Matthew Stafford: A price too high?

Zane Turner, Volunteer Writer

On Jan. 31, the Detroit Lions traded quarterback Matthew Stafford for Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff.  

This trade may have come as a surprise to some, but expected to most National Football League (NFL) fans. The L.A. Rams have been looking for an offensive spark  since Jared Goff has been steadily declining after his Super Bowl LIII debut, where the Rams lost in a decisive game against the reigning champions, The New England Patriots.

However, one of these quarterbacks has always stood out, but has never been given the opportunity at real success despite his team. That quarterback is Matthew Stafford. 

Stafford has been with Detroit for over 10 years, but the franchise decided to trade him and get a 2021 third round pick, a 2022 first round pick, a 2023 first round pick, as well as Pro-Bowler Jared Goff.

Stafford no doubt has the ability to take the Rams far with his incredible arm and undefinable will, but some fans may doubt his ability to truly carry the team on his back.  

The one problem that has plagued Stafford’s career has been his health. He has separated his shoulder four separate times since he has made his debut in the league and had a back tailbone fracture that sidelined him from last season.  

With an impressive wide receiver cast of Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods and Van Jefferson, Stafford has weapons to outscore other teams around the league.  In addition to the them having great offense, the Rams destructive defense is always threatening to make an impact. With the two-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald, they are no doubt bound to make a splash in the NFC West.  Even Stafford himself has been on a resurgence after bolstering more than 1,500 yards in the 2020 season compared to his 2019 season.  With the addition of the new field general, the Rams will no doubt have an experimental year next year.  

With super teams like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Kansas City Chiefs there will have to be more pieces moved around to contend for a Superbowl.  So, the question is: did the Rams give up too much for an unproven quarterback?  

I don’t think so. Stafford is older than Goff and in the prime of his career, while Goff has been putting up great numbers but his passes are not finding the touchdown enough.  

According to StatHead, Goff had 10 less touchdowns in 2019 opposed to his breakout 2018 season, and has continued declining. Sean McVay, the Ram’s head coach, is not known for rebuilding. He does not have the patience to wait out a quarterback.  

As a result of this, the two-time Probowler Jared Goff has been sent to the under 0.500 Detroit Lions.  The Detroit Lions have been struggling on every front sporadically breaching over 0.500 five times over the past decade and have not made the Conference Finals since 1991.  

Goff will no doubt have to pull the Lions out of the foreseeable gutter, but with the help of Cornerback Jeff Okudah, and Wide Receiver Kenny Golladay many have faith in Goff and their new head coach Dan Campbell.  

Some fans may blame Goff’s decline on the departure of Superstar Running Back Todd Gurley and Wide Receiver Brandin Cooks; however, Goff was not playing well with them before this.  There is no obvious reason for the decline in Goff’s game. Perhaps ,a new team and system will reawaken his Superstar spark that he had in 2018.  

The young quarterback has plenty of his career left, but his failure in Los Angeles will undoubtedly be a stain on his resume. 

The Detroit Lions will have to be a resurgence mission for him. He will have to prove himself to the league to be viewed as one of the League’s top Quarterbacks.  As Superstar heavy as the League already is, something major will have to happen in Detroit, whether it is Goff having a better year or the Lions above 0.500 the team’s patience for Goff will no doubt be short.  

Overall, I believe the Rams got the better deal here. Matthew Stafford is almost guaranteed to play well for the Rams.  The Detroit Lions got a quarterback who has shown tremendous potential, but it is all up to the new Head Coach Dan Campbell to unlock it once again. Either way,  I  believe this was a good career option for both quarterbacks.  Both teams came out on top.