seasons! I don’t care who you are, that type of drought is going to hurt a team’s growth and development, potentially hindering them from winning it all come February.
Not only that, but if the Rams are willing to commit this amount of picks, why not go after Deshaun Watson? The Texans say they aren’t looking to deal Watson, but the star quarterback said he wants out. With the predicament Houston is in, they would have welcomed the Rams deal with open arms. For the Rams, they would’ve gotten a 25-year-old franchise quarterback they could build around for years to come. Instead, L.A. is stuck with a 32-year-old Stafford who has a shorter window to win.
2. Jared Goff is Getting the Fresh Start he Needs.
Since his Super Bowl appearance in the 2018 season, Jared Goff hasn’t been the same quarterback. Over the past 2 seasons, Goff has seen a decline in his passing yards and touchdowns. To make matters worse, the former Cal Bear recently signed a 4-year $134 million extension. This puts even more pressure on the former #1 overall pick to perform. At least Goff will have a familiar face that believes in him in Detroit. Recently hired Lion’s GM Dan Holmes was the Rams director of college scouting when they selected Goff in the 2016 draft. Having a guy in house is huge for Goff because it’s a second chance to live up to the extension he signed in 2019.
On the field, Goff will have help from Kenny Golladay, T.J. Hockenson and D’Andre Swift. The future is also bright in Detroit, now that they have 3 additional draft picks from the Rams. With the big contract that Goff is on, he will need to establish himself in Detroit’s long term plans or he may find himself on the market following next season.
3. The Price For Deshaun Watson Went Waaaayyy Up.
Now that Stafford is off the board, what’s going to happen with Deshaun Watson? The price for the Texans quarterback is only going to go up after the Lions and Rams blockbuster deal. Is it possible that Houston pulls the trigger on a deal that offers three 1st round picks, two 3rd round picks and a player? If that is the asking price, what team is going to match that? It’s a sticky situation that might spell a bad ending for Watson because nobody can match what Houston is looking for. If so, does Deshaun holdout until a deal is done, or does he suit up and play in the 2021 season? Only time will tell.
When it comes to the winner of this trade, it’s Detroit hands down. The Lions bring in a younger quarterback that’s made runs into the postseason, including a Super Bowl LIII appearance. Not only that, but Detroit adds 3 future draft picks, as well. This gives the Lions plenty of options to help their rebuild process. Even if Goff doesn’t work out, Detroit could cut Goff after the 2021 season, resulting in a zero dollar cap hit.
Both Goff and Stafford will have the opportunity to make their mark against their old teams, as the Lions and Rams are scheduled to face off in Inglewood next season.