Why the Rams won the Stafford-Goff trade in an absolute landslide

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Doug Farrar
·3 min read
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Yes, the Rams now have no first-round picks through at least the 2024 season. They may have thrown their first-rounders out of the equation through an entire Presidential administration that just started if they get a little frisky down the road. But in today’s NFL, when you believe that you have a team that is all the way there outside of the most important position on the field, you have to do whatever it takes to get yourself out of that.

Look. The Rams were nuts in the first place for giving Jared Goff the kind of contract extension they gave him back in September, 2019 — a contract which revealed the franchise’s belief that Goff was a quarterback on the rise. As I wrote at the time, the tape and stats showed very different stories. So, the Rams made a really big, bad mistake — they overbet on a quarterback they believed to be better than he ever will be.

But even with offloading their first-round picks in 2022 and 2023 for Matthew Stafford, the Rams have now done the smart thing a franchise does when it’s that most important position away from actual greatness. They went out and got a quarterback who is absolutely better than the guy they got in every possible way… and they got another franchise to accept the debt of the terrible extension they signed him to in the first place.

Because let’s be clear about this. If you want to talk about Matthew Stafford in terms of QUARTERBACK WINZ, just sit outside while the adults are talking. Jared Goff has benefited through his NFL career with his relationship with Sean McVay. Matthew Stafford has had to navigate through a series of dumpster fires through most of his NFL career, and as I posited in a Stafford tape piece last week, Stafford lives on an entirely different plane.

Everything McVay wants to do — passing out of run-heavy sets, play- and run-action, the ability to hit total route concepts all over the field — Stafford is far better at all of this than Goff will ever be. Period, full stop. And the Rams have a $33 million cap hit for Stafford in 2021, and a $26 million cap hit in 2022. Stafford will turn 33 on February 7. There’s a lot of meat on the bone.

As for the Lions? They have all kinds of draft picks, but they’ve married themselves to one of the league’s more limited quarterbacks through the next couple of years, and the debt is frightening.

Sometimes, you have to look beyond the obvious to see how things work in the future. The Rams got a much, much, better quarterback at a time when they have everything else they need to contend. The Lions just hamstrung themselves with a supremely limited quarterback at a time when they’re going through a massive rebuild. Draft picks or not, the Rams won this trade in a landslide, and that’s why.