Lions trying to reinforce how they see Jared Goff as their quarterback of the future

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - DECEMBER 11: Jared Goff #16 of the Detroit Lions throws the ball during the third quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field on December 11, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MICHIGAN - DECEMBER 11: Jared Goff #16 of the Detroit Lions throws the ball during the third quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field on December 11, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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In line with being on the run their on lately, the Detroit Lions are making sure everyone knows Jared Goff could be their quarterback of the future.

After the Matthew Stafford trade, there was a sign of how the Detroit Lions felt about Jared Goff. Faced with trying to save some cap space, Goff’s contract was restructured to essentially guarantee he spent two seasons in Detroit.

General manager Brad Holmes, who was the Rams director of college scouting when they drafted Goff in 2016, expressed a sentiment that Goff could be a long-term answer under center for the Lions.

Still, with an easier path to part ways come the offseason, it’s been viewed as a matter of time before Goff is gone.

The Lions have won five of their last six games to throw themselves right into the mix for an NFC Wild Card spot. Goff has played great over that stretch.

Before Sunday’s game, when Goff went 27-for-39 for 330 yards with three touchdowns and a 120.7 passer rating, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network had a report about the Lions and their current signal caller.

"As sources have explained, Goff is believed to be their starting QB. Period. Not just until someone else comes along. With all due respect to the unknown — weird things happen in the NFL — the plan is for Goff to be in Detroit for the future."

Goff has been mostly pretty good this season, shy of a couple rough games and some plays he has fallen short on, and he said he feels like he’s playing the best football of his career last week.

Do the Lions really see Jared Goff as their long-term quarterback?

These Sunday morning “splash” reports have to be kept in proper context. At times someone has a agenda, they use someone like Rapoport or Adam Schefter to get it out there and the reporter puts it out there without scrutiny to maintain favor with a source.

The facts are this. Goff is playing great right now. He started the season playing well, even as the Lions were losing games. There were a couple rough games against good defenses on the road in between. The defense has held up its end lately, and the Lions are winning games.

But it’s also clear where Goff’s ceiling is. The Rams saw it, realized it and moved on when the timing was right.

Goff may open the 2023 season as the Lions’ starting quarterback, and the odds of that won’t get better than they are right now. It’s also possible he starts every game for the Lions next season.

But the Lions are in line to have a top-five, and probably no worse than a top-10, overall pick in next April’s draft right now via the Rams and the Stafford deal. There will be an opportunity to draft a top-end quarterback prospect, or their own first-round pick could be used on a quarterback. Failing those options, a later pick (they have two 2023 second-round picks too) could be used on a quarterback.

The Lions can (possibly) use a reporter from the league-run media outlet to say they view Goff as their long-term quarterback all they’d like. But they should be closely evaluating quarterbacks for the 2023 draft, and they should draft one they like where it makes sense even if he’d sit behind Goff for a year.

Here’s a prediction. Jared Goff will not be the Lions’ starting quarterback in Week 1 of the 2024 season, at the latest, and with that he’ll be off the roster by then too.

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