Lions’ Brad Holmes Gives Final Review of Matthew Stafford Trade

Brad Holmes

Getty Lions general manager Brad Holmes on the field during training camp in 2021.

It’s been a year since the Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Rams revealed they would swap Matthew Stafford, Jared Goff and a pair of first-round picks and a third-round selection.

While many might think the Lions got the short end of the stick thanks to all the winning Stafford has done this season, the team’s brass doesn’t see it that way. That’s especially true in the case of Brad Holmes, the team’s general manager.

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Holmes doesn’t typically speak much, but he joined 97.1 The Ticket for an interview and touched a bit on the specifics of the deal. As he said as recapped by ESPN’s Eric Woodyard, there was another team interested in the Carolina Panthers, but the general manager believes things worked out well for both teams all things considered.

“Lions GM Brad Holmes confirmed to 97.1 The Ticket that Carolina did have interest in Matthew Stafford before the LA trade. “He was very cooperative in the process,” Holmes said of Stafford. Holmes says it worked out for both sides with the Lions getting draft capital,” Holmes said via Woodyards’s tweet.

For the Rams, the stakes the next few weeks might be any higher. After doing a deal like the Stafford trade and mortgaging their future, anything less than a Super Bowl victory would be seen as a major disappointment, especially in the prime of Aaron Donald, Cooper Kupp and company.

The rewards of the deal showed themselves as Goff came into his own on the field late in the year, and might continue to show themselves in the draft. Detroit will control the Rams’ 2022 and 2023 first-round picks, which means a quick shot at reshaping the roster, something Holmes no doubt appreciates.

Multiple Teams Were Involved Within Stafford Trade Talks

As time as gone by, a clearer picture of the trade that sent Stafford out of Detroit has emerged. Multiple teams threw their hats in the ring for a trade, from the Panthers to the Denver Broncos. Whereas Denver quarterback Drew Lock was rumored to be part of the deal earlier, now, reports suggest that the Lions had to fight to have him included. According to Sports Illustrated, the Lions had an offer of the ninth-overall pick as well as a second-round pick for Stafford last year in Denver.

Eventually, the Lions negotiated a deal for Goff and a pair of first-round picks as well as a third-round pick, and the rest is history. It’s clear the Lions wanted to get a quarterback in the mix as part of the deal, and considering what they were giving up, that was good business. Goff is now in the mix for 2022 and beyond, and the team has a pair of first-rounders from the Rams that they weren’t likely to get within any other deal.

Stafford Trade Grades Out as Win-Win for Both Teams

Given the immediate return on investment that Stafford has provided for the Rams, it’s tough to see the deal as a loser on their side. Stafford may well help the team win more playoff games or even the Super Bowl. For the Lions, Goff didn’t have a bad finish to the season, throwing for 11 touchdowns to just 2 interceptions down the stretch for 1,136 yards. There was enough shown later in the year to think Goff can be a fixture at the position moving into 2022. When combining that with the draft pick for both this year and next, the Lions could quickly jump-start a rebuild thanks to this trade, assuming they can maximize the assets properly in the future.

With his comments, Holmes seems to understand that there can be a such thing as a win-win trade in the NFL. It just so happens this deal could represent one.

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Jim Bohnenkamp
Jim Bohnenkamp
1 year ago

It’s premature to weigh this trade. The Lions got several draft picks that have not been chosen yet. Whoever thinks the Lions got the short end of that trade are pessimistic about what the Lions will get in the draft, and we don’t know that.

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