A fresh start for both Matthew Stafford and the Lions

Nicholas Lundberg '21, Editor

Former Lions QB Matthew Stafford and former Rams QB Jared Goff (Courtesy: Fox Sports)

On January 30th, 2021, the Detroit Lions made one of the biggest trades in the history of the franchise. The Lions sent their 32 year old franchise QB Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams for QB Jared Goff, their 2021 3rd round pick, and both their 2022 and 2023 1st round picks. This is Brad Holmes’s first deal since being named GM of the team and it comes with some surprise even though he has ties with Goff as he was a key part of the Rams drafting him 1st overall in the draft in 2016. 

Goff, 26, comes into Detroit looking to reinvent his career. After a rocky rookie season, the Rams hired current head coach Sean McVay and their first 2 years together were something special. They won back-to-back division titles and an NFC championship. Their relationship since their Super Bowl loss, like the Ram’s offense, has been very shaky though. Goff has stated that he has felt unwanted in L.A. and that he is, “Happy, grateful, ready for a new opportunity,” in Detroit. His contract is also structured so that, if he performs poorly, the Lions can drop him with 0$ in dead cap in 2023. This makes Goff a very low-risk, high-reward piece of a massive trade.

Along with getting Goff, the Lions also received 3 draft picks over the next 3 years. 2 firsts and a third can be very valuable, assuming that the Rams will be contenders for the next 2 years and considering that Brad Holmes is known for finding talent later in rounds. The Lions had some other decent offers for Stafford, most notably being Carolina’s. They offered Detroit the 8th pick and a fifth round pick in this year’s draft along with QB Teddy Bridgewater. The Lions have the 7th pick in this year’s draft and that trade would have given them back-to-back top ten picks. But, given the circumstances of the roster, the Lions decided to go with the long rebuild with accepting the Rams offer. 

The Lions will certainly miss Matthew Stafford but it does offer them a chance at finally completing a successful rebuild and it also gives Stafford the long overdue opportunity to play for a winning team. Overall, this trade benefits both teams and we will be talking about the effects of this trade for a long time, whether they be good or bad.