Matthew Stafford-Jared Goff trade details: Breaking down players involved in Lions-Rams blockbuster

Seven years apart, the expectations were the same: Lead the franchise to glory.

In 2009, the Lions selected Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford first overall. In ’16, the Rams took Cal quarterback Jared Goff with the first pick.

Each had their successes with their respective franchises. Stafford passed for at least 4,000 yards in seven straight seasons. He led the team to winning seasons in four of his 12 years with the Lions. Detroit never found postseason success with Stafford, but it was not for a lack of performance on his part.

Goff was a bit of the opposite. The Rams found consistent success with him at the helm, including winning the NFC in 2018. However, Goff struggled to be the carrying force for the Rams, throwing for 42 touchdowns to 29 interceptions over his final two years in Los Angeles.

Stafford was ready to compete outside Detroit. The Rams were ready for a new quarterback. So, before the 2020 season, a trade of the two franchise QBs took place.

Matthew Stafford-Jared Goff trade details

  • Lions receive: QB Jared Goff, 2022 first-round pick, 2023 first-round, 2021 third-round pick
  • Rams receive: QB Matthew Stafford

Before the start of the season, Stafford reportedly wanted a trade out of Detroit. He reportedly approached the Lions after the 2020 campaign, and both sides expressed interest in partying ways.

There were many potential suitors. Philip Rivers retired, leaving the Colts without an option. Cam Newton struggled in the first year of the Patriots’ efforts to move on from Tom Brady. The Panthers had no clear quarterback.

Stafford, armed with a no-trade clause, nixed trade options to New England and Carolina, as he looked to land on a team he believed was ready to contend. The Rams topped his list, and the 49ers came in second. 

It did not take long before the Rams entered the mix. After just a week, the two teams had lined up a deal. 

Stafford-Goff trade aftermath

It’s safe to say the deal has worked out for both sides. In Stafford’s first year with the Rams, he led Los Angeles to a Super Bowl victory over the Bengals, passing for 4,886 yards and 41 touchdowns in the campaign.

Stafford battled injuries in 2022 amid a Rams’ regression, but Los Angeles is back to the postseason in 2023. Stafford has put together another standout season, throwing for 3,965 yards with 24 touchdowns and 11 INTs in 15 games.

Goff has begun to live up to the expectations placed on him when he was first selected by the Rams. The Lions struggled in 2021 but have grown around Goff and become a force in the NFC. In ’22, he completed 65.1 percent of his passes for 4,438 yards, 29 touchdowns, and only seven picks as the Lions went 9-8.

In 2023, the Lions have reached new heights, winning the NFC North and going 12-5 overall. Goff completed 67.3 percent of his passes for 4,575 yards, 30 touchdowns, and 12 picks.

As for the draft picks, Detroit only wound up using one of the 2021 third-round picks. They took Syracuse cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu, who saw his most extensive playing time in 2023 when he played 399 snaps on defense and intercepted two passes.

The other two picks were used in trades. The Lions traded the 2022 first-round pick to trade up in a pick swap with the Vikings, sending the ’22 first, ’22 second, and ’22 third for the 12th overall pick in the draft and the Vikings’ ’22 second. Detroit used that 12th overall pick on Jameson Williams and used the second-round pick on Kentucky EDGE Josh Paschal. Minnesota used the Rams’ first-round pick on Georgia safety Lewis Cine.

The Lions also traded the 2023 first-round pick and a ’23 third to the Cardinals, who selected Ohio State offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr. sixth overall. The Lions acquired Arizona’s first-, second-, and fifth-round picks in the ’23 draft. Detroit used the first on Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs and the second on Iowa tight end Sam LaPorta.

Detroit then traded the Cardinals’ fifth-round pick back to Arizona in a deal including Detroit’s own fifth-round pick and a fourth-round pick in exchange for the Cardinals’ third-round pick, which Detroit used on defensive tackle Brodric Martin.

Looking directly at the picks the Rams gave up, they were used on Melifonwu, Cine, and Johnson. The Lions used the picks to wind up bolstering its young core by landing Williams, Gibbs, and LaPorta, all standouts now in a dynamic Detroit offense with a bright future.

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