Jared Goff trade a low-risk, high-reward move by Detroit Lions
Perhaps more of a throw-in by the Rams, Jared Goff's move to Detroit could be a coup
The Matthew Stafford era in Detroit will come to an end once the NFL season calendar flips to a new year.
While technically his move to the Los Angeles Rams could be torpedoed before becoming ratified by the league, it appears set in stone that the Detroit Lions will be receiving two future first-round selections, a third-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft and quarterback Jared Goff and his contract in exchange for Stafford.
Moving on from Stafford has clearly signaled that the Lions are ready to embrace a change that should’ve happened during the waning years of Matt Patricia: A rebuild, a re-tool.
Whatever you want to call it, changes need to be made and appear to be well underway in Allen Park.
While Goff’s colossal contract could be seen as second fiddle to the future draft capital new general manager Brad Holmes received from his former co-workers, there’s a possibility that Goff’s addition to the franchise could be seen as a low-risk maneuver as the franchise goes through the growing pains of a first-year head coach and general manager combination.
Yes, the cap ramifications are quite large for a 20-13 touchdown to interception ratio quarterback last season. Goff will create a $27.8 million cap hit for the Lions in the 2021 season.
However, unless the Lions are enamored with a quarterback in the 2021 draft, you at least have a seasoned veteran at quarterback that could be considered a bridge until you find your future franchise quarterback as the rebuild gathers steam.
Looking at the combination of Goff and future capital, the trade with the Rams is truly a low-risk, high-reward move for Holmes. With Stafford, you have an inflated contract and a franchise that hasn’t won a game of substance in years.
Without Stafford, you have an inflated contract in Goff and extra draft capital that can be used to supplement the squad. Of course, the onus is for the general manager and scouting department to make the most out of the extra draft picks, something no one in Allen Park has done in decades. Yes, it’s easier to make the most out of a no-brainer pick in Ndamukong Suh and Calvin Johnson compared to diving deeper into the draft to find gems.
However, Goff has the possibility of giving you at least two years of balanced quarterback play until the franchise figures out what to do.
Let’s say the Lions take a quarterback in the 2021 draft. Goff’s contract becomes cuttable in 2023. This means that the Lions could save $25 million in cap space with $0 of dead cap if they decide to move on. If the franchise decided to move on before that, it would create $43 million in dead cap against the salary cap. A move that simply doesn’t make sense from all aspects.
If Goff can be somewhat serviceable and you’re able to give a young quarterback plenty of time to develop on a schedule, it allows the franchise to round out the roster with other players that can be built around a veteran and an up and coming rookie.
A lot can happen in two years and it’s clear that the Lions are nowhere close to competing in the division, let alone on a league-wide scale.
However, bringing in Goff for at least two years is a risk that Holmes deemed worth taking as the reward could be high.
The onus now is on drafting players that fit. Something the Lions front office has been missing.
With cuts and more trades undoubtedly to be made, a competent veteran in Goff could be what Dan Campbell needs to give the fanbase some faith and patience that the rebuild is worth the risk.