Trade “reeks of desperation” for the Rams

Divisional Round - Los Angeles Rams v Green Bay Packers
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Initial reactions are emerging regarding the trade that will, as of March 17, send quarterback Matthew Stafford from the Lions to the Rams for quarterback Jared Goff, a pair of first-round picks, and a third-round pick. As one executive with a team not connected to the trade opined late Saturday night, the move “reeks of desperation” by the Rams.

In the two weeks since the Rams exited the playoffs in the divisional round, the team made no secret of the fact that it had fallen out of love with quarterback Jared Goff. From coach Sean McVay’s somewhat cryptic comments after the loss to the Packers to McVay’s more pointed comments the next day indicating that Goff’s days in L.A. could be numbered to G.M. Les Snead’s more recent invocation of the “beautiful mystery” catch phrase coined by Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, it was clear that the Rams were done with Goff.

And indeed they were.

On the surface, it looks like the Lions got a tremendous haul for Stafford, a soon-to-be-33-year-old quarterback with a history of injuries (to his credit, he played through most of them) and no history of postseason success. Buried not far beneath the surface is the reality that the Rams combined their acquisition of Stafford into a Brock Osweiler-style hot-potato trade, in which the team gives up value to unload a very bad contract.

The Lions didn’t get two ones and a three for Stafford. They got two ones and a three for Stafford plus taking on Goff’s contract. Basically, the Lions got extra for Stafford by taking Goff, who has $43.25 million in fully-guaranteed payments over the next two years, much of which has no offset attached to it. The Lions, despite any other offers they may have received for Stafford, got two ones and a three only because they took a terrible contract off the Rams’ books.

From the Rams’ perspective, it’s not a gamble as much as it is an effort to make chicken salad out of chicken crap. They paid Goff when they shouldn’t have paid him. And so, to unload a player in whom they invested two first-round picks, two second-round picks, and a third-round pick in a 2016 trade with the Titans for the right to draft Goff, the Rams gave up another two first-round picks and a third-round pick, and they acquired Stafford.

So what did the Rams get in return for everything they gave up for Goff and everything they gave up to get rid of his ill-advised second contract? An older quarterback with a career record of 74-90-1 in the regular season and 0-3 in the playoffs.

Time will tell whether offensive genius Sean McVay can get more out of Stafford than others have gotten out of him in Detroit over the past 12 years. If they can continue to compete in the NFC West and the NFC postseason, winning one or more postseason games and competing for championships during Stafford’s time with the team, that will make the trade seem less problematic for L.A. If Stafford falters in L.A., the Rams will have completely blown it — all because they gave Goff a market-level long-term deal when they should have waited.

That may not be the end of the investment the Rams must make. Stafford is under contract for only two more years. What will it take to keep him? Actually, Stafford may want something more now, given that he’s due to make only $20 million in 2021 and $23 million in 2022.

How can the Rams refuse to give Stafford more, now or later? By investing so much in getting him (and in getting rid of Goff), Stafford has all the leverage. The Rams, at some point, will have to break the bank for Stafford to justify the trade they had to make after they gave all that money to Goff.

By tying the unloading of Goff into the acquisition of Stafford, the Rams have managed to somewhat obscure the final price of trading up for and then paying Goff. The Rams now need Stafford to play at a very high level in order to make the outcome of their time with Goff seem like something other than the abject disaster that it was.

29 responses to “Trade “reeks of desperation” for the Rams

  1. The Rams talked themselves in and out of love with Goff that they overreacted to get him and to get rid of him. That front office needs to get rid of their emotions and approach these decisions much more business like.

  2. Sean McVay won 44 games with Jared Goff in his first 4 years as a coach. He’s made the SB, won the NFCC on the road, beat the division champs in the first round this year and did that with a guy everyone has been dumping on since SB53. If he can make chicken salad out of that situation, imagine what he can do with a guy who doesn’t need a babysitter until the mic cuts off. Who cares about the future if you win now?

  3. Goff was terrible and seemed to be getting worse as defenses figured out his weaknesses. He’s the new Rick Mirer.

    This is not desperate. It’s smart. They are all in on winning a Super Bowl while they can still keep this defense together. They got out of Goff’s contract too.

  4. Stafford is an upgrade from Goff as long as he can stay healthy. The only edge Goff maybe has on Stafford is slightly more mobility.

  5. Do the Rasms owe any bonus money or any money to Goff? I am confused, I thought they still owe him 12 mil even if traded.

  6. The Rams are ready to win right now with their roster makeup. The Rams drawback was at the QB position. Clearly critics of Goff were right all along. Stafford is a upgrade at the QB position. The NFC West will be must see football next year.

  7. I’m a huge Stafford supporter. I think in the very short term, the next two years, the Rams have a guy who is really going to finally show what he can do. I hope for the fans and franchise sake they win a title. After that it could get really ugly.

  8. What is the basis for calling Sean McVay an offensive genius? His team scored the least points of any superbowl team in the modern era despite a host of weapons and since then has been carried by their defenses. Is he a genius because enough journalists repeated that he was because it was a great way to make a catchy headline of his youth?

  9. I dunno what the Rams and Goff did (turd in his morning cereal bowl?) to get Mike Florio to pull a Stretch Armstrong with how much he’s dumping on them. Goff’s contract was “bad” not because he’s useless and the money is being burned, but because the Rams chose a few years ago to go “all in” on a short term window and now feels it can’t win during that window with Goff…and because of the contract can’t move on from him. He’s no Osweiler, a guy who was actually worthless for the guaranteed money…he’s a flawed QB who can rip defenses apart when protected but NEEDS to be protected. The Lions pulled a brilliant move by converting Stafford into all those draft picks and also getting more for taking back a still-young QB who maybe can further evolve…and if he doesn’t, no problem, because then he’ll be gone as and when Detroit tries to build into a window. The Rams had to sink an awful lot into trying to kick their short remaining window up a notch, but that’s the path they chose years ago and their options were limited. And, by the way, bury this silly notion that the Rams make a gigantic blunder paying Goff when they did – it’s standard procedure to extend QBs early, especially when they are former top picks and are coming off of back-to-back fringe MVP attention seasons in years two and three. If they shouldn’t have extended Goff at the time under the circumstances, they never should have drafted him, period.

  10. Goff was an abject disaster with the Rams? He went 11-5, 13-3, 9-7 and 10-6. He passed for 3804, 4688, 4638 and 3952 yards those years. They went to the Super Bowl one year and the playoffs two other years. That’s an abject disaster?

  11. Goff is a kid from Southern California and now he finds himself in Detroit. If I were a Rams player I wouldn’t do anything to annoy McVay.

  12. Just remember this when you fault the Cowboys for not locking up Dak Prescott earlier – the two QB’s (Goff and Wentz) from that draft who got locked up earlier, should not have been extended that soon…

  13. If everything goes according to their plan, Rams gave up low 3rd rounder and two low 1st rounders to a team that cannot draft for an considerable upgrade at QB. All they need to do now is to draft good in the middle rounds where real value is. If Staford comes through for them this is a great trade.

  14. Rams hosed themselves. they will regret this move. gave up waaay toooo much for a 32 year old qb.

  15. Reeks of desperation? You mean kind of like the trade for Jalen Ramsey? The Brandin Cooks trade before that? And the Goff draft trade before that?

    Les Snead got lucky with a haul of draft of draft picks for RG3 and then lucked into picking Aaron Donald. Other than that he’s been awful. But they keep digging in, deeper and deeper.

    This team is really going to go 7 straight years without making a pick in the 1st round.

  16. The Bobby Lane curse (albeit without the 50 year curse flung on the way out) boomeranging and maybe actually helping the Lions ? Interesting times indeed….

  17. It is a risk to give up that much to get Stafford but isn’t it a bit reductive to refer to him by his career record? It’s not his fault that he has been on some terrible, and terribly coached, teams. In 2019 he had 2500 yards / 19 TDs / 5 Int in 8 games and they went 3-4-1. If anything, going 0-3 in the playoffs with the Lions is pretty good b/c it means they made the playoffs three times.

    I could see this trade not working out, but I could also see him putting up some top-notch offensive numbers for a few years. Which, with that defense, might bring them a Superbowl or two. Fortune favors the bold.

  18. No horse in this race , so here’s my unbiased opinion. No way Stafford makes the Rams a Super Bowl team. Only slightly better than Goff. What people are forgetting, the overpayment of mediocre qbs started with the Lions and Stafford. The Goffs and Cousins and who know who else got overpaid after the Lions overpaid him. The Lions had to get rid of him after yoko ono, aka Mrs Stafford, open her mouth dissing Detroit. Time will tell if it’s a good move, but no way Stafford makes a full season and after Campbell goes 8 and 30 , he’ll be gone too.

  19. Desperate? Well, it’s been called a copycat league, so who best to copy than the super bowl bound Tampa Bay Bucs. Bruce Arians was brought to Tampa out of desperation. Jason Licht had one more chance to prove the mistake of taking Jameis Winston #1 overall, was really just a failure by the coaches. So they brought in the QB whisperer, Bruce Arians, for one final attempt to prove Licht was right. Well, Arians couldn’t get Winston to perform any better, so they were doomed. They were both going to get fired, right? But they were able to hold onto their jobs just in time to come up with a plan to make everyone forget about past failures, and the plan worked out brilliantly. They signed veteran QB Tom Brady. Now Jason Licht is seen as a great GM, and Bruce Arians is the smartest coach in the league (similar to what we’ve been hearing out of New England the last 20 years). Looking at where the Rams were a couple years ago, and looking at how they’ve traded away all those #1 draft picks for Jalen Ramsey, perhaps there was some desperation going on inside the Rams building. All that spent draft capital was supposed to bring a championship. They needed a plan, and they saw what happened in Tampa. They needed a Tom Brady. Then Matt Stafford said he wanted out of Detroit. Perfect timing. But now they give up two #1 picks, so this plan has to work. Matthew Stafford has about a year to prove he’s the second coming of Tom Brady. Whether it works or not, we’ll see. But considering how Jason Licht was feeling only a year ago, there’s reason to be optimistic. I’m very optimistic. I have a lot of confidence in Sean McVay. In the words of Bruce Arians, “no risk it, no biscuit”.

  20. Stafford better not have the nerve to want more money. Not at least until he takes the Rams deep into the playoffs.

  21. Goff is a kid from Southern California and now he finds himself in Detroit. If I were a Rams player I wouldn’t do anything to annoy McVay.


    Goff seems like a So CA guy, but from Marin County in No. CA, went to Cal.

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