The only constant in life is change. And while that’s true for every NFL team this time of year, it’s especially true for the Detroit Lions.
That change started back in late November. New Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp and team president/CEO, Rod Wood, forced that change by firing general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia. We all knew things were going to be quite different this offseason.
Last month, the Lions found their replacements in Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell. Holmes would assume the role of general manager after years spent being the director of college scouting for the Los Angeles Rams. While Campbell became the team’s new head coach after spending the past five years as the assistant to head coach Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints.
With a new regime in place, the first order of business was to determine the future of their longtime quarterback, Matthew Stafford. The soon-to-be 33-year old had reportedly requested to be traded following the Lions’ third-straight losing season. Over the weekend, the Detroit brass made that request a reality.
The Lions will send Stafford to the west coast to play for the Rams. And in exchange, the Motor City will receive a bounty of draft picks including first-rounders in 2022 and 2023 plus a third-round selection in the upcoming draft in April.
As another part of the deal, the Lions will get a starting quarterback to replace Stafford under center in Jared Goff. The first overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Goff has helped to lead the Rams to four-straight winning seasons, three playoff wins, and a Super Bowl appearance following the 2018 season.
Despite being a two-time Pro Bowler, the addition of Goff in this trade was initially viewed as being a salary dump by the Rams. That after inking him to a massive four-year, $134 million contract extension following their Super Bowl run in 2019.
But that narrative has started to shift as the idea that the 26-year old Goff is a legitimate candidate to replace Stafford long-term in Detroit is starting to take hold. In fact, the Lions were described by Goff himself as being ‘fired up’ to land him.
Here’s what Goff told the Los Angeles Times about being reinvigorated after being blindsided by the sobering trade and then speaking to the Lions about his future in Detroit …
“ … this is how it’s supposed to feel. This makes me feel great,’ how excited they were, how fired up they were. As time has gone on over the last few days, and even the end of that night, it becomes a positive and you start to feel really good about yourself again. You start to feel, I don’t want to say relief is the word, but you start to feel happy, grateful, ready for a new opportunity.”
As the former director of college scouting for the Los Angeles Rams, new general manager Brad Holmes had a major influence in acquiring Jared Goff back in 2016. And apparently, his belief in Goff’s potential hasn’t changed much over the past five years if Holmes and the Detroit Lions’ new regime see his acquisition as a vital component to their future plans under center.
As of mid-March, when this trade is finalized, Goff is surely the favorite to become the Lions’ starter when the 2021 regular season kicks off. But that narrative could also change quickly if Detroit elects to use their first-round pick in April to select a quarterback.