On Saturday night, the Detroit Lions made the first NFL blockbuster trade of 2021.
Detroit traded franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for quarterback Jared Goff, a third-round pick in 2021, a first-round pick in 2022 and a first-round pick in 2023.
It didn’t take long for the sports betting futures market to adjust after the news of the trade. LA’s Super Bowl odds for the 2021 season went from +1800 to +1500, while Detroit went from +8000 to being tied with the Houston Texans for the worst odds in the league at +10000.
First major move for new Detroit GM Brad Holmes
Trading Stafford for Goff and three draft picks was the first big transaction from new Lions general manager Brad Holmes, who was hired earlier in January from the Rams. There’s a connection between Holmes and Goff. Holmes was the director of college scouting for the Rams when the team traded up from No. 15 in the 2016 NFL Draft to select Goff with the No. 1 overall pick.
According to ESPN reports, Goff will have a playing future in Detroit, even with the Lions potentially taking a quarterback in the upcoming draft. Goff told ESPN he spoke with Dan Campbell and the new Detroit head coach said Goff will be in the team’s plans going forward.
There were signs at the end of the season that the Lions and the Rams would be seeking new quarterbacks. It was reported that after the Lions’ season ended, Stafford told Detroit team president Rod Wood that a trade may be beneficial for both himself and the organization. Meanwhile, L.A. general manager Les Snead left open the possibility of finding a new quarterback when asked about Goff, saying “anything can be done” in the NFL’s salary cap system.
Stafford leaves his mark
Stafford leaves the Lions as a beloved figure. The fanbase in Michigan regards him as another exceptional talent failed by an incompetent franchise, joining other Detroit greats such as Barry Sanders and Calvin Johnson, who never received the help around them that could have potentially elevated the Lions into a consistent winner.
Owning nearly every Lions’ passing record, Stafford is No. 16 in the league’s passing yards list (45,109) and passing touchdowns (3,898). His career passer rating is 89.9, which is the 21st-best in league history.
The Lions selected Stafford with the No. 1 pick in the 2009 draft. He immediately was named Detroit’s starter and became known for his toughness. Stafford dealt with numerous injuries but managed to record a streak of 136 straight starts during his time at Detroit, which was the sixth-longest starts streak for a quarterback in NFL history.