Sports | February 1, 2021 2:30 pm

What the Matthew Stafford-Jared Goff Trade Means for the Detroit Lions and LA Rams

The Rams gave up two first-round picks, a third and Goff to bring Stafford to LA

What the Stafford-Goff NFL Blockbuster Means for the Lions and Rams
Ex-Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford calls out signals against the Rams.
Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Though the deal can’t be made official until the NFL’s new league year starts on March 17, the Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Rams have agreed to swap former No. 1 draft picks Matthew Stafford and Jared Goff.

In addition to getting Goff in the deal, the Lions will also receive a 2021 third-round pick, a 2022 first-round pick and a 2023 first-round pick, quite a haul for a quarterback who has never won a playoff game and is going to be 33 by the time next season starts.

Putting Stafford’s playoff woes to the side, he is still a clear upgrade over Goff, who LA coach Sean McVay refused to endorse as the team’s 2021 starter. McVay, who held Goff’s hand all the way to the Super Bowl just two seasons ago, was so dissatisfied with his former franchise QB that he was going to make him compete with John Wolford, an undrafted rookie, for the team’s starting job in 2021. Now, with Stafford in town, that won’t happen.

The addition of Stafford to a Los Angeles team that had the best defense in the NFL last season and plenty of offensive firepower in wideouts Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp should make the Rams, who upset the Seahawks in the playoffs this season, legitimate contenders next season.

Already one of the better teams in the NFC, LA and McVay are going all-in with Stafford, a strategy which makes sense given the team has traded away its first-round picks for years to come and is built to win now, while top players like Aaron Donald are under contract. Keeping some of those players will be a bit easier going forward, as the Rams rid themselves of paying the remainder of the four-year, $134 million contract extension Goff signed in 2019.

The plethora of picks Detroit received in the deal sweetened the sour taste of having to pay that contract, and it is possible a change of scenery will help Goff — who has 38 turnovers over the last two seasons — boost his play next season. But with the Lions basically in a full rebuild under new head coach Dan Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes, Goff is most likely just a stopgap.

“I’m just excited to be somewhere that I know wants me and appreciates me,” Goff said after the deal was announced. “I couldn’t be more excited to build a winner there.”

Good attitude, but if Detroit ever does build a winner, odds are he won’t be involved.

Two additional footnotes: Once it becomes official in March, the Stafford-Goff deal will mark the first time former top picks will be traded for each other since the common draft era began in 1967. Also, the Lions will face the Rams next season at SoFi Stadium in LA. Should be a good ‘un.

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