The Detroit Lions ultimately traded for Jared Goff. Would they have been better off acquiring Teddy Bridgewater?
When the Detroit Lions granted Matthew Stafford his wish and traded him to the Los Angeles Rams last offseason, it was a big story and a big change. For the first time in since 2008, the Lions would have someone other than Stafford as their starting quarterback.
The trade with the Rams netted two first-round draft choices and a third-round pick along with Jared Goff. The rest has been history, and not necessarily in a good way.
Goff has struggled this season. One can fairly say that the wide receiver position hasn’t helped him, but Goff hasn’t helped himself by consistently checking down and not attacking opposing secondaries.
Last week against an injury-depleted Vikings defense, he did throw down the field. The results were much better overall, and the Lions got heir first victory of the season. It was probably the best we’ve seen of Goff, and it also marked his first win in the NFL without Sean McVay as his head coach.
Regardless of how we choose to view this season and Goff’s performance as a whole so far, the Lions are in rebuilding mode. It wasn’t going to be a glorious turnaround out of nowhere. This is a franchise that is talent-depleted and has many needs to be fulfilled before it will be ready to truly challenge for anything meaningful.
That being said, would the Lions have been better off if they traded Stafford to the Carolina Panthers and acquired Teddy Bridgewater? There are reports that say Stafford nixed the deal, but what if it had happened? Would this franchise be any better today?
Would the Lions be better of with Teddy Bridgewater?
From the pure trade standpoint of Detroit receiving a first and fifth-round selection in last year’s draft, it could have been impactful. Along with Penei Sewell, the Lions could still have nabbed Justin Fields, Mac Jones, DeVonta Smith, or Micah Parsons with the Panthers’ eighth overall selection.
But until we see the results of the two first-round picks the Lions received from the Rams, and a bigger dose of Ifeatu Melifonwu–who was selected with the third-round pick from Los Angeles last April, it is very difficult to make a comparison.
It’s all speculation but the one comparison we have the best chance to make now would be whether Bridgewater would have led the Lions to more success this season than Goff has. Even after two down years, coming into this season Goff was generally considered better than Bridgewater.
Yet as the season has worn on, Bridgewater has done more for the Broncos than Goff has for the Lions. Again we need to remember that Bridgewater is working with a talented receiving corps as opposed to Goff, but how Bridgewater plays the position differently.
Bridgewater is more mobile and can make plays with his legs, while Goff tends to scramble into sacks. Bridgewater is also not afraid to attack any level of the field. The Lions’ passing game would be more wide open and defenses would have to play the Lions more honestly. Not that the Lions’ record would be that much better than it currently is.
Not only could Bridgewater possibly have been a bigger factor on the field for the Lions but his contract would only last to the end of this season. Goff’s contract, via a restructuring after acquiring him, practically locks him onto the Lions’ roster in 2022.
Bridgewater may have given the Lions a chance to be more competitive this season. However, he also may have forced the Lions to urgently find a quarterback in the draft next April or to sign him to a multi-year deal. The latter move would not be ideal to build for the future, if only from an upside perspective.