Trades have the chance to alter NFL history for better or worse, and in the case of the Detroit Lions, their biggest trade may end up benefitting them in a major way.
When the Lions dealt away quarterback Matthew Stafford for Jared Goff, two first-round picks and a third-round pick, the move was very earth-shattering across the league. Many weren’t sure if it would benefit the Lions to ditch a mainstay like Stafford for a player perceived damaged goods in Goff, even if they were getting picks.
When the Lions finished 3-13-1 in 2021 while the Los Angeles Rams won the Super Bowl, few people would have thought that the Lions may be the long-term winner of the deal. Pro Football Talk Analyst Michael David Smith, however, thinks the tide may have turned in relation to that.
As Smith tweeted, even though the trade was an instant win for Los Angeles, he thinks the deal the Rams made was a fundamentally bad one for them, while the Lions be winners now and into the future.
“Jared Goff is a better QB than Matthew Stafford right now, younger, healthier, cheaper, and the Lions will get a Top 5 pick from the Rams in the 2023 draft. The Rams winning the Super Bowl was an all-time example of the results working out on a fundamentally bad trade,” Smith tweeted.
Short-term, the deal may have worked for the Rams. They went all-in and won a Super Bowl, which was the goal. Sustaining success, however, may be tough for Los Angeles given Stafford’s injury history, age and the fact that they have sold off plenty of draft picks.
In time, the Lions may look like the biggest winners of the trade, especially if they get a top 10 pick from the Rams while Goff manages to turn things around and keep playing at a high level.
Few folks would have believed either of those things would be possible to happen, but it looks as if that it could be the case, meaning the deal could turn around in a big way in Detroit’s favor well into the future.
Chris Simms: Pump Breaks on Goff vs. Stafford
While some think that the Lions have a major advantage in the trade thanks to the play of Goff and the way Stafford took a nosedive in 2022, another analyst is pumping the breaks on any notion Goff is better overall.
As former NFL quarterback Chris Simms said, he enjoys what Goff is doing and he is playing his way perhaps into a longer role in Detroit. Still, he is not better than Stafford.
“Jared Goff is having his best season and I think he’s giving the Lions a real decision to make regarding next year. But let’s stop the nonsense that he’s a better QB than Matthew Stafford. Just stop,” Simms tweeted.
Lions Could Use Trade as Springboard for Rebuild
Already, it seems as if the team is in great shape to turn their fortunes around given the fact that they have enjoyed awesome results from the 2022 draft as well as solid play from the 2021 draft as well.
If both of those drafts are the bedrock, it’s possible that the Lions could use the 2023 draft as a way to get even better in terms of finding more elite playmakers to give the team major depth.
Should the Lions turn things into a dynasty themselves, it could be in large part due to the fact that this deal allowed them to not only have a player like Goff in the mix, but plenty of draft capital to work with as well.
As the years go by, the Lions may look like the biggest winners of the trade overall. To some, that’s already looking like the case.