Now that the Detroit Lions return is complete, it’s time to fully review the Matthew Stafford.
Entering into another rebuild with a new general manager and head coach for the Detroit Lions in 2021, Matthew Stafford understandably wanted to be traded to a contender as his career winds down.
That wish was amicably granted. Stafford picked his destination (the Los Angeles Rams), and a deal that brought back Jared Goff and three draft picks (two first-rounders) was completed.
The Rams got what they were seeking from the trade, winning the Super Bowl in Stafford’s first season with them. Even though last season was rough and the path back to serious contention looks difficult, they’ll always have that Super Bowl trophy to mark the deal as a win.
As for the Lions, it was going to take a little bit longer for a fuller review of the Stafford trade and truly, there’s still some things to be determined–good or bad. Those two first-round picks were 2022 and 2023, after all.
A full(er) review of the Matthew Stafford trade return for the Detroit Lions
The first draft pick from the Stafford trade, third round in 2021, became cornerback (and now safety) Ifeatu Melifonwu. Through two seasons, with injuries and a position switch in the mix, he’s still trying to find his way.
The Lions got the Rams 2022 first-round pick in the trade, No. 32 overall. They traded up with the Minnesota Vikings to No. 12 overall to get wide receiver Jameson Williams. That deal with the Vikings also got them the 46th overall pick (defensive end Josh Paschal), while they gave up pick No. 32 (safety Lewis Cine), pick No. 34 (traded by Minnesota to the Packers, became wide receiver Christian Watson) and pick No. 66 (linebacker Brian Asamoah).
In possession of the Rams’ 2023 first-round pick, No. 6 overall, the Lions traded down to No. 12 with the Arizona Cardinals and took running back Jahmyr Gibbs. Part of that return was pick No. 34 (Sam LaPorta) and pick No. 168 (used to trade up with the Cardinals to take defensive tackle Brodric Martin at pick No. 96). The Lions also gave up pick No. 81, which Arizona subsequently traded to the Tennessee Titans and became running back Tyjae Spears.
So in summary, here’s what the Lions return is from the Stafford trade and all the following wheeling and dealing with the picks they got.
Jared Goff, Ifeatu Melifonwu, Jameson Williams, Josh Paschal, Jahmyr Gibbs, Sam LaPorta Brodric Martin
Williams and Paschal both lost a piece of their rookie seasons to an injury recovery, and of course Williams is now suspended for the first six games of the 2023 season. Gibbs and LaPorta are in line for prominent roles as rookies, while Martin could step right into a rotational role at nose tackle.
So there’s a lot of unknown, but at least there are names and actual bodies attached to the entire return from the Stafford trade for the Lions. In a broad sense though, young pieces being added on both sides of the ball comes off as win.