It took two years, but the Matthew Stafford trade from 2021 is finally complete. The deal, which sent Stafford to the Rams for Jared Goff and two first-round picks, as well as a third-rounder, was completed in the 2023 draft after the Lions used the final picks from that trade.
Neither team should have any regret about this swap because it’s worked out for both parties. The Rams got a ring and the Lions are already looking good coming out of this roster rebuild in the post-Stafford era.
Here’s a breakdown of the trade now that all the picks from the deal have been used.
What the Rams received
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QB Matthew Stafford
The Rams sought a new quarterback before the 2021 season and they landed their guy by acquiring Stafford. His first season in Los Angeles couldn’t have gone better than it did, leading the Rams to a Super Bowl win 13 months after being traded.
And thankfully he did because now, Los Angeles is in rebuilding mode after a disastrous 2022 season, lacking much cap space because of Stafford’s contract – among other things, of course. But a Super Bowl ring makes everything better and given the championship they won, there’s no chance the Rams have any regret about this deal.
The No. 1 goal each season is to win a championship and the Rams accomplished that, even at the cost of a year or two (or three, or four) of pain, depending on how long this rebuild takes. But they don’t win a ring if Stafford isn’t their quarterback, so this deal is a win for them.
What the Lions received
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QB Jared Goff
CB Ifeatu Melifonwu (2021 3rd-round pick)
WR Jameson Williams (2022 1st-round pick)
DL Josh Paschal (2022 2nd-round pick)
RB Jahmyr Gibbs (2023 1st-round pick)
TE Sam LaPorta (2023 2nd-round pick)
DT Brodric Martin (2023 3rd-round pick)
The Lions clearly did well to maximize the quantity of the players they got back for Stafford. Not only did they find their starting quarterback in Goff, but they turned the three picks they received into six more players by striking trades on draft day.
They didn’t trade the pick used on Melifonwu, but all of the other selections made were after trades in the draft. They used the Rams’ first-round pick in 2022 to move up for Williams, acquiring the 12th pick and 46th in exchange for No. 32, 34 and 66. They then used the 46th pick on Paschal.
In 2023, the Lions moved back from No. 6 overall and took Gibbs at No. 12. In that deal, they acquired No. 34, which they used on Laporta, and No. 168, which they used to trade up for Martin in the third round.
Who won the trade?
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This is a rare win-win for both sides because they each accomplished what they set out to do. The Rams were chasing a ring and won one immediately after acquiring Stafford. The Lions were in rebuild mode after parting with Stafford, seeking to acquire younger talent to improve their roster. Not to mention, they got a capable starter in Goff, who played well in 2022.
There are no winners and losers in this deal, even if it seemed like the Rams gave up a lot to acquire Stafford. And even if the Lions’ draft picks from this trade don’t pan out, they still nearly made the playoffs last season, so they’re not down and out by any means. They’re in better shape than Los Angeles right now.