If there was ever a moment where the Detroit Lions “broke the internet,” last night was that time. The Lions traded Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams for QB Jared Goff, two future first-round picks, and this year’s third-round pick. The initial reaction to the trade sent shockwaves through every Lions fan, for better or worse. Sure, it’s hard to fathom that after 12 seasons, Stafford is gone. However, once you take a step back, you realize that it’s better in the long-term for the Lions rebuilding process; it stings less.
Detroit Lions – A
This is a win on almost every level for the Lions as GM Brad Holmes pulled off two first-round draft picks. The presumed “fair market value” for Stafford was a single first-round pick. Not only do the Lions get two first-round picks, but the team receives this year’s third-round pick. The new front office made NFL history by acquiring the two first-round picks, as that’s something that has never been done in a single trade. Clearly, the Rams compensated the Lions for taking on the heavy contract of Goff off their books. The reasoning this was not an A+ grade is because the first-round picks are in 2022 and 2023. With Holmes having a “bold plan,” there could be more trades looming in the future as the 2021 draft moves closer.
Goff provides a solution as the Lions lay the groundwork for the future. He has regressed in the past two seasons, but he still possesses starting-caliber NFL QB skills. The Lions have 19-year veteran Mark Brunell as their quarterback coach, and he may be able to help revitalize Goff during his time in a Lions uniform. At the very worst, the Lions have received Goff as a bridge towards the future. If the struggling QB can regenerate the success he once saw, it’s an even bigger win for the Lions.
Los Angeles Rams – B-
Yes, the Rams got a significant upgrade with Stafford, but that’s where it stops. The Rams will not have a pick in the first round of any draft until 2024, after the trade. The Rams will also still pay Goff his $22.2 million in guaranteed money and take on Stafford’s contract, which hits $20 million this season and $23 million in 2022.
Stafford’s acquisition gives him offensive weapons he hadn’t had with the Lions, plus one of the league’s top defenses. Both Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp will thrive with Stafford, who has the arm strength that Goff doesn’t have. Cam Akers started in five of his 13 games and put 625 yards on the ground. Coach Sean McVay is hoping that Stafford will put the clamps on the already airtight NFC West division. With not having stock in building towards the future, the Rams are certainly in “win now” mode.
If you had any question marks about this new regime in Detroit, this answered them. This front office will make sure that these are not you “same old Lions.”