Late Saturday night, the new broke that the Detroit Lions would be moving their long time quarterback, Matthew Stafford, to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for quarterback Jared Goff, two future first- round picks, and a third-round pick.
Detroit is dealing QB Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for two future first-round picks, a third-round pick and QB Jared Goff, per sources. Two former No. 1 overall picks trading places in the first blockbuster NFL trade of 2021.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 31, 2021
This will be the first of many blockbuster moves of the 2021 NFL offseason, but I can’t see how anything comes close to matching this (well, except maybe a Deshaun Watson trade).
Two former number one overall picks traded for each other? I can’t say I’ve ever seen that happen in the NFL, let alone any sport. Either way, this is a big time deal.The Rams willingly gave up more draft capital to acquire a 32-year-old gunslinger that they believe can get them over the hump: something they clearly thought Goff was incapable of.
Now, Los Angeles will be without a first-round pick until 2024, putting them in clear-cut win now territory if they weren’t already in that spot prior to last night’s the deal.
Jared Goff was Rams last 1st-round pick in 2016; since then, they’ve traded away their next 7 1st-round picks:
•2017: Traded to Titans
•2018: Traded to Pats
•2019: Traded to Falcons
•2020: Traded to Jags
•2021: Traded to Jags
•2022: Traded to Lions
•2023: Traded to Lions
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 31, 2021
So who actually won this trade? Detroit or Los Angeles? Let’s take a look and hand out some grades:
Los Angles Rams
As I mentioned, this move for the Rams screams “win-now”. Yes, Stafford is only 32-years-old, but with an injury history that includes his back, who knows if he will be able to play into his upper 30s like Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and Ben Roethlisberger have.
In addition Stafford’s contract only runs for two more seasons, making him an unrestricted free agent in 2023. And at that point in time would the Rams really want to re-up a 34-year-old quarterback? Possibly, but it comes down to how he plays.
Still, one of the biggest parts of the deal for Los Angeles was the fact that they were able to get out from under that albatross of a contract they gave to Jared Goff. So would they be willing to fork over money to Stafford when the time comes? Or would they just decide to draft a replacement (with the draft picks they don’t have mind you)?
The Rams paid a hefty price for a QB that hasn’t accomplished all that much in his NFL career. Yes, that is probably due to the fact that Stafford has dealt with playing for the Detroit Lions, but even the times that he and the Lions made the postseason they went 0-3.
Nevertheless, Stafford has never had someone like Sean McVay in his corner, so it will be interesting to see if the Rams’ head coach is able to take the signal callers game to another level. Lord knows he did that with Goff after a disastrous rookie season.
Objectively speaking, I think it is fair to say that Stafford is the better overall quarterback than Goff. So the Rams were able to upgrade at footballs most important position, but was it worth the draft capital they had to send to Detroit? If they win a Super Bowl with Stafford yes, if not, no.
And by saying that, I am kind of giving the Rams an incomplete grade. Because if they are able to win the big game at some point with Stafford under center, the deal would’ve been worth all the picks in the world. But if they don’t, and say Goff gets better with age, the trade will look horrible and probably grade out as a D.
Still, it is clear that time will be the telling factor as to whether or not this was the right deal for the Rams. But as of now, the Rams made an immediate upgrade, got rid of Goff’s contract, but still had to give up a lot of draft capital to do so.
However this thing turns out for the Rams, the Detroit Lions hit a home run with this trade. They acquired two first-round picks, a third-round pick, and a 26-year-old quarterback that has already been to the Super Bowl.
Regardless of what you think of Goff (personally I am not a huge fan), he is still only 26-years-old and has a lot of time to get better. I mean, Ryan Tannehill didn’t have his big breakout until he was over 30, and on a different team. So there is still a chance, even if it is slight, that Goff becomes the type of player the Rams thought they were drafting back in 2016.
But even if that isn’t the case, Goff will be a viable bridge quarterback for a rebuilding team looking to start something special with new head coach Dan Campbell.
The Lions were able to trade a quarterback who no longer wanted to play for them to a team for great draft capital and a two-time Pro Bowl quarterback (whatever that’s worth). So job well done Lions. That feels weird to type, but new general manager Brad Holmes really did an excellent job facilitating this deal.
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Featured image courtesy of Twitter / @NFLUK