The Detroit Lions seem to be stuck with Jared Goff in 2022, to whatever level that is, but is there a realistic way to trade him?
As a practical matter, via a restructuring of his contract when they acquired him, the Detroit Lions are stuck with Jared Goff through the 2022 season. What that looks like over the full season is to be determined, by other moves that may be made to reshape the quarterback depth chart, but Goff will all but certainly be on the Lions’ roster until it becomes easier to move on in 2023.
It’s not totally out of the question for the Lions to move off Goff this offseason. A pre-June 1 cut is a non-starter, with a $30.5 million dead money hit (via Over The Cap). But outside of that there are ways that the dead money isn’t as bad and the path to parting ways is a bit easier.
Michael Ginnitti of Spotrac has put together a list of 15 NFL quarterbacks who are trade candidates this offseason. The big names (Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Carson Wentz, Deshaun Watson, Kirk Cousins, Jimmy Garoppolo) are on the list, as easily expected.
Could the Lions really find a way to trade Jared Goff?
Goff made Ginnitti’s list, and he concisely laid out the scenario.
"Jared Goff, DET, 272022 CAP HIT: $31,150,000With two first round picks, the Lions could be targeting Goff’s replacement in the next few months.Most Likely Scenario:Despite the pending draft selection, Goff sticks as an overpriced Lion for 2022.Slightly Possible:Detroit flips Goff before March 17th (when a $15.5M roster bonus is due), taking on a $15M dead cap hit, freeing up $16.15M. The receiving team takes on 3 years, $78.4M, including a fully guaranteed $26.15M for 2022. The contract would contain no dead cap in 2023 for the new team."
A trade before that March 17 roster bonus comes due (or before June 1, via Over The Cap) would indeed take the dead cap hit down by half as compared to cutting Goff. An acquiring team would take on one year fully guaranteed at $26.15 million, with a clear path (and an even easier path than the Lions would have) to part ways in 2023.
As Ginnitti points to, the most likely scenario is Goff sticks around as an “overpriced Lion” in 2022. But if there’s any will there is a way to trade him, with a clear selling point that a new team would not have to be committed for more than one season.