The Los Angeles Rams and the Matt Stafford Trade

by Wayne Root

Matt Stafford heads to a ready-made contender in the Rams, who have had one of the NFL's best defenses for several seasons and had previously been one of the league's most explosive offenses before Goff's backslide over the past two years. 
 Jared Goff and head coach Sean McVay we’re at odds with each other so dumping Goff was an immediate success. Giving up draft picks is the only consideration on who won this trade. Detroit will have two first-round picks in 2022 and 2023. 
 Goff seemed to reach his peak when he threw for 4,688 yards, 32 touchdowns and 12 interceptions en route to a Super Bowl appearance during the 2018 season. Over the last two campaigns, he's thrown for 42 touchdowns and 29 interceptions.
 Stafford got a one-way ticket out after 12 seasons with a franchise that hasn't won a playoff game since 1992. Although he's made three postseason trips with the club, Detroit hasn't been able to put a complete team around him. 
 This year, with two star defenders in cornerback Jalen Ramsey and defensive tackle Aaron Donald, Stafford probably won't have to score 30-plus points to win games. He'll have a complementary rushing attack and a decent defense. For the most part, Stafford had to put the offense on his shoulders. He's played with just one 1,000-yard rusher—Reggie Bush in 2013—and one defensive unit that ranked in the top 10 in scoring. 
 Stafford will get to work in an offensive system that has been friendly to quarterbacks, behind an offensive line that excels in pass protection, and with quality pass-catchers in Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Tyler Higbee, Gerald Everett, and Van Jefferson. 
 The Rams signed Goff to a four-year, $130 million contract extension after his third NFL season, and will take a significant dead-money hit onto their books after making this deal. Goff will count for $22.2 million on LA's books in 2021 while he is playing for Detroit, while the Rams inherit the two years and $43 million remaining on Stafford's contract. One additional note to add about Stafford's contract with the Rams came from NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The expectation is that Stafford will not require a contract extension as part of this deal. He will play out the remaining two years for $34 million on his contract with the Rams.
 Similarly, Stafford will count for $17.8 million on the Lions' books in 2021, and Detroit will inherit the four years and $106.6 million remaining on Goff's deal. Crucially, though, there is no guaranteed money left on Goff's contract, so the Lions will be able to move on from him after this season if they so choose. 
 The Rams, after trading for Stafford, will go seven consecutive seasons without making a first-round pick. 

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