As LA Rams must plan for Stafford's successor, the Lions discuss Goff extension

Los Angeles Rams Offseason Workout Matthew Stafford, Brett Rypien, Stetson Bennett
Los Angeles Rams Offseason Workout Matthew Stafford, Brett Rypien, Stetson Bennett / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages

When the LA Rams had reportedly struck a deal with the Detroit Lions for veteran QB Matthew Stafford, the Rams offered a package that included starting quarterback Jared Goff, a 2021 NFL Draft third-round pick, a 2022 NFL Draft first-round pick, and finally a 2023 NFL Draft first-round pick. It was the type of trade that would change the trajectory of both teams.

For the LA Rams, the move was the catalyst that propelled the team to their first Super Bowl victory for the city of Los Angeles, California. The Rams finally had an offensive counterpart to All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald, a gutsy, gritty competitor in veteran QB Matthew Stafford who would know when his moment to strike in a football game, and would deliver.

But the Lions were not some storage facility that was simply there to keep Stafford in storage until the LA Rams came a' knocking. The Detroit Lions are a football team that also holds aspirations of winning a Super Bowl in high regard. And long before the Rams and Lions consummated their trade, I made some observations that still hold true today.

Stafford is an older version of Goff

While many thought that the Rams were merely dumping QB Jared Goff's salary, I saw a different reason for the Lions to take on Jared Goff and his salary. And it was that original conclusion that Goff was merely an opportunity to turn back the clock for the Detroit Lions and land a younger Stafford that had me undervalue the draft picks necessary to make this deal take place.

I was not the only one, as then-Las Vegas Raiders HC Jon Gruden thought that the trade between the two teams was a simple player-for-player exchange. And why not? At the time that the trade was made, the two veteran quarterbacks had an eerily similar stats line in terms of their career averages:

QB              Annual Yards      Comp %       Int %    Yard/Att  Yards/Com   Yards / Game
Stafford      3,758                     62.6            2.3                7.2        11.6                        273.4
Goff              3,833                     63.4            2.3                7.5        11.8                        263.3

And so, that gives you all of the background necessary to understand the rest of this article.

Goff about to get paid, again

The 2023 NFL season is the third year for quarterback Jared Goff in this Detroit Lions offense. And unlike his first season there, his second year in the Lions offense was every bit as impressive as his first and second seasons under LA Rams head coach Sean McVay.

As it now stands, the Lions hurler is under contract to play through the 2024 NFL season. But after his spike in production in 2022, the Lions are logically expecting an even stronger season this year, and a like 2024 NFL Playoff berth. So it makes complete sense for the Lions to initiate contract extension talks now, before the price escalates dramatically:

It looks as though the savvy wisdom of Detroit Lions GM Brad Holmes not only allowed the Lions to move on from a disgruntled veteran quarterback, but seamlessly swapped out Stafford for a younger version in the form of Jared Goff, and accelerated the rise to postseason possibilities.

Truly a Win-Win outcome

I know it's cliche' to claim that a trade results in a win-win outcome, but in this case I think that it's more than appropriate. Veteran QB Matthew Stafford has not only given the LA Rams a Super Bowl LVI victory, but his presence in the offense opens the door to another record-setting season.

Meanwhile, QB Jared Goff is out from under the shadow of Rams HC Sean McVay and is clearly proving that he was as much of the reason for the Rams' offensive success as Coach McVay. That is vital for his future, as the Rams and Goff did not exactly part on good terms.

While the LA Rams are themselves forced into a retooling strategy, it's clear that the Detroit Lions are well on their way. And it cannot be ignored that since hiring former LA Rams personnel executive Brad Holmes, the Lions' progress has been both measurable and positive.

Trending. Expectations for Rams STs. What can Rams fans expect from special teams this season?. dark

As soon as the LA Rams traded for Stafford, the team assumed the acceleration of the calendar. It's Stafford's advanced career that has the Rams back in the market for a new franchise quarterback to take over this team. And it's Jared Goff's resiliency that has him prompting the Lions front office to initiate talks for a contract extension.