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Winners and losers of the blockbuster Matthew Stafford trade between Lions and Rams

Winners and losers of the blockbuster Matthew Stafford trade between Lions and Rams

Printed 1: 01 a.m. ET Jan. 31, 2021 | Updated 2: 03 a.m. ET Jan. 31, 2021


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What I am Hearing: The first domino of the QB carousel has fallen. Mike Jones breaks down the blockbuster trade between the Rams and Lions.


Lawful when you thought the NFL can also take a breather earlier than the Colossal Bowl 55 hype machine cranks up in earnest Monday morning … welp. A seismic deal shook the league Saturday evening, and it did now not even possess Deshaun Watson switching teams.

The Los Angeles Rams and Detroit Lions agreed to a blockbuster that sends passe QB Matthew Stafford from Motown to Tinseltown, while the Rams ship QB Jared Goff and a bundle of draft picks, including two first-rounders, to Detroit.

Or now not it is a attention-grabbing transaction that must silent bolster both franchises, even supposing it must also accelerate away some in the origin scratching their heads.

Let’s spoil it down by having a leer at the winners and losers of this predominant NFL megadeal of 2021:


Stafford: It is now not arresting to accumulate feeble Lions who squawk by Stafford’s toughness, talent and personality. Nevertheless these traits and 282 occupation TD passes earned the No. 1 procure of the 2009 draft three wild-card appearances nonetheless nary a take. (Detroit’s final playoff victory passed off at the quit of the 1991 season.) That is now not to counsel Stafford has been Aaron Rodgers-lite marooned in Motown. But he is orchestrated hundreds of spectacular moments and solid seasons for a franchise that’s been in near-constant flux – Stafford played for four coaches, including period in-between boss Darrell Bevell in 2020. He hasn’t had elite teammates since Calvin Johnson and Ndamukong Suh left.

Now? Joining the Rams successfully ensures Stafford will seemingly be supported by the handiest working sport, handiest offensive line, handiest protection and – important – handiest play caller, head coach Sean McVay, he is ever had in the NFL. The Rams acquired one extra playoff sport this year than Stafford ever has – must silent be relaxing to see what the marriage can originate.

Unique Detroit GM Brad Holmes: Smartly, hi there sir. Employed by the Lions correct two weeks in the past – by the intention, from the Rams (he become as soon as their director of college scouting) – Holmes did now not want a lot time to invent his presence felt in Michigan. Under his guidance, the club hasty telegraphed its intent to section with Stafford, the Lions’ all-time chief in every critical passing class – and by a nation mile. Holmes learned a taker in his feeble boss, Rams GM Les Snead, who’s by no manner timid of taking a colossal swing.

Some are marveling at the huge compensation Holmes wrangled from L.A. (first-round picks in 2022 and 2023 and a third-rounder this year). But this looks to be to resemble what came about four years in the past when the Texans traded Brock Osweiler to the Browns – for whom Osweiler by no manner took a normal-season snap – most inspiring on a grander scale. (Cleveland absorbed Osweiler’s pact a year after he signed a four-year, $72 million settlement, Houston sending the Browns a second-round procure as section of the equipment in recount to offset the wage dump.)

On the heels of three consecutive final-region finishes, Detroit correct added astronomical juice to its rebuilding thought, in part in consequence of Snead is in actual fact rewarding Holmes with extra draft capital in consequence of he takes Goff’s huge extension off the Rams’ books. Trading Goff is going to cost L.A. about a $22 million cap blow – nonetheless slicing him would’ve intended an untenable $65 million hit in ineffective cap bucks. Used to be Stafford worth two first-rounders in a vacuum? Nearly unquestionably now not. But Holmes learned a creative technique to prefer the passe’s label to the Lions one final time.

Rams’ Colossal Bowl hopes: Stafford, who turns 33 on Colossal Sunday, unquestionably has to cowl he can take colossal with better gamers around him. But it absolutely’s arresting to factor in him now not bettering an L.A. assault often hindered by Goff’s inconsistency. McVay wasn’t even inspiring to determine to Goff playing in the Rams’ divisional round playoff loss to the Packers earlier this month till it become certain that John Wolford, who become as soon as injured in the wild-card take at Seattle, wouldn’t be available. And no person will fail to recollect how Goff and this offense went to pieces in Colossal Bowl 53, managing 260 yards and three components on a day when 14 components would comprise overwhelmed the Patriots.

Stafford and McVay will absolutely favor to adapt to every other, nonetheless the passe’s abilities and electrical arm talent must silent further diversify an offense with depth at all the skill positions, including two 1,000-yard receivers (Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp) in 2019. If Snead can add a deep threat, too, there’s no telling how creative McVay can also glean. And given the assert of the NFC East, Drew Brees’ expected retirement and Tom Brady’s advancing age (correct?), the Rams are inclined to be regarded as one of the convention’s Colossal Bowl entrance-runners going into subsequent season.  

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Relaxation of the NFC West: The Rams reached the playoffs despite Goff’s uneven play – lowlighted by a loss to the beforehand 0-13 Unique York Jets. Now the division champion Seahawks, spoil-even Cardinals and harm-riddled 49ers seem admire they’ll be going by a a lot more difficult beast in 2021.

Rams’ long-term future: The final time L.A. drafted in the first round? How about 2016, when Goff become as soon as the No. 1 total procure. As it stands now, Snead and McVay can also now not be picking in Round 1 as soon as more … till 2024. But heck, with loads now invested in Stafford – he is underneath contract by 2022 – DL Aaron Donald and CB Jalen Ramsey, can’t blame L.A. for mortgaging the Sundown Strip in recount to compete now … though it’ll silent be famed this team has accomplished a nice job procuring gamers despite sitting out the draft’s first evening on an annual foundation.

2021 QB draft possibilities? The Lions are scheduled to procure seventh in the first round of this year’s draft. With Stafford on the intention out, they’d appeared a seemingly destination for a younger quarterback admire BYU’s Zach Wilson, Ohio Explain’s Justin Fields or North Dakota Explain’s Trey Lance. That can silent be the case, though any quarterback drafted by Detroit will seemingly now be stuck on the bench for a minimum of a year. There’s also a likelihood the Lions will now bypass QBs altogether, that manner one or two of these gamers can also accumulate themselves slipping down the board and earning less cash.

Goff: Oof. Five years in the past, he become as soon as the high procure of the draft. Two years in the past, he become as soon as in the Colossal Bowl. Fair a small bigger than 300 and sixty five days in the past, he become as soon as signing his now-contaminated four-year, $134 million extension. About a weeks in the past, he become as soon as gamely working onto a playoff area with pins preserving together his thumb lower than two weeks after it had been surgically repaired.

But now? A 26-year-outdated who made the Pro Bowl twice after McVay came to L.A. looks to be admire damaged goods and unlikely to be bigger than a placeholder for the rebooting Lions. Goff can also now not even glean to play with WR Kenny Golladay, whose contract is expiring, and – after being backed by the league’s high-ranked protection in 2020 – must now invent enact with a D that ranked final in the league. No longer the handiest circumstances for a man hoping to resurrect his occupation.

Conform to USA TODAY Sports’ Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis


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Winners and losers of the blockbuster Matthew Stafford trade between Lions and Rams