This past Saturday night the Los Angeles Rams and Detroit Lions agreed on a blockbuster deal sending former No.1 overall pick Matthew Stafford to the Rams for QB Jared Goff, 2021 3rd round pick, 2022 1st round pick, and 2023 1st round pick. The Rams will now go from 2017-2023 without a first round pick. Who was their last first round pick you may ask? The guy they just sent to Detroit, 2016 No.1 overall pick Jared Goff.
Matthew Stafford spent his first 12 years of his NFL career in Detroit but could never get over the hump with the Lions as they never won a playoff game in the Stafford era. The Lions made it to the playoffs three time, 2011, 2014, and 2016 but failed to get to the Divisional Round each time. Now Stafford will get his fresh start in Los Angeles with Sean McVay and the star powered Rams.
The teams started calling Detroit about Stafford after a report on January 23rd came out that Detroit and Stafford mutually agreed to part ways. The Lions were so close to trading Stafford to Carolina that the Panthers were in the middle of acquiring Stafford’s medical records when the Rams came in with an offer the Lions couldn’t refuse. The Panthers offered the #8 overall pick and a late rounder for Stafford, Washington offered #19 overall and a 3rd round pick, and the Colts never offered #21 overall but discussed other packages according to Albert Breer.
The Rams will inherit the two years, $43 million remaining on Stafford’s contract, the Lions will carry a $17.8 million dead cap hit in 2021, per Tom Pelissero. According to Ian Rapoport, the Rams won’t need to changed and an extension was not part of the deal. The Lions will inherit the four years, $106.6 million remaining on Jared Goff’s contract. Los Angeles will carry a $22.2 million dead cap hit in 2021, the largest for one player in NFL history. The Lions had six other offers according to reports but the Lions decided to accommodate Stafford and send him to his preferred destination.
The trade rumors revolving QB Jared Goff started when General Manager of the Rams said in an interview that Jared Goff “is a Ram at the moment”, a statement that seemed to raise questions about how much the Rams were committed to Goff. New Lions GM Brad Holmes knows Goff very well and seems to have a ton of faith in. The Lions seem to have their QB for 2021 however nothing has been ruled out regarding Detroit selecting a quarterback with the No.7 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
The Rams are in a win now mode where they felt they couldn’t win a Super Bowl with Goff just 2 years prior to being in Super Bowl 53 with Goff at the helm. The Rams get Goff off of their books while also improving significantly at the quarterback position. Rams GM Les Snead has showed that they don’t value 1st round picks like most of the NFL does, they will trade them away for star power. The Rams traded a 1st rounder for Brandin Cooks in 2018, 2 1st rounders in October 2019 to the Jaguars for Cornerback Jalen Ramsey, and now send 2 more 1st rounders to Detroit for the 32-year old Stafford. Per Peter King of NBC Sports, McVay said “It’s not about winning the trade. It’s about winning the Super Bowl.” The Rams feel like they are a better football team with Stafford at the top instead of Goff.
The question is who won this trade? The Rams are taking a massive risk by sending large draft compensation to Detroit for a quarterback who’s never won a playoff game. Is that all of Stafford, no, but he has yet to show the world he can win on the big stage. If the Rams win or even reach a Super Bowl with Stafford, I think the football world will view the trade as a success. The Lions on the otherhand acquire Goff, who they feel can be a successful replacement for Stafford while also inheriting 2 future 1st round picks for their rebuild.
The Rams look to be one of the frontrunner to win the NFC next season and if they get elite quarterback play from Stafford while that defense led by Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey continue to be a top unit. It’s not impossible to think we will see the Rams in their home stadium for Super Bowl 56.