By: Lucas Kochevar
The first big domino in the QB carousel has fallen as the Detroit Lions have traded QB Matthew Stafford to the Rams for Jared Goff, two 1st round picks, and a 3rd round pick. This trade means many things for both teams. For the Lions, this signifies a new era will happen in Detroit as they will finally turn the page and go into a full-scale rebuild. The Rams will go into this year with the expectations of contending for a Super Bowl with a roster that is in win-now mode.
Jared Goff and the Lions
The Lions new GM, Brad Holmes, worked under Les Snead in LA for several seasons before landing this gig in Detroit. His first big move was to hit the reset button with a new QB for his new HC, Dan Campbell. As stated earlier, the Lions are now likely in rebuild mode and the question is: Weren't they already in rebuild mode? Technically no, with Matthew Stafford at QB, the Lions could have competed every year and they made their intentions well-known that they wanted to at least compete in the division as Matt Patricia's tenure kept going. Patricia was not the man for the job, he was fired and the Lions were on a street to nowhere, once again. The significance of this move is that Stafford was the last big barrier in them embracing a full-on rebuild. Whether you like him or not, Stafford is one of the best players the Lions have ever seen. With him gone, there is no need to play this act of "We want to compete with Matt as our QB," It hits the restart button for a bad franchise.
Jared Goff is no bum coming into this situation and he has had some runs in his career where he has looked very solid. He has also had times where he has looked like a deer in headlight. Look at this past season with the Dolphins game. He looked like a bad D3 quarterback. The concerning part for him now is that he is without offensive mastermind, Sean McVay, and his supporting cast is bad. Comparing the Rams and Lions is like comparing a beat-up 1997 Toyota Camry and a 2020 Lamborghini. The Lions could lose both starting WRs, Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones. Their defense is all sorts of terrible, outside of a few decent players. The only redeeming qualities in my eyes are young studs, RB D'Andre Swift and TE T.J. Hockenson. Goff has to really prove that he is a starting caliber QB and can lead an offense. If he can't help this Lions team win some games, then he can officially be labeled a system QB. Will be very interesting to see the moves that the Lions make.
Matthew Stafford and the Los Angeles Rams
The angle for the Rams now is that there is no excuse to not be in Super Bowl contention. It was reported a couple weeks ago that Sean McVay and Jared Goff had a fractured relationship and this it would take some counseling for them to reconcile. I think we see how that turned out. It was evident during the end of this season that McVay had little trust in Goff. This ultimately fractured their relationship and once you go down that road, there is no going back. The way that Goff didn't start that playoff game in Seattle, despite looking fine once he came in, told you everything you needed to know. The big headline grabber for this trade is that the Rams will be without a first round pick for seven straight seasons. This is incredibly unusual for a team to go through. The Rams obviously view first round picks as just another player to develop. This is fair as they trade their picks for high quality, established veterans.
There is no one more excited for this move more than Matthew Stafford. After countless years in dead end Detroit, Stafford gets to move to the beautiful weather of sunny Los Angeles. There is no bigger winner in this trade than him. He finally gets moved to a team that will utilize his talents properly. Matthew Stafford is one of the most hot and cold quarterbacks when it comes to public opinion. His career arc is fairly similar to his friend and fellow QB, Matt Ryan. He is one of the last, true pocket passers that has a cannon for an arm. Part of the reason why I thought San Francisco would be great for him was that Stafford and Shanahan would work very similarly to the Ryan-Shanahan partnership that led to one of the best offense in league history. I will always take the chance to mention that 2016 Falcons offense. McVay is right there with Shanahan when it comes to offensive genius' and this should prove to let Stafford shine. This should be a very fun team to watch and a deep playoff run is definitely in the cards now.