Lions Made Surprising Request Within Matthew Stafford Trade Talks

Matthew Stafford

Getty Matthew Stafford warming up before a 2022 game.

The Detroit Lions pulled off one of the biggest trades in football a few years back when they shipped off Matthew Stafford for Jared Goff and some draft picks, but they wanted even more.

While that deal has been seen as solid for both sides, the Lions also tried for a much bigger return in the end. Arguably, the Los Angeles Rams‘ best player is defensive tackle Aaron Donald. Detroit, apparently, tried to land him in the Stafford trade initially.

This revelation was revealed by Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports. Robinson recently went on the You Pod to Win the Game podcast and was talking about some of the inner-workings of the deal.

As he said, the team was comparing deals with other franchises and decided to make the bold request from Los Angeles.

“The Lions and Rams had already had talks about Stafford. They were a little crazy because initially Detroit was like ‘well, can we get Aaron Donald in this deal?’ and the Rams were like ‘yeah no. That’s definitely not going to happen,’” Robinson said on the podcast.

Instead, the Lions ended up at Goff, a pair of first-round draft picks and a third-round draft pick. That was pretty good value for Stafford in the end, and the Lions are still reaping the benefits given Goff’s solid play as well as the potential for wideout Jameson Williams to play a starring role when he comes back. Detroit also has the 2023 Los Angeles pick at their disposal, which could end up being excellent if the Rams continue to struggle.

Add it up and the Lions made out just fine, but give Brad Holmes credit for really trying to fleece his protege Les Snead. Of course Snead wasn’t going to have it, but it never hurts to ask.

Lions Received Solid Package for Stafford

While some folks might be frustrated with not landing a player like Donald, the reality is, the team was never going to get a generational talent such as him in a trade like this.

The Rams wanted to keep their defense intact, and managed to do so. It was a good decision for them, because without Donald, the Rams probably don’t win the Super Bowl last year. He was a first-team All Pro in 2021, and put up a gaudy 84 tackles, 12.5 sacks and four forced fumbles.

Detroit didn’t do poorly in the Stafford deal. Goff is playing at a phenomenal clip thus far this season, and is leading a Detroit offense which is in the top 10 of the league this year. Once Williams comes back at wideout, the offense could get even more dangerous.

This coming season, if the Rams fall apart more, the Lions could end up with a high draft pick to do some damage for their rebuild. That would be very advantageous if it plays out that way.

Lions Fans Have Craved Donald for Years

Had the deal went through, it would have represented a major win for hungry Lions fans given their desire for a much better defense. Donald has long been an object of the team’s obsession through the years.

During the 2014 NFL draft, many Lions fans wanted the team to draft Donald to boost their defense. Instead, the Lions went with tight end Eric Ebron, who was a bust with the team and hasn’t played in the NFL consistently enough through the years.

Many Lions fans felt as if passing on Donald was a big miss, and to a needy Detroit defensive line, it’s represented that through the years, which means many think that the team has failed greatly without Donald.

Though it didn’t happen, many fans will likely be thrilled to know the Lions at least asked.

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