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A Gamble Worth Making: Rams Get Stafford for Goff and Three Picks

February 3rd, 2021 · No Comments · Football, NFL, Rams

I am not going to argue against any reasonable trade the Rams could make to replace Jared Goff at quarterback.

And I certainly will not criticize a deal that brings in clutch quarterback Matthew Stafford from the Detroit Lions in exchange for Goff and three high draft picks.

It was in the middle of this season that I wrote the Rams would never win a Super Bowl with Goff at quarterback. That was after the four-turnover game versus Miami that brought home to fans just how many aspects of quarterback play Goff struggles to master. Even after four years and 69 games as a starter.

From this moment on, Goff’s further development, if possible, is someone else’s problem. Stafford, meanwhile, might be able to fix some of the Rams’ problems. Or general manager Les Snead and coach Sean McVay certainly hope so.

The Rams do not get Stafford for nothing, of course. He costs them their first-round picks in 2022 and 2023, and a third-rounder this year. But he may be exactly what the Rams need to round out a team that already has one of the league’s leading defenses.

What can Stafford do for them?

–He is far more versatile than Goff, even at age 33. The Rams got tired of seeing Goff lose his composure (as well as the football) when pressured in the pocket. Stafford is cool and collected when trying to throw, and he retains an “escape dimension”. One Goff has never shown.

–Stafford over the past three seasons has ranked, statistically, No. 12 among NFL quarterbacks. Over the same time frame, Goff has been No. 20. Also, Goff has thrown 29 interceptions (against 42 TDs) in the past two years; Stafford threw 15 interceptions against 45 TDs.

–Stafford has led 31 fourth-quarter comebacks in his career, going back to 2009, his rookie season, which marks him as a clutch player. And what is more valuable than a clutch quarterback?

–He will be 33 next season, which is a nice mid-career age for quarterbacks. (Tom Brady is 43). He has seen about everything by now, but he is not getting rusty and rarely misses games with injury.

–Despite some gaudy individual statistics, Stafford’s career record as a starting quarterback is 74-90-1. But most of that can be attributed to a Lions team that has been bad for most of the past 60 years, and to a lack of talent around Stafford over the past decade. A case can be made that he has played with only one elite player, on offense: the receiver Calvin Johnson, now retired.

–Stafford clearly has leadership ability. Watch his games. He is in charge. Goff too often looked a bit panicked, not exactly the kind of guy a football team can rally around.

–Stafford’s arrival gets Goff off the Rams’ books. The Lions take on the second half of Goff’s four-year, $134 million — which includes a lamentable $110 million guaranteed. The Rams have two years of Stafford, at $43 million, total.

So, what we have here is the Rams trying to fix what they believe is their most pressing: Jared Goff at quarterback. They believe giving up draft picks for Matthew Stafford gives them a better shot to win a Super Bowl before the rest of the team ages out. Can’t argue with that thinking.


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