The 2021 NFL offseason marked the end for a Detroit Lions legend. Quarterback Matthew Stafford was traded to the Los Angeles Rams for two future first round picks, a 2021 third round pick and QB Jared Goff. It felt like a long time coming, but Stafford will play his thirteenth season in a new city and with a new uniform.
Stafford’s legacy with the Lions can’t be understated. He has broken 30 Lions passing records in his time with Detroit. Stafford leads the team in career passing yards (45,109), career passing touchdowns (282), passer rating (99.3) and in career fourth quarter comebacks (31).
Stafford’s time with the Lions will likely be tainet by leading the team to the playoffs only three times and failing to even win a game. However, Stafford has consistently been surrounded by subpar talent and coaching. Even though the Lions haven’t experienced much success during his tenure with the team, he is still arguably one of their best players of all time.
Stafford leaving Detroit after a decade of play in the city isn’t the only thing changing for the franchise. They have a new coaching staff, led by head coach Dan Campbell and offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn. The 2021 season marks a huge transition for the team, which is most likely shifting into rebuilding mode.
Retooling this roster is an excellent idea, especially since the Lions have been disappointing for the past several seasons. The defense is filled with holes, most of the Lion’s pass catchers are heading to the open market and the team is now without their leader.
Enter Goff, who will assume the starting QB position with his absurd four year $134 million contract.
Goff has had a rough past couple of years with the Rams, led by offensive guru Sean McVay. Goff was even benched in the playoffs because the organization thought they had a better chance to win with him off the field. If the Lions think Goff will be more successful in cold weather, with a new head coach and subpar roster in Detroit, they’ll be sadly mistaken.
The biggest part of Detroit’s return in the Stafford trade is obviously the draft picks. The Lions are going to need to bring in several young players over the next few years to build this roster. Two first round picks, even though they’ll be projected in the 20s, should be extremely valuable for the team. If they don’t use their own first this year on a quarterback, they may end up using one in the coming years with their new draft picks.
The Lions are going to have a rough season in 2021. Even with Stafford, Detroit went 5-11 and didn’t look like a playoff team. Even with a new culture after coach Matt Patricia was fired, there’s hardly any scenarios where this team improves.
Goff will lead the offense with new receivers and the defense will still be littered with young draft picks and struggling veterans. It may be rough for the Lions, but it will be a season filled with hope as this new chapter begins for the franchise.
At this point, the Rams won’t own their own draft pick until 2024 after the Stafford trade. While Los Angeles has shown willingness to sell their future for star players now, this trade may be the one that shows up the most in the stat sheets.
With a good defense filled with stars like defensive end Aaron Donald and cornerback Jalen Ramsey, it’s the offense that needed some work. Sliding Stafford into McVay’s playbook paired with an abundance of good receivers should make L.A. a contender to win their division for the next several years. It’s a great place for Stafford to start his post-Lions career.
All in all, the Lions lost their star QB for some good draft picks and one terrible contract. Goff may be average to good for the next few seasons, but he’s not the future of the franchise.
All Lions fans know the hardship of rooting for this team.
Detroit fans hold no ill will towards their franchises stars leaving like running back Barry Sanders, wide receiver Calvin Johnson and now Stafford. Instead of being mad that Stafford wanted out, most people wish him the best and hope he succeeds in California. Whenever Stafford comes back to play in Ford Field, he will surely be celebrated by everyone in attendance.