Why the Huge Matthew Stafford Trade Cannot be Judged for 3 Years

Image for Why the Huge Matthew Stafford Trade Cannot be Judged for 3 Years

We have all heard the news by now that the Detroit Lions have traded their franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams. The news shocked quite a bit of Lions fans Saturday night, not because he was traded, but to where and for who? In the end, the Matthew Stafford trade ended up shocking us all, and the instant reaction is to try and figure out who “won” the trade. But, as we will show, that is easier said than done.

Instant Reaction

The Lions got a potential new face to their franchise as they traded for the number one overall pick of the 2016 NFL draft, Jared Goff. Goff had had his share of ups and downs in the league just like any other player. He has a career 91.5 passer rating and helped the Rams get to the Superbowl not too long ago.

He has also seen his fair share of injuries this year and played through them to the best of his ability when called upon. That is a trait that is gold here in Detroit. This city demands its players to be strong and though like the city itself. This was one of the main reasons Stafford is still loved in Detroit, he gave it his all every game and did not make excuses.

Goff is still young and might be seen as the answer at quarterback for Lions’ new general manager Brad Holmes. After all, Holmes pounded the table for the Rams to draft Goff in the first place. I can only wonder what this trade does for the Lions with the seventh pick in this upcoming NFL draft. Do they take a quarterback and have the veteran Goff take him under his wing for a few years?

Do the Lions simply add weapons around Goff, since it seems like wide receivers one through three may all be playing elsewhere as well this year? The Lions could also use that pick to start remaking the defense in the vision of the new scheme.

Some Detroit fans want to immediately jump onto the back of Holmes and say that he didn’t need to take on Goff’s contract, but he surely got more picks out of the deal for doing so, therefore it is hard to give any slack to Holmes. Some, like us, are taking a “wait and see” approach.

This trade will be judged in three years when all of these picks are on the Lions’ roster and are having a chance to develop. We must also wait for the other shoe to drop, as Stafford must win a Super Bowl in order for the Rams to justify this trade. Also, do not forget that Holmes knows Goff more than any GM in the NFL. It might not have worked for Jared in Detroit, but he will be given a fresh start and a chance to impress his old boss.

Embed from Getty Images

A Familiar Face

As mentioned earlier, Holmes had everything to do with the Matthew Stafford trade. In his time with the Rams, he was a part of trades that sent multiple first-round picks to other teams in exchange for a pro bowl caliber player. Saturday night was no different, as he called/ took a call from his former front office and negotiated to trade away his franchise quarterback for multiple first-round picks.

I am sure he is delighted to be on this end of the deal for once. Although the Rams get one heck of a quarterback, the Lions are rebuilding, … I mean… “retooling” their roster, and a couple of extra first-round picks could take a significant amount of time off of the rebuild.

When the Matthew Stafford trade was all set and done (although it can not be official until March 17th) the Lions added the Rams 2021 third-round pick (88 overall), 2022 first-round pick, 2023 first-round pick, and their potential franchise quarterback in Goff. That is not a bad haul in exchange for a QB who slightly lowered his trade value by asking to be traded.

So, Who “Won” the Matthew Stafford Trade?

The Lions made huge progress on paper adding a younger (only 26) year old Goff in addition to multiple picks that can bring another young talent to the Lions organization. It will be impossible to see who “won” the trade however until the draft picks have been made and we all get to see the development of the players.

If the Lions fail to find some blue-chip players to add to their roster with the picks acquired in this trade then the Matthew Stafford trade was pointless. Detroit, and Holmes specifically, are banking on their scouting department to have more hits than misses. It will surely be a very fun few years as we all sit back and watch how well his plan fares.

main image credit

Embed from Getty Images

Share this article

I write Detroit Lions and NFL Draft articles for, I also used to write for Follow me on Twitter for poll questions, general conversation, and of course so you won't miss any of my articles.