‘Really Risky Move:’ Former NFL GM Says Matthew Stafford Deal a Gamble

Matthew Stafford

Getty Matthew Stafford chats with Tom Brady before a Lions game in 2020.

The Detroit Lions will reportedly unload quarterback Matthew Stafford for a massive package including Jared Goff and three draft picks, and the decision sent seismic shifts through the NFC over the weekend.

Most figure that the Los Angeles Rams will make out like bandits in the short-term considering the overall talent of Stafford and their chance to pursue a Super Bowl in the days ahead, but not everyone is so sure the ending will be so happy for Los Angeles when all is said and done. There’s also a major inherent risk to dealing a young quarterback as well as a pair of top picks.

Former NFL general manager Mike Tannenbaum appeared on Get Up and was asked about the blockbuster deal. While he admitted to understanding why the Rams made the trade, he said his reservation about the move is due to the fact that the front office is now facing plenty of pressure to nail all of their other decisions and is now operating in a tight window with regards to everything they will do. He also added it was a reckless move to go without multiple first-round picks.

Tannenbaum said:

“They have zero margin for error. It’s reckless and irresponsible to go eight years without a first-round pick. You have great core players, Aaron Donald (and) Jalen Ramsey, but if any of them get hurt, it’s over. I’m not so sure when you look at the skill players from Detroit in 2020 like Kenny Golladay (and) Marvin Jones and going to Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp that it’s even that much better, and then when you layer on top of that you have to keep good young players like Josh Johnson, Troy Hill, Leonard Floyd. You have a very small window with no margin of error. I think this is a really risky move. I don’t know if they’re better than Tampa, I don’t know if they’re better than Green Bay.”

The Rams gave up plenty to get Stafford into the mix, so they will be faced with a tough cap situation as well as a spot in which the team may not be able to keep their young stars or add more to the mix with more savvy trades. Essentially, it’s Stafford-or-bust for the next few seasons in Los Angeles. While the quarterback is talented, Tannenbaum isn’t wrong to present this side of the case and wonder about the future of the Rams.

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Analyst Thinks Rams Made Bad Move With Matthew Stafford Trade

Reactions have been flooding in after the trade was revealed to be agreed upon, and at least one analyst thinks the Lions made out in a big way. Rob Parker of Fox Sports was asked his reaction to the big trade on Twitter, and as he said, he thinks the Lions won the deal hands down.

The reason? Parker doesn’t think Stafford is all that talented, and his numbers are hollow. After the trade was revealed, Parker was shocked that any Rams fans could want Stafford over Goff given what the two have accomplished to this point in their careers.

There’s no question Stafford is a talented player, but his resume does have some holes. Is that more due to Detroit and their organizational dysfunction, or the quarterback himself? That’s been the question that has plagued Lions and their fans for the last few seasons. Some believe Stafford merely pads his stats and cannot win the big game. He’ll have a chance to prove that wrong once and for all in 2021.

Regardless of what’s true, both Goff and Stafford have the chance to re-set their careers at key points. Interestingly enough, they’ll play in 2021, so a small bit of this could be decided at that point in time in terms of who “won” the trade in the end.

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What Makes Matthew Stafford Trade Risky

Stafford is a great talent, and at the age of 32, still young enough to make a big impact on the league moving forward. Even though that’s true, Stafford is also a quarterback coming off a two-year run of serious injuries. Stafford has had broken vertebrae in his back, a hand injury and an ankle injury to deal with in the last few seasons alone. He is durable and has mostly had a clean injury history, but the health question will be huge to watch. Stafford also has notable resume holes, having never won a playoff game nor led the Lions to a division title in 12 seasons. While there’s a temptation to blame Detroit entirely for those problems, some of the blame does also fall to Stafford himself given some of the talented teams he played with. He’ll have a lot to prove with the Rams, and big pressure to win immediately.

Whether Stafford can live up to those expectations or not remains to be seen, but it’s clear many folks around the league are aware of the risk in such a bold move involving so many moving parts.

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