Just when you thought the NFL could take a breather before Super Bowl 55 really starts on Monday morning … well. The seismic deal rocked the league Saturday night, not even involving a team change for Deshawn Watson. The Los Angeles Rams and Detroit Lions
have agreed to a box office success that will send veteran Motown quarterback Matthew Stafford to Tinseltown, and the Rams will send quarterback Jared Goff and a draft package, including two first graders, to Detroit. This is a fascinating deal that should keep both franchises alive, even if some may scratch their heads at first.
Let’s break it down by looking at the winners and losers in this first NFL mega-deal in 2021:
Let’s take a look at the biggest winners and losers from trade.
Winner; QB Matthew Stafford
Stafford: It’s not hard to find ex-Lions who trust Stafford’s resilience, talent, and personality. Nonetheless, those traits and TD’s 282 career passes earned him the 2009 Draft of the Year title in three wild card games without winning. (Detroit’s last playoff win came at the end of the 1991 season.) That doesn’t mean Stafford was Aaron Rogers-Light thrown at Motown. But he has orchestrated many highlights and solid seasons for a franchise that has been changing almost constantly: Stafford played for four coaches, including acting boss Darrell Bevell in 2020. Since Calvin Johnson
left, he has had no elite teammates. and Ndamukong Sukh.
NOW? Joining the Rams effectively ensures that Stafford has the best running play, the best offensive line, the best defense, and most importantly, the best conversationalist he has ever had in the NFL, head coach Sean McVeigh. The Rams have won one more playoff game this year than Stafford has ever won; It should be interesting to see what marriage is capable of.
New GM in Detroit Brad Holmes: Hi sir. Accidentally hired by the Lions just two weeks ago from the Rams (he was their college scouting director), it didn’t take long for Holmes to feel his presence in Michigan. Under his leadership, the club quickly telegraphed its intention to part with Stafford, the undisputed leader of Lviv in all significant passing categories, and within a mile of the country. Holmes has found a loyal following in his former boss, Rams general manager Les Snead, who is never afraid of big hesitation.
Some admire the huge compensation Holmes received in Los Angeles (first-round elections in 2022 and 2023 and third-round elections this year). But this is similar to what happened four years ago when the Texans traded Brock Osweiler for the Browns – for whom Osweiler never took a single snap in the regular season – only on a larger scale. (Cleveland accepted the Osweiler pact a year after he signed a 72$ million four-year deal, with Houston sending the Browns a second-round pick as part of a package to offset the wage drop.)
Following three consecutive finishes in the last place, Detroit has just added enough energy to its recovery plan, in part because Snead is essentially rewarding Holmes with additional draft capital because he is removing Goff’s massive expansion from the Rams books. The Goff trade will cost Los Angeles about $ 22 million, but a cut would mean a failed $ 65 million blow without coverage. Were Stafford worth two first graders in a vacuum? Almost certainly not. But Holmes found a creative way to add value to the veteran one last time.
Rams Hope for the Super Bowl: Stafford, who turns 33 on Super Sunday, definitely has to prove it can win big with the best players around. But it’s hard to imagine that he didn’t improve on Los Angeles’ attack, which is often thwarted by Goff’s inconsistency. McVeigh didn’t even want Goff to play in the divisional round of the Rams, losing to the Packers earlier this month, until it became clear that John Woolford, injured by a wild card in Seattle, will not be available. … And no one will forget how Goff and that attack parted ways in Super Bowl 53, hitting 260 yards and three points on the day 14 points would have beaten the Patriots.
Stafford and McVeigh will undoubtedly have to adjust to each other, but the veteran’s experience and electric arm talent should further diversify offense with depth across all skill levels, including two 1000-yard receivers (Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp) in 2019. Snead can add a serious threat too, it is unknown how creative McVeigh can get. And given the state of NFC East, Drew Brees’ pending retirement, and Tom Brady’s advanced age (right?), the Rams will likely be among the favorites for the Conference Super Bowl next season.
MIKE JONES: Apparently Los Angeles is disappointed in Jared Goff.
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Remaining NFC West: The Rams made it to the playoffs despite Goff’s uneven play – as indicated by a loss to the earlier 0-13 New York Jets. Now the Seahawks division champion, break-even Cardinals, and an injured 49th look like they’ll have to deal with a much tougher beast in 2021.
Rams’ Long-Term Future: When L.A. last pick in the first round? How about 2016 when Goff was the top pick. At this time, Snead and McVeigh will not pick in the first round again … until 2024. But heck, so much has been invested in Stafford now – he has a contract until 2022 – DL Aaron Donald and CB Jalen Ramsey can ‘I blame LA for laying down the Sunset Strip to compete now … although it should be noted that this team has done a good job of attracting players despite not coming out on the first night of the draft every year.
2021 draft QB prospects? The Lions are scheduled to pick seventh in the first round of this year’s draft. With Stafford at the start, they seemed like a likely destination for a young quarterback like BYU’s Zach Wilson, Ohio State’s Justin Fields or North Dakota State’s Trey Lance. That may still be the case, although any quarterback drafted by Detroit will likely be stuck on the bench for at least a year. There is also the possibility that the Lions bypass the quarterbacks entirely, meaning that one or two of these players could fall off the board and earn less money.
Goff: Five years ago, he was the top pick in the draft. Two years ago, he was in the Super Bowl. Just over a year ago, he signed his now infamous four-year, $ 134 million extensions. A few weeks ago, he was running bravely onto a playoff field with pins holding his thumb less than two weeks after he had been surgically repaired.
But now? A 26-year-old who made the Pro Bowl twice after McKay arrived in Los Angeles looks like a damaged product and is unlikely to be more than a placeholder for the rebooted Lions. Goff may not even be able to play with WR Kenny Gelada, whose contract expires and, after being backed by the league’s top-ranked defense in 2020, must now settle for a D that ranks last in the league. Not the best of circumstances for a guy hoping to resurrect his career.