Detroit Trades Stafford For Draft Picks and Jared Goff

Detroit's new General Manager, Brad Holmes, formerly Director of College Scouting for the Los Angeles Rams, has pulled the trigger on a blockbuster trade.  Detroit will send quarterback Matthew Stafford to the Rams for a 2021 third-round pick (presumably #88), first round picks in 2022 and 2023, and quarterback Jared Goff. 

Detroit will take a $19M dead money hit but trading Stafford in itself generates $14M in cap savings.  However, while trading for Goff does reduce his cap number, it still will be $28.15M to Detroit, the acquiring team.  Thus, Detroit's cap space will be reduced by a net of $14.15M.  The Lions only have $1.69M in cap space for 2021, according to Overthecap, so the team will have to generate a moderate amount of cap space before this deal becomes official.

Looking at just 2021, going from Stafford to Goff is a downgrade that is not offset by a late third round pick.  The Lions have pick #7, #41, #72, #88, #102 and #136.  They do not have any picks in the sixth or seventh rounds.  The Lions could use one of the picks they acquired to move up from the seventh overall pick.

The Rams gain $12.75M in cap savings by trading Goff.  Since Detroit is eating Stafford's signing bonus prorations, Stafford's cap number will fall to $20M.  The deals means that the Rams will have $7.25M less in cap space.  That is more of a problem since the Rams were scheduled to be $31.279M over the projected 2021 salary cap before this trade was announced, according to Overthecap. 

Stafford turns 33 next week and is under contract for 2021 and 2022.  He has played all 16 games in 9 of the last 10 seasons.  The Rams probably will restructure his contract by adding a year or two, converting his $10M roster bonus and some or most of his $9.5M base salary into a signing bonus to pick up $10M to $15M in cap space, or they might just start over.  How the Rams close their large remaining deficit is beyond the scope of this article (which is a fancy way of saying that I do not want to do that much work, especially since I do not think the readers care).

The Packers will host the Rams at Lambeau Field in 2021.  The Packers beat the Rams in the 2020 Divisional Playoff game, but that team had a quarterback who had difficulty throwing passes longer than 12 yards downfield.  Whatever one thinks about Stafford, he can throw deep.  The Packers will play Detroit twice, of course.  Reports are that Lions Head Coach Dan Campbell has assured Goff that he is in the Lions' plans for the future.

 

4 points

Comments (48)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Thegreatreynoldo's picture

January 31, 2021 at 06:28 am

It looks like Goff probably will start for Detroit in 2021 (at least he will be on the team if only due to salary cap issues), but it is possible that he is the starter for the foreseeable future. OTC believes that $25M of Goff's base salary had already turned from an injury-only guarantee to being fully guaranteed for the 2021 season. Detroit GM Holmes was director of scouting when the Rams made Goff the number one pick.

The Packers should see Goff twice and Stafford once in 2021. The Rams should have a better offense than last year's iteration but the Rams might have some cap casualties and lose significant talent.

It is possible that Goff will be the starter during Detroit's rebuild. It is hard to see Trevor Lawrence falling out of pick #1, or Fields dropping far enough, but should Detroit be interested in Zach Wilson, that might be a possibility even if they have to move up.

6 points
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Leatherhead's picture

January 31, 2021 at 12:24 pm

This is a nice item. Since Detroit has been doing the wrong things since before I was born, I’m gonna believe this is another one. Sure, Detroit gets lots of high draft picks, just like they always do. Barry Sanders, Calvin Johnson, Donkeykong Suh, Stafford....all high picks that were unable to overcome the Detroit legacy of failure. Maybe something’s in the water....

From the Rams perspective, this is what “going all in” looks like. It’s 2021 they’ve mortgaged the future for. Winning during the Donald Window. They’ve got to be thinking that they were in the top 4 NFC teams with an excellent defense and a QB with a broken hand, and that Stafford gets them farther next year.

Just last week somebody was saying no GM in the league would trade a bunch for Rodgers, but if Stafford is worth all that, then Rodgers is clearly worth more.

2021 order of finish in the NFC North: Packers, Vikings, Bears, Detroit.

4 points
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BradHTX's picture

January 31, 2021 at 06:38 am

Really wish CHTV allowed pics, so I could post a “Bad Luck Brian” meme with the caption “DOWNGRADES QUARTERBACK - REDUCES CAP SPACE.”

Lions gonna Lion.

3 points
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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

January 31, 2021 at 07:07 am

Yeah, true in the short term. The first round picks from the Rams figure to be in the mid to late twenties or even in the thirties, and they don't come until 2022 and 2023, but one never knows: Stafford has quite a few broken bones in his history even though he has managed to play, or something else unfortunate might happen to the Rams. I'd guess that neither GM thought the picks for Tunsil from Houston would net Miami the 3rd overall pick and the 36th pick this year.

I had expected the Packers to beat Detroit twice in 2021 before this trade. It would not be surprising if Detroit planned to go the full rebuild route anyway and figured Stafford would be too old and/or worn down to help them in 2024 or so. 2 firsts and a 3rd ain't hay.

But now the Rams game looks tougher for the Packers. We shall see.

4 points
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Guam's picture

January 31, 2021 at 07:56 am

Spot on TGR. This definitely puts Detroit in full rebuild mode and they won't be an NFC North threat for several years with Goff at the helm. However the Rams just became legitimate SB threats. They have all the other ingredients, but lacked strong QB play. Happy for Stafford he finally gets a chance to see the playoffs, but this makes it more difficult for the Pack to get to the SB.

3 points
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dobber's picture

January 31, 2021 at 09:31 am

The Quinn/Patricia era showed that the middle-of-the-pack team they inherited could easily be driven into the crapper. Stafford was Detroit's one chip to play in order to get some extra fuel for a rebuild. I don't think they did too badly.

6 points
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dobber's picture

January 31, 2021 at 09:47 am

The cap implications don't mean much if you're going to tear it all down anyway. Fire sale on the way!

4 points
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WilsonMaywick's picture

February 02, 2021 at 01:55 pm

Yes and what's left of the team will bite your knee caps off!

0 points
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marpag1's picture

January 31, 2021 at 08:35 am

If I am a Lion's fan, I take this trade every damn day. Did ANYBODY think that Stafford at his age, injury history and price tag would fetch two first rounders, and third rounder and a middling starter at QB who could benefit from a change of scenery? I'm certainly not saying that this is going to turn a horrible franchise into instant world-beaters, but yeah, I'd take this trade every single time.

The lions now have five first round picks in the next 3 years. They can try to build around Goff with all of those picks, or they can easily make a move in this draft to get a QB of the future, or they could even dive into the D. Watson sweepstakes. They have tons of options.

Why not do this?? Were they going somewhere with Matt Stafford under center?

True, Goff's contract is awful, but if he totally bombs the Lions will be able to dump him in a year or two. That could be just enough time for Goff to hold down the fort while the QB the Lions draft this year gets up to speed.

Like I said, this is no guarantee that the Lions suddenly get good. But if I'm a Leos fan, I love this.

17 points
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PhantomII's picture

January 31, 2021 at 12:23 pm

The Lions are doing Lions things. Rams get a significant upgrade at QB. Rams will be better for it.

-1 points
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Leatherhead's picture

January 31, 2021 at 12:30 pm

If I’m a Lions fan, I’d kill myself to avoid the misery of being a massive loser..

This will not lift the Lions out of their swamp of inferiority. Nothing will. It is destined.

-2 points
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TheBigCheeze's picture

January 31, 2021 at 08:53 am

Stafford will now go from the basement of the NFC-North, to the basement of the NFC-West....BOOK IT!!!

-2 points
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dobber's picture

January 31, 2021 at 09:26 am

Lions: We want two first rounders for Stafford.
Rams: OK...but you have to take Goff, too.
Lions: Then you need to throw in a third rounder, too...

12 points
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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

January 31, 2021 at 11:34 am

I thought about writing something snarky along these lines because it is probably true. Releasing Goff was not an option for LAR. The dead money would be something like $47M IIRC.

As for your comment below, LAR's last first round pick was Goff in 2016, and they won't have one (barring a trade) until 2024. That will put a dent in the old cap structure.

Looks like a good trade for Detroit to me. I agree with Marpag.

6 points
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Leatherhead's picture

January 31, 2021 at 12:32 pm

Ba dum dum. That deserved a rimshot, Dobber.

3 points
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Since'61's picture

January 31, 2021 at 09:28 am

This trade by the Rams reminds me of the Packers trade for John Hadl back in the 70s. I think this will be a terrible trade for the Rams.

Stafford is a good QB but he is frequently injured and at 33 his best seasons are probably behind him. If he was 5 years younger it would be a good move. However the combination of the Rams cap situation plus the loss of draft picks makes this trade very questionable.

The Rams have a good defense but the Packers gave the league the formula for beating them.

As for the Lions they have weakened their QB position at least for the short term. The Lions don’t have either the OL or the defense to support Goff, at least not yet. Maybe they will get there during their rebuild, but how many times have the Lions rebuilt since their last championship in 1957?

Stafford was their best QB since forever and they never won anything with him. Time will tell if this is a good trade for either or both teams or if this is just a trade for tradings sake. Thanks, Since ‘61

4 points
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dobber's picture

January 31, 2021 at 09:41 am

The Rams have systematically dealt away first round picks since they drafted Goff (and now he's gone). They won't have another one for a couple years. In return they've gotten good players (Ramsey, Stafford), but without the benefit of rookie contracts to help their cap. This is a team that's likely to have a very short window and then need to dismantle and rebuild.

I think we need to ask whether or not Goff is the guy the Lions plan to ride though a rebuild and I would argue probably not. He could right the ship for himself in Detroit, but he's likely the guy to keep the position warm until their chosen successor is ready to go, and the cut down the road (or even a trade piece) that generates the cap space to sign help at that stage.

4 points
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Leatherhead's picture

January 31, 2021 at 12:37 pm

They could draft a QB this year. They could trade those picks to Houston for Watson. They’ll do something that will bite them in the ass, you can count on that.

2 points
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dobber's picture

January 31, 2021 at 03:14 pm

They could. I've seen some speculation on that. They could go for that QB in the draft this year when the QB crop is speculated to be pretty good, but they'll be drafting outside the top 7 unless they burn up a lot of that capital. I think they take 2021 to see what they have in Goff, then use their #1 next year to go for a QB (when Goff unsurprisingly plays terribly with a sub-par supporting cast) when I suspect they'll be drafting in the top 4.

0 points
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Packers0808's picture

January 31, 2021 at 10:37 am

Darn you beat me to the Packer Hadl deal. Seems to be right on down that pipeline of thought! really don't see much improvement quickly for either team. Stafford is always injured and good for a couple or more interecepts a game!

5 points
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wildbill's picture

January 31, 2021 at 10:44 am

The Hadl trade is one of the worst in NFL history and I doubt this one is even close. The Rams seem to be thinking that QB is their weakest link and I feel that Stafford will be a nice upgrade for them.

5 points
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Ferrari-Driver's picture

January 31, 2021 at 11:22 am

The Stafford trade may remind some of the Hadl trade, but the trade Dan Devine made for the 34 year old trade was a disaster. We gave up 1st and 2nd round picks in 1975 and 1st and 2nd round picks in 1976, plus a 3rd round pick in 1975. Hadl wasn't even a starting quarterback when the trade was made. He was a shell of himself and was the backup quarterback to James Harris. Personally, that trade severely handicapped Bart Starr for many years when he took over for Devine who avoided being fired the next year when he resigned and took the head coaching job with Notre Dame.

5 points
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flackcatcher's picture

January 31, 2021 at 12:18 pm

And a 1 and 2 and a 123... The League barred those trades the following season.

0 points
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stockholder's picture

January 31, 2021 at 09:35 am

Just a great trade for the lions. - John Dorsey has been hired by the lions. Good Things are happening in Detroit.

2 points
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dobber's picture

January 31, 2021 at 09:44 am

Trading for picks--especially a known commodity at the league's most important position--is always a crap shoot, but when you've spent down your cap and shown that the guys you have in-house can't get close, it's about all you have to go with. Stafford will set the market for other vet QBs asking to move on.

4 points
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MajWhiplash's picture

January 31, 2021 at 02:11 pm

Good trade for the Rams they got a huge salary off the books and can help compliment Stafford with whatever holes need mending. Not a bad deal all around for either team.
Ironically Rodgers would not be that appealing because of his age. He is no spring chicken and one good hit could put him down for a long time. No unless a team is despirate to win now at all costs and most arent, Rodgers will not be of a ton of value that others thing he is.
Watson is young and can quickly take a team with other young people on a journey wheras Rodgers has his own way and may not fit in with just any team.

-5 points
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stockholder's picture

January 31, 2021 at 10:04 am

Reynaldo. Instead of talking about the lions. Your view points on fixing the cap would generate more responses. Lets see your math and who you would cut.

-5 points
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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

January 31, 2021 at 11:53 am

Patience, young grasshopper.

I actually wrote something up but didn't like the presentation.

4 points
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Leatherhead's picture

January 31, 2021 at 12:53 pm

We’re in bad shape, salary cap-wise, relative to the rest of the league. We might be well over the reduced cap, and that would require some restructuring and even some cuts. We can forget about being players in free agency. In fact, quite a few teams are in that same boat.

I am hopeful that we don’t blow holes in our lineup for salary cap reasons.

0 points
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PeteK's picture

January 31, 2021 at 01:44 pm

I believe we could save 12mill if we say goodbye to Preston , or even better trade him.

-1 points
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Leatherhead's picture

January 31, 2021 at 02:17 pm

Yes, we could do that.

Players we need to replace, already: Linsley, Jones, Williams, King. That’s four. And people want to replace Lancaster and Lowry, and add a super duper WR .

So how many holes are we at? 7? Now we’ll add P. Smith and Kirksey.

There’s going to be some difficult choices as we might be as much as $30 million over. You can do some restructuring, but you surely can’t sign FAs. So I’m kind of opposed to making any more holes. In fact, I’d try to add two CBs, one Jenkins-type OL, and one DL in the top 100 to what we have already.

1 points
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stockholder's picture

January 31, 2021 at 05:30 pm

It will depend on the next defensive Coach. I'd cut Kirksey being he was a petine's man and got out played by Barnes. Next RT. He got burned in the championship game. And you don't pay failure. TB still exposed what has to change. King is out of here. I believe it will be Kings choice to part ways. Not the Packers.

0 points
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Lphill's picture

January 31, 2021 at 10:25 am

Rams just got better if anyone thinks Stafford is done you're in for a surprise .

0 points
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4thand1's picture

January 31, 2021 at 10:41 am

These are the type of deals that have teams looking for new GM's every other year.

3 points
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Leatherhead's picture

January 31, 2021 at 12:39 pm

Yup. This is the Rams going all in for 2021.

-1 points
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murf7777's picture

January 31, 2021 at 10:49 am

Not that I’m advocating this, but what would Rodgers be worth??

2 points
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TarynsEyes's picture

January 31, 2021 at 11:29 am

Based of this trade, no team can spend what the Packers would demand. I guess that makes Rodgers untouchable. Whether good or bad for GB is in the thinking of each.

2 points
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NitschkeFan's picture

January 31, 2021 at 12:27 pm

And what does this trade make Deshaun Watson worth? Houston could start a big rebuild with just one trade.

0 points
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flackcatcher's picture

January 31, 2021 at 12:33 pm

The Hadl trade ironically is the closest to a projected Rodgers trade. The leagued banned trading more than one first for good reasons. Trading Rodgers would be Hadl on steroids, can't be done. Maybe some kind of cash buyout to reduce the Cap hit with lower 3 and 4 along with more 2 rounds. But in a league where draft choices are gold that would like jumping of a cliff. (with no chute)

-1 points
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NickPerry's picture

January 31, 2021 at 03:19 pm

"The leagued banned trading more than one first for good reasons"

HUH...You lost me with this Bud....Didn't the Lions just get TWO 1st round picks in this deal?

2 points
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flackcatcher's picture

January 31, 2021 at 06:09 pm

Back when the trade for Hadl was done, the Packers traded back to back first rounders for him. The NFL halted the deal and forced the Chargers to sub a second for the second first, so the Packers would have a first in next year's draft Nick. The League does not allow more than one first, any other first traded is a conditional depending on team strength and a whole host of NFL rules. (Which came of out the Irsay trade)

0 points
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MajWhiplash's picture

January 31, 2021 at 02:06 pm

A lot less now that he's another year older. Last year would have been the one to bite the bullet on and amass a army of picks to rebuild that defense.
After next season you wont get a bag of peanuts for Rodgers, just way too old for anyone to want to franchise their future.

-5 points
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Leatherhead's picture

January 31, 2021 at 03:14 pm

Not if Tampa wins with Brady.

1 points
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Nate-1980's picture

February 01, 2021 at 08:24 am

This has to be the worst take I’ve ever heard.. If you think that Rodgers wouldn’t get the same draft capital in a trade that Stanford just did, you’re delusional.. Actually Rodgers would get way more..

0 points
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Packers0808's picture

January 31, 2021 at 02:14 pm

Hopefully more like what will Love be worth?

1 points
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splitpea1's picture

January 31, 2021 at 11:28 am

It looks like the Lions finally went to the Wizard and got a brain (yeah, I know, it's the wrong character, but....). It's about time that franchise did something daring to plan for better times ahead.

Maybe this puts the Rams over the top; I don't know. But they sure are carefree with their high draft picks (remember the Ramsey trade?).

1 points
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PhantomII's picture

January 31, 2021 at 12:29 pm

Yes, envious of taking chances and 2 years #1 picks for something better. Rams will be in the mix next year with another WR pick/ trade.

1 points
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MajWhiplash's picture

January 31, 2021 at 02:04 pm

Smart move on Detroits part, get something for someone who has served you well enough while you can. Yes they have to eat Goffs, big pay but Detroit is already committed to rebuild and you do that with picks and free agency.
They get a serviceable QB for now but he is not their future and they know it.

Now look at the Pack. Lets say Rodgers just were to flat out retire. You get nothing for him. Wow we already have his replacement and lets hope for gosh sake he can read a D and not complete more interceptions then TD's. Not only do the pack know nothing about him no one else seems to either and thats not good.
If so it would be a long long journey to get back to playoff status.

-1 points
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