When the Browns received a second-round pick from the Texans to take on Brock Osweiler’s $16 million guaranteed salary in 2017, it was obvious he wouldn’t be on the Week One roster in Cleveland. And he wasn’t.
So what will the Lions now do with Jared Goff and the bad contract they bought from the Rams?
That remains to be seen, based on the manner in which the rest of the offseason progresses for the Lions. It’s possible that Goff will be biting off kneecaps for the Lions in 2021, as new coach Dan Campbell and new offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn try to get something positive out of a quarterback who represents a clear step back from the guy they had in Matthew Stafford. Since the Lions now owe Goff more than $43 million in guaranteed money over the next two years, they may as well see whether the change of scenery helps Goff — while also hoping that their 2021 trips to Chicago, Green Bay, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Seattle won’t happen when the elements could be a factor in Goff’s performance.
The move suggests that the Lions, who have signed Campbell to a six-year deal, are willing to take a major step back in the hopes of taking multiple steps forward in the future, after using the draft picks acquired from the Rams. (It also will help if the Rams fall apart over the next two years, maximizing the 2022 and 2023 first-round picks the Lions will get.) It also reflects a willingness to take first-round picks in years when, hopefully, it will be easier to evaluate incoming players than it will be in 2021, when the pandemic already has wiped out the Scouting Combine.
Regardless, there’s little reason to believe that the Lions have found treasure in the Rams’ recycling bin. Maybe the current culture change in Detroit will offset the clear talent drop at quarterback. Regardless, the task of ending a 29-year run without playoff wins for the Lions now seems destined to make it to an even 30.