Lions Trade Stafford to Rams for Goff and Picks

The Detroit Lions are dealing Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams for a package that includes Jared Goff, a third-round pick this year, and first-round picks in 2022 and 2023.

Stafford finished 14th in passing DYAR this season and now goes to a really quarterback-friendly offensive system. Jared Goff finished 20th in passing DYAR this season and now goes to -- well, who really knows, because Detroit currently has one wide receiver under contract (Quintez Cephus).

The Rams take a cap hit of $22 million as the rest of Goff's bonuses accelerate onto their 2021 cap. But they managed to get rid of $43.3 million in guaranteed money that they owed Goff for 2021 and 2022.

Amazingly, this trade now means that the Rams will have no first-round picks between 2017 and 2023, seven straight years.

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167 comments, Last at 03 Feb 2021, 3:44pm

1 The Rams have traded 2…

The Rams have traded 2 firsts for Goff, one first for Cooks, 2 firsts for Ramsey, and now 2 firsts for Stafford.


That's an unimaginable 7 first rounders, nearly a decade of low cost, potentially valuable assets. It hasn't burned them yet but that doesn't mean it won't. All it takes is a Donald injury to turn the Rams into the Texans.

Stafford is a better QB than Goff, but this price better? Yikes.


43 The Rams as an organization…

The Rams as an organization are willing to give first round picks, because they trust their college scouting to get valuable contributors in the later rounds (which, to be fair, they have over the past several years).

146 I would be worried if that…

I would be worried if that is their strategy. There is scant evidence that any teams are actually able to outperform the rest at scouting/drafting, although I suppose if it was going to happen it would most likely be in the later rounds.

147 Exactly. This has worked so…

Exactly. This has worked so far, but that doesn't imply they can continue to get away with it. This strategy of mining the later parts of the draft has never worked long term for any franchise and I doubt it will suddenly revert for the Rams.

48 Lol.  On the Lions’s side,…

Lol.  On the Lions’s side, taking on Goff’s albatross contract will eat up their remaining cap space (they’ll have to cut some expensive veterans to cut under the cap).  You can’t overpay in free agency if you don’t have cap space to do it!

2 Huge win for the Rams!As…

Huge win for the Loins!

As for the Rams... were they that desperate to get rid of Goff's albatross of a contract? Two firsts and a 3rd feels like robbery, especially for a QB with, what, 5 years left? Baffling trade.

162 Good to know! I'll just…

Good to know! I'll take your word for it, as Elway's post-Manning QB management has been pretty meth-inducing. I'll just stick with my regular stash for now.

Also, maybe the aforementioned paraphernalia is messing with my memory, but I don't think I've seen your name in a while. If that impression is correct, welcome back!

8 I disagree that the Lions…

I disagree that the Lions are fleecing the Rams. I think we’re about to have a nice experiment in how much the team and coaching environment affects QB play. I think we’re gonna see Stafford have a serious mid to late career resurgence (he’s only 32 but feels like he’s been around forever). And we’re about to see just how bad Jared Goff is without Sean McVay to prop him up.

The difference between mediocre and good is worth a lot, and the contract differences only sweeten the deal further. No firsts but now they’ll have more cap room for vet free agents.


12 Goff is bad, we saw that…

Goff is bad, we saw that before McVay got there. But Stafford has been playing for a good while now and Brady is an outlier in regards to years your average QB will play.

You make a good point in regards to cap space, but they have crippled their ability to restock talent around him by constantly trading away draft picks.

McVay is a great offensive mind so it may work out, but I think the price was to steep.

13 I mean even if you only…

I mean even if you only expect him to retire/be bad at 38 that’s still 4 years before he begins a 2-year decline to bad. He’s not gonna soar to Aaron Rodgers heights with a new coach bc he’s not that good, but top 10 DVOA and DYAR is very very possible. Hell, he likely would’ve done that in 2019 if he didn’t get hurt.

42 Agreed-- Stafford is…

Agreed-- Stafford is significantly better than Goff and can do much more as a quarterback; the Rams offense worked with Goff's limitations as much as McVay could, but they could only go so far that way, and I think that's the real conclusion the Rams made here. They're basically on a Stafford/Donald timeline to shoot for a Super Bowl.

(They really need to add a downfield threat; they don't have any fast receivers. But if they do that, and the defense and OL holds their form well enough, I think they are legitimate contenders now.)

44 “top 10 DVOA and DYAR is…

“top 10 DVOA and DYAR is very very possible”

That should be expected, not just possible.  Given that he’s been top 10 multiple times with Scott Linehan, Jim Bob Cooter, and Darrell Bevell as his play callers, I’m very curious to see what Sean McVay can do with him.

57 I'm not sure Goff is good…

I'm not sure Goff is good without mcvay.

but he was a rookie, for Jeff Fisher, in an offense designed by a long time TE coach, first time OC (also last time OC).  His struggles shouldn't be totally surprising.

Goff in the last 5 years has been terrible, amazing, amazing, mediocre, and mildly bad.  Reporting has always suggested mcvay was holding him up, but that doesn't prove it.


32 "The difference between…

"The difference between mediocre and good is worth a lot."

The best statement said on this entire subject. Everyone wants to force rank these guys like the difference between 10 and 15 is the same as 15 and 20. That's just not the case. There's great, really good, above average, and mediocre. Stafford is really good and Goff is mediocre and that difference has a steep cost.

Also, the Rams must think they have all the pieces in place to win it all--they are just a really good QB from getting there. Why not take your best shot now and deal with the repercussions in 2025.

10 Good haul for the Lions

Surprised they got it done this quickly. Didn't even wait for the SB. 

7 straight years of no 1sts. Yeesh. The bottom is gonna fall out hard on the Rams. 

Also if Stafford is worth a mid-tier QB, two firsts and a third, Watson is worth like six firsts.

14 I'll be surprised if the…

I'll be surprised if the Texans trade him for less than three 1st round picks. He's a young in his prime franchise QB and you don't give those away. To bad they totally mishandled the situation, but that's on them.

19 But Watson has a no-trade…

But Watson has a no-trade clause.  He can somewhat dictate the trade terms.  He won't want to go to a team that can't put good players around him.  No sense going from the Texans to Texans 2.0.

25 Yes, they both have some…

Yes, they both have some leverage and that's going to somewhat impact what the Texans can get in a trade.  I'm going to guess two firsts and a third.  The 2 firsts being 2021 and 2022 not both this year.

55 I struggle to see Watson…

I struggle to see Watson getting traded for less than three firsts. The guy is only 25 and probably a top-three QB. I'd be offering four first round picks if I felt I was a QB away from contending.

161 I think it'll be 4 firsts …

I think it'll be 4 firsts (two this year, two next), from the Jets (maybe the #34 pick this year, too).  Because the Jets and Dolphins are both bidders, in the same division (so the loser not only doesn't get Watson, but has to play him twice a year instead), and both have exceptional draft capital right now (the Dolphins could offer three firsts plus Tua, including the #3 pick- the Jets can outbid them, but not by a ton), the Texans are in a position to leverage a historic haul (one of Kittle/Bosa, Jimmy G, and 3 first round picks gets close, but I don't think the 49ers have the stomach for that)

127 Does he care about the money…

Does he care about the money?  I know most athletes do. But honestly, sometimes when the man f's you over and you are already in the top 0.01% of wealth in the world, working for the man more isn't worth it at any price.

Said another way, if he had decided in his heart of heart that he will never, ever, ever, ever play for the Texans no matter the financial cost, would he have done much differently?

The consensus on Bell is that he 'lost' and the Steeler's 'won'.  Well, Bell is in the top 0.01% of wealth in the world*, playing in the Superbowl, and on a team that looks very fun to be a part of.  And all it cost him was a rounding error in where he is in the world's wealth ladder.

Yes, its a lot in absolute terms, but very small in marginal terms if either one of them kept part of their income safe.  And the marginal value of each dollar drops.

*assuming he kept at least some of it, which is sadly very uncommon.

16 I'm not so sure about that. …

I'm not so sure about that.  The Rams are built to win now and they need to win in order to get fans interested in the team.  I view their willingness to trade picks as an encouraging sign about their competitiveness since I don't think that they would do this deal if they didn't think that they were still a SB contender.  They could've easily won 12+ games this year with more consistent QB play.  While draft picks are valuable, they provide theoretical value on the field since you actually have to identify the right players.  It's obvious that they emphasize FA and trades over the draft.  It hasn't seemed to hurt them much yet.

Actually Goff's contract is onerous relative to the level of production.  That was a factor since Detroit likely demanded more picks to take on such a contract instead of just drafting a QB in the first round this year.  Also given the trove of picks, it wouldn't shock me if Detroit makes another big move.

24 Draft picks are also really cheap

Now all they have is #57, a 6th and a 7th this year. They're essentially banking on Stafford taking them from divisional losers to the SB winners with the same team. And watching him over the years...meh. Upgrade, but IDK if it's big enough to make that jump. And they're still like -$13m in cap space. And that's with starters in Reynolds, Floyd, Blythe, Hill, Johnson, and Ebukam being UFAs. 6 starters of varying value. And again, they have 3 draft picks this year and are still over the cap. Good luck. Will be interesting at least. 

81 If you switched their…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

If you switched their situations, Brady would have as many SB appearances as Stafford does.

95 If Rodgers and Brees only…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

If Rodgers and Brees only have one and players like Marino have none, and considering the state of the Lions organization through the years, I'd be willing to bet Stafford would have more (one or two, maybe) than Brady.

96 It's 2021

And we're seriously sitting here discussing Stafford and Brady as being in the same realm.

This is why Stafford is overrated. 

97 I think you're missing the…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

I think you're missing the point.  This is not about Stafford being in the same realm as Brady (obviously he's clearly not), it's about what a tire fire of a franchise the Lions have been for decades.  They got the best quarterback they've ever had in 5 decades, and have 3 first round playoff losses to show for it (how much or little blame he shares for that is open to debate, certainly).  If Tom Brady landed there in 2001, I don't think it's a stretch to say he probably wouldn't have made the Super Bowl 10 times....making it even one time with no team around him would have been a stretch.

99 We just gotta stop.

He stood by the fire and all he tried to do was spit on it. Not everything has been perfect for Brady either. 

The great QBs rise above. Peytons situation wasn't great either but he made it relatively work and there's no debate. 

Stafford gets way too many passes, as if he's the only player ever to play for a bad franchise. 2020 Stafford doesn't get to the SB with Tampa this season. Brady brought Matt Patricia to 3 SBs and won 2 of em. There is a wide gap and I can't believe there are people underrating Brady just to prop up Stafford. Brady is not a complete by product of his environment. 

103 "There is a wide gap" I don…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

"There is a wide gap" 

I don't disagree, Brady is one of the best quarterbacks of all time, but part of the reason for that gap is his early career development in New England. 

I'm a Michigan alum/fan, and I watched every snap Brady took in college (where he almost got benched for Drew Henson)....and let's just say I wasn't surprised he didn't get taken in the early rounds (I had him pegged as 4th or 5th rounder who would make a decent backup, or at best a low end starter). Did his magical "it factor" or "moxie" or "clutchiness" suddenly show up out of thin air in the pros?  Or do you think it more likely that coaching and development played more of a role in him reaching his full potential?  And do you think he would have gotten that coaching and development with the Matt Millen Lions?

105 To reiterate,

he isn't a complete by product of his environment. If the only answer is that everything was perfect for him to get to 10 SBs across multiple teams and decades, IDK what else to say. He, as the QB, aka the most valuable position, plays a large role in that (and the reverse is true for Stafford). Rodgers, Brees, Marino (actually made one) have other deep playoff runs to go along side that. Stafford doesn't. And he had Megatron. And prime Suh. What's Brady doing with old Suh now? Something Stafford, Jameis, etc couldn't.

Belichicks contributions might be underrated from a offensive POV but Brady is proving without him it was mostly him, even though that experience is offset with him being old and somehow even less athletic. 

Belichick didn't groom him as some offensive genius. Do you think McDaniels was the main reason? Other evidence suggests probably not. Was he helped? Sure, but who wins multiple SBs and isnt? If he's somewhere else, yeah he probably doesn't go to ten SBs, not because he sucks and or that his environment was perfect but for the fact it's INSANELY HARD to replicate in the first place. At any time or any place. All ten can't be chalked up to luck though. 

At the end of the day, it is mostly him. Not entirely of course. But if you think it's just, "slap him in this environment and he's great," I'm here to say "eh, not really." And that's what the Rams are betting on. Same thing Indy did with Rivers (although Rivers was muuuuuuuuuuuch greater through out his career than Stafford). They aren't as franchise altering like Peyton or Brady. This is a good thread on twitter.

108 "he isn't a complete by…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

"he isn't a complete by product of his environment."

Of course not, but Detroit is where careers go to die.  If Brady ended up in, say, Denver, or Pittsburgh, or even the Jets (who were actually pretty decent back then), he probably gets close to 10 SBs.  Not so much in Detroit, the Dick Jauron Bears, the Mike Riley Chargers, etc.

What Brady has accomplished is amazing, there's not doubt, I'm not saying a lot of it isn't him.

109 I also dont like blanket statements

like "Detoit always bad because Detroit." Like the 2000* Lions are operated by a bunch of different people than the 2020 Lions. Indeed some nepotism but still. Detroit didn't stop Barry Sanders from being a HOFr. Probably wont Megatron. Are they the reason Stafford wont? Are the RAMS and McVay gonna change that entirely? He's just not that good. Which is my point. 

And like I've said in other spots. The Rams lose 6 starters and only have 3 picks this year. And they're still over the cap with this trade. Aaron Donald will still be great but he'll be 30. The roster probably already peaked (like the twitter thread insinuates), don't think Stafford is good enough to overcome that and win the SB in this 2 year (?) window. 

110 Again with the straw man…

Again with the straw man stuff.

Stafford is not hall of fame caliber, and I never said he was (his ceiling is probably Hall of Very Good).  But the Rams are a better environment for him, and he's a pretty big upgrade over Goff, and they will get some cap relief.  Will the upgrade at quarterback be enough to overcome the likely defensive regression?  Maybe, maybe not.  I probably wouldn't have give up two first rounders (like 1 and a 3 would have been fair IMO), but I don't run the Rams.  

112 Straw man?

On my own post? Uhhh...yall think environment (coaching) essentially means more than players. Hence "well put Brady on the Lions, and Stafford on the Patriots." Especially yall going back to 2 freakin thousand to discredit Brady the current player. 

Yall started this defense of Stafford, I'm pointing out how it's flawed and why he's overrated and this won't result in much change despite yall thinking it's "a pretty big upgrade over Goff" because it's not. It's miniscule because 33 year old Stafford just isn't that good. Read the follow up tweets in the thread I linked. Solid QB play wasn't what the Rams needed. Going in circles.  This is my point. 

124 Talking in circles indeed.  …

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

Talking in circles indeed. 

".yall think environment (coaching) essentially means more than players."

Never said more important, just that it's a significant contributor.  Remember how Steve Young looked on the Buccaneers?  It's not just Bill Walsh who turned him into a HOFer....Young's innate talent and ability were certainly more important.  However, you can't convince me his career would have turned out much differently if he'd stayed in Tampa.

I'm trying to have a nuanced conversation, and I guess we're not communicating effectively.

I think Stafford is a significant upgrade over Goff, even at age 33.  I think with a better constructed pass pro scheme and more creative playcaller, he'll show it.  You disagree.  I guess we'll see who's right this fall.  If I turn out to be wrong, please feel free to point it out and I'll gladly admit it.

Stafford's proponents (I'm one of the them, but I tend to be more measured about him than most), think the Lions have been holding him back.  Sean McVay thinks Jared Goff is holding him back.  Now they're both out of excuses.  Should be fun. 

130 He'll show he's better

But we don't need the trade to find that out. We knew that beforehand. What we're finding out is if he's truly as good as people are making him out to be/the Rams want him to be. Which ultimately is a SB champ. And usually you see something similar before the new team. IE Peyton and Brady. We haven't with Stafford. And that can't just be pinned on one HC. Or OC, etc. Well, I guess apparently one city...whatever. 

Like I linked it's an upgrade. Just like Keenum to Cousins was. Then regression hits (and they most likely will when you lose 6 starters and trade away until you only have 3 picks this year) annnnnnd Cousins is still more or less the same player, topping out in the divisional round, sorta like topping out in the WC in Washington. And lookie there, the 49ers might do the same thing as Kirk is above Jimmy G too. Still not elite enough, which is what they're actually missing. Even though, again, the Vikings thought the same thing. Going from meh to decent, just isn't enough. You need a Jameis to Brady jump. You need a Tebow to Peyton. You need a jump into the truly elite not borderline top 10...maybe? Because the 2020 Rams with Stafford aren't beating the Packers. Or Bucs. Or Chiefs in the playoffs. But they won't be the 2020 Rams, they'll be the 2021 Rams, with multiple starters on both sides of the ball lost.

Look at the Colts this year. Rivers is > Jacoby. But at this point in his career, Rivers was meh, bad HC and all, annnnd...WC exit. He's seen those before. Might be who he is (much better in his prime though specifically for Rivers). The better scheme can only elevate so much until the QB literally has to do things. 

Teams shouldn't be anymore afraid of the Rams than they were a week ago. They may still have the 3rd best QB in their division. Lot of people banking he'll turn into Carson Palmer. Who was only really good for like a year. A little too much confidence in your scheme but hey good luck. Still don't think they'd beat GB, TB or even win their division because Stafford never scared me. Good HC or not. 

134 Brady isn't a complete…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

Brady isn't a complete product of his environment, of course, but he isn't clearly better than other great QBs who only had one or zero SB wins. Never mind the Lions, I don't think it's farfetched to say that had he landed in an average franchise he might very well be in the one or zero club. Meanwhile, Stafford in one of the best run franchises of all time might very well have a ring.


137 I think this is right…

I think this is right. Whether you rank Tom Brady the best or near the best, is he SO much better than prime PM, Arod, Steve Young, Drew Brees, and Dan Marino to explain the gulf in SB victories?

As Watson showed, sending a qb to a terrible organization, even with him playing out of his mind, can lead you to a 4-12 season, let alone a fringe playoff birth. The lions have been comically mismanaged for decades.

138 No one is arguing that.

What's being argued, it seems, is Stafford is secretly one of those 0/1 SB win great QBs, he just needs a great HC, like McVay! He's just not though. Like what are we watching? 

All these hypotheticals, and the fact remains Stafford is no where near Brady, or Manning or Rodgers, or Marino or Brees, etc. He's not even Philip Rivers or Ken Anderson. It doesn't matter the reason why anymore. It's 2021, "talent" isn't a useable prop anymore for him (or rather shouldn't). Getting sidetracked playing the what-if game of 12 and 21 years ago either way. 

Draft capital is real and held onto for eternity is all I hear. In fact how is this any different than Sam Bradford, another #1 overall QB (at least he had the excuse of injuries)? Are we gonna act like Jeff Fisher and Brandon Lloyd were unquestioned studs? Vikings seem to love sinking themselves into upgrades that put themselves into the decent category (Kirk, Sam). 

All in all, this is hyped up too much. The Rams got themselves a slightly better Goff. Congrats on a ceiling of a NFCCG loss with an expectation of a divisional L. Aka not moving the needle for me. Who wants to make a username bet on it?

17 Came here to say this. Two…

Came here to say this.

Two firsts and stuff (er, and Goff) for Stafford, a similar market for Watson has to be like 6 firsts like you said.

Too bad the Texans screwed the pooch so badly they don't have the leverage to be playing in a similar market.

Then again, as a football fan I want Deshaun on a team that isn't determined to be the next Browns. I guess that means I'm glad the Texans flubbed it so badly. Sorry, Rivers.

20 I agree based on what was…

I agree based on what was given up for Stafford you would think six first rounders would be an underpay for Watson. you still need a team left over when you acquire Watson and six first rounders is an absurd amount of draft capital.

Seriously, Texans are a living example of what happens when you make too many future to build the present kind of deals. 

62 Since a decent chunk of the…

Since a decent chunk of the compensation in this Stafford/Goff swap seems to be tied to LA dumping Goff's onerous contract on Detroit, I don't think it quite projects out to 6 firsts as true market value for Watson. I think it's more like 4 or 5 firsts :)

With the situation as it stands, if someone does offer Houston 4 first rounders and Watson waives his NTC, I think they have to jump on it. I would even probably take 3 firsts + something else of decent value, like a QB who can start or a 2nd rounder.

114 If the status quo were tenable, I would agree

But Watson has made it clear that he's no longer interested in playing for the Texans, and my read is that that is not likely to change any time soon.

So either you bench one of the most exciting stars in the game (which itself seems untenable), or you eat it and take less than what he's worth.

163 He's under contract for four…

He's under contract for four years, under the team's control for longer than that, and the team has at least two more years of guaranteed suckage with or without him. I would view the best attainable outcome as a trade for a ton of value, but letting him rot on the bench for as long as it takes is an important BATNA to commit to in order to make such a trade happen.

18 On the flip side, any snaps…

On the flip side, any snaps Goff takes for the Lions is only going to further depress his trade value. Goff isn't a bad qb, but absolutely not the quarterback you want on a bad team. a bad situation is likely to depress all of his strengths and accentuate all of his negatives and the Lions are a smoking pile of trash right now.

If the Texans weren't so depleted of draft picks I would suggest trading him there and letting them use him as a consolation prize for getting rid of Watson. Seriously Goff should not be taking any snaps for the Lions

49 I’m skeptical any team would…

I’m skeptical any team would trade anything of value for Goff, especially with that contract.  I think the Lions view him as a high-end bridge quarterback.  He's definitely an upgrade over Tyrod Taylor or whoever their starter was going to be this year.

128 Yeah, I especially don't…

Yeah, I especially don't think Goff is or should be attractive to the Texans. Trading Watson means that they are starting a full rebuild - they were terrible with a top 5 QB by DVOA/DYAR. If they are interested in a QB in return, I'd think it would either be an inexpensive bridge guy who could plausibly start games for a year or two without making it obvious that the team is tanking, or a very young QB still on a rookie contract who has some upside. I'm thinking Foles and Tagovailoa as examples of each, not that I'm saying the Texans would or should have interest in either of them specifically.

The only way I see Goff having value is for a team that believes that are just a competent QB away from contending for a championship. A team that has been 8-8 for a couple years with a defense good enough to keep most games close even with one of the worst performances from the QB position in the league. A team like the Bears. Oh no...

22 What is the cap hit for the…

What is the cap hit for the Lions if they just cut Goff (pre and post June1)?

Then they use these picks to trade up for a QB they like in the draft.

23 As a thought experiment, is…

As a thought experiment, is there any price the Jags would take to give up Lawrence? Right now the Lions can offer 6 first rounders without it absolutely destroying their future. Would you do it on either side? 6 is a lot

41 Any random first rounder has…

Any random first rounder has a 50% chance of being a busy. I don't follow the college game at all (I'm in the UK, so no media either) so I have no opinion on Lawrence, but best case is 70/30. On those odds, I'd rather take my six chances at the 50/50 shots.

The calculation is probably a little more complicated if you think about Pro bowl, all Pro, HoF potential for those picks, and how you value those different outcomes, but it's not that hard to model if you're prepared to be honest about your priors

26 Hey!  How about the Lions…

Hey!  How about the Lions ship this whole load (plus a sweetener maybe) and Goff to the Texans for Watson?

33 Yes, they have their picks. …

Yes, they have their picks.  I believe that they could get Watson by sending Goff, #8 in this year's draft and the 2022 and 2023 first rounders they just received from the Rams.  Detroit keeps its owns picks.  That would be a massive return on the Stafford trade.  It's hard for me to see how Houston says no to that one.

58 Houston couldn't accept Goff…

Houston couldn't accept Goff unless detroit renegotiated his salary to all be roster bonus and then paid that.  Houston is way over the cap, and moving Watson makes it worse.  Taking on another starter qb contract would brutalize Houston's cap for years

59 I'm not sure that I…

I'm not sure that I understand your point.  Under that scenario, they'd be keeping their own 1st rounders in 2022 and 2023.  They just wouldn't have 2 1st rounders in 2022 and 2023.  They can improve the team with their normal allocation of picks plus the compensatory picks they received for hiring Holmes...if they select the right players.  Notice how Cleveland finally got good by using those picks to acquire good football players via the draft and trades.

On the other hand, Houston traded away many of their high-end picks under BOB.  They don't have many ways to improve the team for 2021.

60 It's the Rams who get the…

It's the Rams who get the comp picks for grooming Holmes, the Lions don't get any for hiring him.

My point is, I don't think Houston will give away Watson for just two first rounds, especially not the Rams's which are expected to be in the bottom half of the 1st round.  The only way Houston would (should) even consider an offer is if the Lions offer something like four 1st round picks...unless Caserio is an idiot.  Watson can certainly patch up plenty of the holes on the Lions roster, but he could only do so much.

70 My bad on the compensatory…

My bad on the compensatory pick error.  My initial point was 3 1st round picks (Detroit's own 2021 pick and the Rams' 2022 and 2023 pick) + Goff.  I don't see how Houston gets 4 1st round picks for him from anyone.

80 Of course they should be. …

Of course they should be.  But the acquiring team shouldn't have to part with such a step function above what Goff just went for or what Cutler went for a few years ago.  In particular, Detroit correctly viewed Goff as an overpriced asset and wanted to be compensated for taking on such an onerous contract.  Cutler in Denver was valued similarly to what Watson is valued at now.  Also, the NTC's impact on Houston's leverage cannot be overstated.  Even if Houston agrees to a massive haul with a team, Watson can come in and say it's too much and force them to renegotiate if he feels that the deal will kneecap his new team.  In the NBA, KD had similar influence on his sign-and-trade when he went to Brooklyn.

29 Goff and Gurley

Both 1st round picks by the Rams where they get big extensions but can't even get past their 5th year option.


36 Credit to both teams

To my surprise, I was impressed after watching clips of some of Dan Campbell's introductory talks.  Kneecapping aside, he correctly stated that a zero-based assessment and a plan to move forward were needed.  Then, General Manager Brad Holmes and Campbell (I presume he was involved, given what he said and the likelihood that a new coach would want to be involved in the QB decision) acted quickly and rationally.  They resolved questions that needed to be answered and gave themselves more time to try to answer them...the rough equivalent of the going-for-two-when-you're-down-fifteen-points approach to team building.  This isn't a team that's a few players away; it will benefit from a longer rebuild.  The new management should get credit for (1) realizing this, (2) being candid about their intentions with Stafford and for doing what they said they would do rather than just saying what they would do, and (3) being on the same page from the start.  On top of all of this, the franchise managed to treat a good soldier well, letting him leave on his terms and to a better situation.  What an about-face from Calvin Johnson and Barry Sanders.

For the Rams, I think McVay and to a lesser extent Snead deserve some benefit of the doubt.  Certainly they understood the fallacy of the sunk cost in dumping first Gurley and now Goff.  Again, better to resolve problems rather than let them fester.  It's a poor man's equivalent of the Hopkins-Johnson trade, in that the Rams gave up an overvalued (certainly overpaid) property for an offensive upgrade; but because the Loins (here's to you, raiderjoe) are now competently run, the Rams could not get away with a fleece and had to contribute true draft capital.  Given that the Lions said they were shopping Stafford around, and third party reports from the good reporters of the world such as Adam Shefter confirming same, I assume the Rams paid close to what the market required them to pay. 

And, sorry, Rivers.  Your most recent column basically says it's not possible to imagine a Texans without Deshaun Watson, but if the market price for Stafford sets a truly astronomical return for Watson, normally, it'd be better to reset the franchise with draft picks.  The problem is that the same forces that put the Texans in their current situation would be in charge of the draft picks, and that they could never be as realistic and sober as the Lions.

37 My problem with this is, how…

My problem with this is, how much of an upgrade does Stafford represent over Goff.

The above question is fraught with issues because there is uncertainty with how good Stafford is and how awful Goff might be.

I think the uncertainty makes this an overpay and honestly not worth it. How much worse off are the Rams trading a 3rd rounder for Jacoby Bridgett and cutting Goff instead?

39 Fair assessment

If the difference between the two turns out not to be great, then one of the teams I praised — the Lions — did even better than I wrote!

Also, to be fair, I live in the Bay Area and am subjected to the media bleating to dump Jimmy G for someone like Stafford.  The media and to be fair fan base here is enamored with Name Player-itis and immediate gratification.  (You can’t imagine how much the media tried to tell the Warriors to trade the #2 pick in the  NBA draft, giving up the desperate need to replenish the team’s young talent, for a Proven Veteran.)  If the 49ers made this type of deal, I’d be aghast.

Still, I can’t fault the Rams’ competent management from deciding to move on from Goff after years of examining him closely.  I wouldn’t call Goff a bust, nor rule out more improvement, but I think his long term prognosis is Alex Smith.  The thing with Goff is something Bill James once wrote about: positional scarcity.  He was writing about a team that needed starting pitching, I think it was about the Yankees.  James recognized and wrote that in some years, the available free agent market might not have good starting pitching.  Thus, the team either couldn’t get what it needed, or had to overpay given the scarcity, or both.  That’s the Rams and Goff.  The team needed, or thought it needed, a QB.  Unfortunately, the draft pool that year was light on QBs.  The Rams had to pay a huge price just to fill the position.  That’s colored the historical assessment of Goff.

 For the Rams, I think it a worthwhile gamble to not stand pat on Goff.  Once you decide that, unless you want to rebuild (not an option), you almost have to try to improve at the position.  It would be moving the needle backwards into futility and irrelevance to settle for a Brissett (even as I do like him).  If the price was high for Stafford, imagine the price for Watson.

64 I think the Rams made the…

In reply to by Stendhal1

I think the Rams made the right call to move on, too. In 2017 and 2018 they were a top-5 offense, maybe even the best offense in the league in the first half of 2018. And though Goff played well, we now have a lot of evidence (dating back to the second half of 2018 itself) that he can't consistently maintain that level of play, or at least not without perfect surrounding circumstances.

Can Stafford bring the Rams offense back to those heights? I think he's capable. My biggest concern for the Rams is how after making these moves they could end up with a very thin roster with limited options to plug holes, and that could really hit them along the OL - we saw how much that hurt their offense in 2019. But maybe bringing in a veteran QB who has experience weathering iffy protection helps insulate against that.

87 Here's the issue. The Rams…

Here's the issue. The Rams are in, "Win Now", but a closer examination of the team makes you realize that "Win Now" can be quite illusory. Donald's injury showed that the team has 0 pass rush without him. Losing Ramsey for any length of time could have similar ripple effects across the secondary. 

The offensive line is creaky and the receivers as a group are just ok. This is not the Tampa Bay Bucs. 

If any of those areas regress, you are now relying on Stafford to bridge that gap. Has Stafford ever shown the ability to overcome bad situations? He is almost certainly more equipped than Goff, but not enough to make the team a contender on his own. 

That's why I keep coming back to this trade being bad. If they had acquired Watson, that would be one thing. But they didn't and so in a way, this a massive price to go from low end volatile qb to high end volatile qb. I just don't think its worth paying this price for anything less than that upper tier qb who is usually never available. 

45 Well said.Sports media is…

Well said.

Sports media is judging Campbell on the 90 second kneecap clip and assuming he’s a neanderthal, but in the rest of the press conference, he said some intelligent things behind his meathead blocking tight end persona.   For the first time since my childhood, I’m actually hopeful that the Lions aren’t run buy short-sighted buffoons.  It may all still not work out, but I can’t fault their process this time.

There was really no path for them to field a competitive team in the next couple of years, so good on them for accepting that.  The best-case scenario for pretending otherwise is overspending for free agents and becoming 2010-11 Raiders: a couple of 8-8 seasons before the cap bill comes due and the bottom falls out.

As for the Rams, they’ve always had pretty good hit-rate on their mid/late round draft picks, so I guess they will continue to trust their scouting department.  BTW, Brad Holmes was their former director of college scouting. The Rams will get two 3rd round compensatory picks the next couple of years because of the NFL’s new minority hiring initiative (basically you get picks if a minority you hired for an entry level job moves their way up your organization to get promoted to a top job.

68 It still strikes me as kind…

It still strikes me as kind of odd that Detroit gave Campbell a six year contract (isn't five years still an eternity in the NFL?), but I can appreciate that they leveraged the patience and the long-term outlook they've adopted to be willing to take on some bad short-term money and maximize the return for Stafford. Pretty savvy move from Holmes and their new front office.

71 "Isn't five years still an…

"Isn't five years still an eternity in the NFL?"

Shanahan got a 6 year contract from SF in 2017.  They had just fired two one and done coaches (Tomsula, Chip Kelly) the previous two seasons, and had a reputation for meddlesome ownership.  Shanahan probably wanted assurance that he would get some time turn things around without the rug being pulled out from under (a wise decision in retrospect).

Detroit is staring at several losing seasons in the near future, so it makes sense to assure Campbell that they're playing the long game.

115 I agree with that analysis...

...I'm just surprised that Campbell had the leverage to pull it off.

I hadn't heard his name mentioned in head coaching prospects, so I didn't think he was a hot commodity, as opposed to Shanahan who was a pretty hot name at the time. I'm surprised that Campbell was able to dictate those terms, more than that I think those terms don't make sense for a good coaching prospect.

125 As for the Rams, they’ve…

As for the Rams, they’ve always had pretty good hit-rate on their mid/late round draft picks, so I guess they will continue to trust their scouting department.

I've seen some version of this in a number of places. Sure they've found starters in those rounds, but every team has.  I don't think it's more than anyone else.

I went to pfr and got all the 2nd and 3rd rd picks since 2012 when Sneed became the GM, plus the Career AV (Weighted) and games started for each pick.  Per pick, the Rams rank 24th in Car AV and 16th in GS.  If I weight the picks by their value per the Jimmy Johnson pick chart or the Chase Stuart pick chart, the Rams come out 26th or 27th in Car AV per weighted pick and 21st or 22nd in GS per weighted pick. 

I didn't run the late round (4th-7th picks) and you can pick holes in Car AV or GS as metrics.  You can pick a different time period.  But I need to see more evidence that the Rams are better than anyone else at drafting post-1st round. 

38 Another fun subplot of this…

Another fun subplot of this trade. Both players are number 1 overall picks. And neither is an outright bust. And yet, the trade resembles a swapping of deck chairs in a sense. People can make fun of Goff but he was a near MVP candidate 2 years ago, back when the front office loaded the brinks truck at his doorstep. And Stafford is quite simply the best qb to ever play for the franchise, at least in the last 30 years. Such players never get traded. And yet here we are.

I think this is the Peyton Manning effect at work imo. Without wading into the Tom Brady/ PM debate, I think we can all agree that PM is what you hope and dream for when you draft a qb first overall. You want a savior. Maybe PM would not have turned out that way had he gone to the Browns. We will never know. But one reason I still somewhat get drawn into the PM over Brady route is that I am supremely confident that prime PM can go to any team, any circumstance, and make a good passing offense. He is an offense unto himself. He is a walking playoff birth. Stafford and Goff live the curse that they are not PM. Neither was Luck. And so they carry the pangs of disappointment that never will dog someone like Dak Prescott or even Carson Wentz. 

40 Right again!

To go back again to Bill James, it’s almost a challenge trade.

This is another reason I like the deal, as a fan.  There aren’t enough player for player trades in the NFL, so this adds excitement.

53 The ones that did were mad…

The ones that did were mad he didn’t get a team around him like Manning or Rodgers got.

The Rams are looking for a QB who can win in the playoffs. On worse teams, Stafford is a better playoff QB than Goff is.

65 I disagree about Luck. I…

I disagree about Luck. I think he proved himself to be a walking offense. He took the worst team in the league to the playoffs in his first year. And he kept taking to the playoffs until injuries caught up to him.

88 I'm with you on Luck.  When…

I'm with you on Luck.  When he was healthy his first three seasons, he dragged a truly horrific roster (outside of TY Hilton and old Reggie Wayne) with an antiquated offense to 33 regular season wins, 3 playoff wins, and an AFC CG berth.  I would have really liked to have seen what Frank Reich could have done with him, given some more time.

90 Luck went to a team that was…

Luck went to a team that was terrible. He shined through anyways which puts him in the Deshawn Watson tier. He was everything a number 1 overall pick should be.

The problem - he replaced a number 1 overall pick who was a perennial MVP and who could shine through even brighter on a terrible roster. 

This is partially a mea culpa as a fan. I don't think I appreciated Luck as much as I should have. 

92 People sometimes forget that…

People sometimes forget that Luck retired literally a week before the 2019 regular season started.  Clearly the Colts had planned on having their current roster, plus Luck at QB at this point. 

I’d argue that would have made them a serious challenger for the AFC title. I’d think that team would have been at least as good as this years Bills.

94 IIRC, they were 5-2 and…

IIRC, they were 5-2 and owned a road win against the Chiefs, before Jacoby Brissett got hurt, then cratered to 7-9 with Brian Hoyer.  It's not stretch to say that a with a healthy Luck, they would have been beaten out the Texans to win the division and gone deep into the playoffs.

118 "Stafford is quite simply…

"Stafford is quite simply the best qb to ever play for the franchise, at least in the last 30 years"  At least 60 years, only Bobby Layne was potentially better (so hard to compare these widely separated eras)

47 Way more than I was…

Way more than I was expecting to get for Stafford.  Also, while I don’t think all that much of Goff, he’s still a lot better than whatever Tyrod Taylor-type bridge quarterback I was expecting them to roll into 2021 with. 

As for Stafford, I wish him will, and I'll be rooting for the Rams because of him.  If, on the other hand, he either gets hurt or flames out, at least the Lions picks next year will be win win!

61 Trade

Good trade fir each now. Of course, in 2024 willbe able ro reallt decide if was good for neithet team, for one, or both. 

Teade helps Loins rebuild way new regime wants to. Goff there to stsrt in 2021 and maybe again in 2022 or to take up space on sideline. If plays alrihgt in 2021, then maybe in team plans fpr after 2022. If plays crappy, then Goff off team afrer 2022 season.

Rams meanwhile go from wild card round loser type ot team to Super Bowl contender

 Rams up there now with Raiders, Buccaneers, Chief, Packers, Biolls, in terme of temas that can be considerd on 1/31/21 as tteams that can win Super Bowl a year form now 

 Of course, washingron, new orlwans, 49ers, clots, cna be in mix too if fix quar4eeback position

63 Eerily similar

Former 1st round, 1x pro bowler QB Cutler (and a 5th) joins an above .500 team for a 3rd round pick in the 80s in that years draft + two 1sts and a mid tier starter (at the time) in Orton, both involving an NFCN team. 

Make of that what you will. Yes, Cutler also went for that much. 

69 Cutler's cost seemed to make…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

Cutler's cost seemed to make sense at the time, as he was coming off two back to back very good seasons (top 10 in DVOA and DYAR), was 26, and seemed to be have potential to get even better.

83 True

Stafford is 7 years older, EPA + composite of .076 before trade

Cutler was .105 before trade

75 1970s 'Skins?

Les Snead is starting to look like he's been possessed by George Allen's disregard for draft picks.  And Allen has the excuse that draft picks weren't nearly as highly valued then.

102 I was trying to consider the…

In reply to by serutan

I was trying to consider the best case scenario for this, and I did manage it.

A great first round qb will obviously be a great value. Honestly a bad qb is pretty great value of it's not a distracting player.  Backup qbs are absurdly expensive on the open market.

At TE, RB, IDL, S, and IOL, top first round picks are paid top of the market contracts.  The room to get value is really tough.  So you are trying to get a good and affordable player.  Assuming you consider yourself set at QB, you only are going to see great value at edge rusher or wr, only potential for good value at cb and lt.  All in all, the idea of using two first picks for jalen ramsey seems somewhat solid - he's truly elite. 

Also unrelated to this trade, I think trading first round picks for good players in their second,/third years who has been first round picks can also make a lot of sense, as most salary to first round picks is signing bonus (for example pitt is paying only a small portion of minkahs total contract - which probably is decent value).

I'm not sure of this trade, or some other ones that were players for picks (tunsil, adams). But I can see where a team would find it logical.

122 I think it makes sense on…

I think it makes sense on occasion.  The problem with doing it frequently is that you're putting yourself on a path to cap hell without the cost controlled draft picks - either you have to do a 2013 Raiders style roster purge, or you manage to keep your starters but have no quality depth which make you much more vulnerable to injuries.

123 I think the more alarming…

In reply to by serutan

I think the more alarming thing here is Snead's signing off on large extensions for mediocre players who almost immediately demonstrate they aren't worthy of them.

77 OK, so now the Rams have…

OK, so now the Rams have Stafford and John Wolford as QBs.  They seem to be very different in play style.  Stafford has had injury concerns the past few years.  Is that going to be a problem?

119 Fords

Why didn’t Detroit try this?

Bring Sam Bradford out of retirement.  Also hire former SMU - USFL quarterback Mike Ford as coach, Dr. Tim Langford as the team doctor, John FOURcaDe as scout, and GifFORD Nielsen as special advisor.

79 To paraphrase an old saying…

To paraphrase an old saying about tactics and logistics: amateurs talk draft picks, professionals talk salary cap. (And I'm not a professional, so my "cap" talk is naive at best...)

Teams have three assets to trade:  players, picks, and cap room.  The Rams gave up a player and picks to acquire a  player and cap room (Stafford's salary < Goff's).  The players and picks that Watson is worth are diminished by the loss of cap room entailed in acquiring his large contract.



84 I was hoping Stafford would…

I was hoping Stafford would be traded to the Colts, but not at that cost. I have no idea who they are going to roll out at QB week 1 next year though. 

edit: I really hope it’s not Wentz or Darnold (or as I’ve seen it put “Samitch Wentzisky”). 

A year of Fitzmagic maybe?

86 Once Stafford telegraphed…

Once Stafford telegraphed his trade demands, I was hoping he could be had for a pair of seconds. If one of the firsts was for salary dumping Goff, then maybe he could have been had for a first and 2nd. That's still a lot.


I am less confident than others about how good Stafford is on a good team. He was with the comically laughable Lions for years, but there were also years where the team was good, albeit top heavy. He was a good QB but not a great one. Deshaun Watson and Wilson to some extent shine through even on bad teams in a way Stafford never did, so its not like you are acquiring those caliber players. I am actually more convinced Stafford is a high end version of Goff than anything else, which makes acquiring him dicey.

89 The Rams are either a lot…

The Rams are either a lot higher on him than you (to be fair, Mike Sando's Annual QB tiers survey suggests most of the league is), or are betting on a Ryan Tannehill-like career resurgence in a new situation (and Stafford's Lions career was better than Tannehill's Dolphin's career).  Like you said, an iffy proposition.

The other factor is that McVay is clearly convinced that Goff is holding his offense back.  He must be confident that if he can make a mediocre quarterback look good, he can make a good quarterback look great. 

91 Yes, Stafford may be a high…

Yes, Stafford may be a high end version of Goff and with a possibly concerning injury history.

But, did the Rams give all that much to get him and dump Goff's contract? 

If you go by the old draft pick value thinking, next year's 1st round is valued as a 2nd round this year.  So, by that thinking, the Rams gave up a 3rd, a 2nd and a 3rd to get Stafford plus two low picks this year and dump Goff's contract!

Not a bad deal at all.

93 "there were also years where…

"there were also years where the team was good, albeit top heavy."

The only team he had that was truly "good" was the 2014 squad that finished 11-5.  Don't get me started about that PI non-call that cost them the Wildcard game.  

The 2011 team that finished 10-6 was decent, but it was stars and scrubs roster with zero depth, which caught up with them as injuries started taking a toll late in the year.

The 2016 9-7 team (year after Johnson's retirement), I think was Stafford's best season, where he dragged the 32nd ranked defense to the playoffs.  They were 9-4 before he injured the thumb in his throwing hand, and his play fell off significantly after that.

98 "A year of Fitzmagic maybe?"…

"A year of Fitzmagic maybe?"

I was really hoping for Fitzmagic going to New England just for the humor of Belichick interacting with him, but him going to Indy isn't the worst idea in the world.  May not have the highest ceiling, but it would at least be fun.

106 One angle I haven't seen…

One angle I haven't seen discussed is offensive scheme fit. I suppose a good QB can run any scheme, but when I think of Stafford, I think deep posts, whereas the current Rams scheme is all crossers and YAC. And as others have pointed out above, there's no WR on the Rams' current roster that will beat anyone deep.

107 I think Stafford is pretty…

I think Stafford is pretty adaptable, as he's played in multiple schemes.  The Rams offense you're describing is nearly identical to Jim Bob Cooter's offense in 2016-17, that Stafford had two very good years in.  And anyway, McVay actually changed his offense to shorter stuff primarily because of Goff's regression (according to an article by Rams beat writer Jordan Rodrigue).  The offense he ran in 2017-18 looked totally different.

121 Calvin Johnson was deadly on…

Calvin Johnson was deadly on slants with Stafford. The Rams have a very competent group of receivers in Woods, Kupp, Reynolds, and now Jefferson. They have a better rushing game than the Lions ever had. I'm sure Stafford will do well with this group.

129 Am I the only one surprised…

Am I the only one surprised by how manageable Goff's contract actually is? I mean, obviously it's enough money that they had to trade him away if they were going to trade for another QB (as opposed to cutting him or demoting him to backup), but if Spotrac is correct he's a $27.8M cap hit for 2021 and a $25.5M cap hit for 2022. He could then be cut with no dead money. If he is kept, it's a $25M cap hit in 2023 and then a $26M cap hit in 2024.

When I was hearing his contract discussed like it's an impossible albatross, I was thinking his cap hit was above $30M and there was no way out for at least 3 more years.

This would seem to give Detroit plenty of flexibility. Since they seem to be going full rebuild, it doesn't really kill them to be overpaying for Goff the next 2 years. And he will only be their QB in 2023 and beyond if he's played well enough to keep at that price (which I would bet against, but who knows). They could still draft a QB this year if they believe in one, but they are not forced to.

133 It was bad for LA

But like a lot of contracts once, the OG teams eats the (signing) bonus it's much more manageable. 

Goff won't last longer than two years in Detroit I bet. So worth it for the picks. Most are (ie Brock O)

139 I will drop in for the 2nd…

I will drop in for the 2nd time this year, because you don't need to have watched many games (I've seen three) this season to have something to say. 

It's no knock on Brady to think it likely that if he'd been picked by the Lions in the 6 round in 2000, he'd be sitting on zero Super Bowl appearances. The game has 44 starters, not including special teams, which means bad coaching and bad personnel management gets magnified. There's no "Hey, let's draft Lebron James and make the finals while the rest of the roster sucks, with a bad to mediocre coach" plan in the NFL. The Lions have had a competent head coach in four of the last 20 years, and that was in the teens. Their personnel management has been pretty consistently bad, and in the oughts, frequently world historically bad.

You put Brady on a poorly managed franchise in 2000, and he stays there, and the you likely get to the other factor that people frequently overlook in these scenarios; the cumulative effect of violence. The Brady of 20 years ago was not the lightning fast decision machine that we've been watching for years now. That Brady, on a poorly coached, mostly nontalented roster, likely gets the feces stomped out of him, and never becomes what Brady became. The primary factor in the game remains the violence of it, even as much as they try to legislate it away.

Somebody above stated that Stafford wasn't the 1st guy to have to overcome bad coaching and management, and that's true. It's also true that the list of guys since 1960 who spent their first decade on poorly coached, poorly managed, teams, and managed to have HOF qb careers is extremely short. It probably starts and ends with Tarkenton. When the list is that short, it's really damned hard to confidently predict who could have joined it, if given the same bad luck in organizations.



140 Maybe Luck is the best…

Maybe Luck is the best example of asking a qb to be a savior and ending up being literally broken by it. 

Manning overcame the suckpit Colts in 2010, which was to me the ultimate Qb job of having an offense that needed to protect it's defense. But he was a seasoned veteran by then, not a green rookie asked to do the same.

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