Detroit Lions: Winners and losers from the Jared Goff trade
Winner: Lions fans
First off, understand what Brad Holmes just pulled off. For one weekend at least, the Lions were the talk of the NFL, and this time it wasn’t in ridicule. This time, a lot of people (me included) are actually impressed with something that Lions management did. Stafford-for-Goff (et al, to be named later) is undoubtedly the biggest trade for the franchise over the last fifty years, maybe even in team history.
When Stafford went down against the Packers two months ago, it looked like a very real possibility that he would miss the rest of the season and then call it quits and retire, with zero in return for the Lions. Instead, the Lions already have their next quarterback, one with multiple Pro Bowls already, and is hopefully just getting started.
Alternatively, Goff could struggle and the Lions still could come out way ahead in the long run just from picks alone. That’s the real beauty of this move: there are multiple ways for it to turn into a successful one down the line for the Lions. Instead of “a first-round pick” as was originally being suggested, Detroit gets two in the pocket (not his year, but be patient) and an immediate third-rounder on top of it. 2021 is still looking like it will be a rough one, but finally, there’s legitimate evidence to believe in a light at the end of the tunnel.
Loser: New England Patriots
If the trade itself made my Saturday night, my Sunday afternoon got a boost from the report that the Patriots were the only team on Stafford’s ‘no trade’ list. The poetic justice couldn’t be better. The Pats were initially thought to be one of the favorites to land Stafford. I guess three years of the ‘Patriot Way’ over Motown was more than enough.
Either that or Stafford saw that Matt Patricia would be there (Belichick hired him back, maybe to park cars or work concessions at Gillette or something) and decided that he needed to be as far away from Foxborough as the geographical limits of the United States would possibly allow.
Winner: Renewed hope for the future
I spent the first month of the offseason lingering very close to hopelessness about the state of the Lions franchise. Sorry to pass on the glass of Kool-Aid, but I’m not excited about the Dan Campbell hiring.
Despite what have been some solid hires in the coordinator and position coach roles, the roster is decimated, and Stafford’s departure had me expecting several doses of 3-14 in the future (that felt weird to type, but there are 17 games now). I still don’t envision 2021 being much to write home about, but for the first time in years, I don’t have to fake being optimistic about the direction that the Lions are moving.
This may still be the winter of our discontent, but after this blockbuster trade, spring may finally be closer than it seems. Either way, I have three Lions winter hats to keep me warm until then.