Even before the NFL’s 2020 season is coming to an end, the first enormous move of the offseason has taken place: the Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Rams have exchanged their starting quarterbacks as part of a blockbuster trade. Now-former Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford will therefore play in L.A. moving forward, while ex-Ram Jared Goff is now headed to Detroit.
The trade is the first exchange of former number one overall draft picks since the NFL moved to its common draft era in 1967.
The ramifications of the move go beyond the two players involved in it, though. Alongside Goff, the Rams also sent a third-round draft pick in 2021 as well as first-round selections in both 2022 and 2023 to the Lions for Stafford. As per NFL rules, however, the move cannot become official until the start of the new league year on March 17.
The price to bring the veteran passer aboard is quite a steep one, but it also likely accounts for Goff’s contract — one that was scheduled to hit Los Angeles’ books with a salary cap number of $34,95 million this season. Trading its former starting QB away therefore gives the team some much-needed financial flexibility heading into the offseason and answers one of the biggest questions on the roster.
The trade itself also presents the first move by new Lions general manager Brad Holmes, who himself joined the team from the Rams just recently. Holmes’ organization is now well-positioned for a rebuild around Goff over the next few years — at least when it comes to draft capital — while his old one found a likely upgrade at the quarterback position to accompany a roster that otherwise has plenty of talent in all three phases.