New England Patriots

Dec 2, 2018; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) prepares to throw the ball during the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

By Alex Barth,

As quickly as he got onto the market, Matthew Stafford is off the board. As first reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Lions have traded the 2009 first-overall pick to the Los Angeles Rams for two first-round picks, a third-round pick, and 2016’s top overall pick Jared Goff.

It will take a few years for this trade to potentially pay dividends for Detroit. First, they now absorb Jared Goff’s four-year, $134 million contract. He’ll have cap hits of $34.6 million in 2021 and $32.3 million in 2022. Even after the 2022 out in the deal, he’d have a dead cap of $8 million.

On top of that, neither of the first-round picks will come in this draft. The Rams already traded their 2021 first for Jalen Ramsey, meaning the picks likely don’t convey until 2022 and 2023. Their own pick is seventh overall this year though, so they could still end up taking a quarterback to push Goff for the starting job.

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Meanwhile, the Rams add a top-10 quarterback to an offense that has been one of the best in the league since Sean McVay became head coach in 2016. The 32-year-old Stafford is under contract for two more years, giving the Rams some time to work him into the system.

Giving up two first-round picks is nothing new for McVay’s Rams. The team hasn’t made a first-round selection since taking Goff at the top in 2016. Their 2017 pick was used to move up for Goff, 2018 was sent to New England for Brandin Cooks, they traded down and acquired picks in 2019, and the 2020 pick was included in the Ramsey trade.

Stafford is hardly the biggest QB prize of this offseason – Deshaun Watson’s future is still totally up in the air. But he’s a big domino to fall, and should get what is expected to be a generational quarterback carousel moving.

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Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at