Throwing caution to the wind? There’s no plan B for LA Rams now
By Bret Stuter
When the LA Rams traded with the Detroit Lions, the focus of the trade centers upon the value of Lions’ quarterback Matthew Stafford. In the days leading up to the trade, the instant analysis, and the post-trade grades and analysis, the exchange appears as though the Rams acquired Stafford, and the Detroit Lions needed at least one first-round pick to accept the salary dump of Jared Goff.
But wait a minute…
Goff was more than a bench warmer. He has been a very successful quarterback in the NFL, and over the course of his young career has accomplished more than Carson Wentz. Yet the treatment of the two players has been like night and day by the media.
The Rams rushed to part ways with Goff. For all intents and purposes, the eagerness to part ways for the first quarterback to be placed on the trade block may have betrayed the organization. After all, when I drew up both sides, I interpreted the salary cap impact as a wash. The Lions became far younger at quarterback and the Rams drew more experience but got older as a result.
So the Lions have Goff, three additional draft picks, and if they choose, they can put Goff back on the trading block. Why? Well, they have two future first-round draft picks, and a current year third-round pick. They could put Goff on the trading block and expect to receiver at least as much as the Philadelphia Eagles for Wentz. And what is Wentz’s top bid? Reportedly two second-round draft picks.
The Lions are shrewd. If Goff fails to perform, they are not stuck with him in the least. In fact, he is very easily dealt with in a year or two. And the Rams picks will be invaluable for the Lions if they need to address the quarterback position in a year or two. If he performs well, then the Lions landed a much younger accomplished quarterback and hauled off three valuable draft picks to do so. That’s a win-win.
For the Rams, Stafford’s success justifies and validates everything. Even if he leads the Rams to an early exit from any future NFL playoffs, the feel-good mood of no-Goff will wash over everyone and it will be good. But if Stafford is injured for any length of time, or performs poorly, that’s it, folks.
There’s no evidence to suggest that Matthew Stafford will fail in the LA Rams offense. But it’s important to understand that there are no safety nets now. The LA Rams are taking a huge risk in hopes of a huge reward. Even a playoff appearance will be enough for all to applaud the trade. But the truth is that Jared Goff got the LA Rams to the playoffs in three of four seasons under Sean McVay. The real test now is winning a Super Bowl.
Head coach Sean McVay believes that Stafford is the right quarterback to lead the Rams to a victory in Super Bowl LVI. If he’s correct, 2021 will be a magical season. If he’s wrong, it will be the longest hangover you’ve ever experienced.