Despite making the Super Bowl in just his third season and leading the Los Angeles Rams to the divisional round this year, it was clear that the organization had lost faith in quarterback Jared Goff.
Goff got off to a great start in 2020, although then proceeded to lead the NFL in turnovers in the second half of the season. After the postseason loss to the Green Bay Packers, neither head coach Sean McVay nor general manager Les Snead was willing to commit to Goff as the team’s long-term answer at quarterback despite his four-year extension about to kick in.
Immediately after the end of season, rumors began circulating that the Rams would attempt to trade Goff this offseason, which would be no easy task. One potential fit became apparent this past week though when it was reported that Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford had interest in being traded to the Rams.
Snead has a connection with the Lions’ front office as they recently hired Rams director of college scouting Brad Holmes as their new general manager. Holmes is very familiar with Goff, so if any team was going to take on his contract, it would be them as a replacement for Stafford.
Things moved quickly, and now Adam Schefter of ESPN is reporting that the two teams have agreed to a deal to send Stafford to L.A. in exchange for Goff, two first-round picks and a third-rounder:
Detroit is dealing QB Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for two future first-round picks, a third-round pick and QB Jared Goff, per sources. Two former No. 1 overall picks trading places in the first blockbuster NFL trade of 2021.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 31, 2021
While that price may seem a bit high for a 33-year-old quarterback, one first-round pick was essentially for Stafford and the other was to take on Goff’s massive contract.
Meanwhile, the Rams will inherit the two years, $43 million remaining on Stafford’s contract and the Lions take on the remaining $106.6 million for Goff. The Lions will carry a $17.8 million dead cap hit in 2021, while L.A.’s will be slightly higher at $22.2 million.
What the Rams are getting in Stafford is a former No. 1 overall pick out of Georgia who is known to be one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the league and should fit better into McVay’s system than Goff. With L.A. trading away two more first-round picks, Goff in 2016 remains their last drafted in the top round and that will be the case through 2023.
With one of the best defenses in the league and some quality young players that they have drafted in the later rounds though, the Rams’ championship window is now, and they believe Stafford is better to maximize that than Goff.
Goff’s tenure in L.A. ends after five up-and-down seasons. While he wasn’t able to bring home the ultimate prize of winning a Super Bowl, he ranks second in the NFL in wins behind only Tom Brady over the last four years and came up huge in a number of big games.