Loser: Los Angeles Rams
Maybe it’s harsh to say the Rams ‘lost’ in this trade, but at the very least, they are taking a much bigger risk, with potentially less to gain as well. L.A. clearly gave up more assets in this deal, with the subtext being that they’re going for broke this year and next.
All things considered, it wouldn’t have been absurd to float the idea of a straight-up Goff-for-Stafford trade, no picks attached. After all, Goff is much younger and healthier, has both more individual accolades and team success, and the two have similar contracts. Not to mention that the Rams went to the Super Bowl with him just two years ago.
For one comparison point, imagine if the Lions had given up on Stafford after the 2013 season (admittedly, he was awful down the stretch that year) and traded him for Carson Palmer. That’s pretty much what the Rams just did. Plus two first-round picks.
I’m not saying it won’t work out, but it’s a massive gamble to assume the 26-year-old’s best football is already behind him, and the battered 33-year-old’s is still ahead. Again, it’s harsh to say that they ‘lost’, but the Rams have very little margin for error now, not only this year but in a future where they seem to be allergic to first-round picks.
Winners: T.J. Hockenson and Kenny Golladay (?)
The Lions’ passing game was undoubtedly a huge question mark going into the offseason, even before Stafford’s trade request became known. They’re looking at a massive overhaul in the receiver’s room, with Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola assumed to be departing, plus Kenny Golladay’s future with the team up in the air.
After a breakout second season that ended with a Pro Bowl selection, even bigger things would be expected from T.J. Hockenson in 2021 considering the possible holes elsewhere on offense. Now with a capable passer secured, any concern about Hock going to waste with a rookie or third-tier journeyman taking snaps can be put to rest. The same goes for Golladay (if he stays).