What the Matthew Stafford Trade Means for the Rest of the NFL

Featured Image Credit: All-Pro Reels from District of Columbia, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Folks, in case you live under a rock, a HUGE blockbuster trade went down last night in the NFL. Matthew Stafford was traded to the Los Angeles Rams for Jared Goff, two first round picks, and a third round pick.

At first glance, it appears that the Lions fleeced the Rams. I mean I for one thought that the Lions would get a first round pick but likely nothing else for Stafford. When there’s a bidding war and roughly seven teams offer deals for Stafford, the cost of acquiring a top ten quarterback like Matthew Stafford is steep.

When you dig deeper into this trade, it’s about more than just Matthew Stafford and Jared Goff. It’s about the fact that in today’s NFL you virtually need an elite quarterback to win championships.

Here’s a list of Super Bowl winners since 2001: Tom Brady (6), Brad Johnson, Ben Roethlisberger (2), Peyton Manning (2), Eli Manning (2), Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Joe Flacco, Russell Wilson, Nick Foles, and Patrick Mahomes.

Everyone on this list except Brad Johnson, Joe Flacco, and Nick Foles will be Hall of Famers. I’d wager that at this point Matthew Stafford is Canton bound as well. Winning a Super Bowl in Los Angeles would absolutely cement his Hall of Fame status.

For the Rams, it would have been easy to justify sticking with a good, not great, quarterback in Jared Goff for the next 7-10 seasons. Goff is a quality starter in this league. But in many ways, quality starters are a dime a dozen in today’s NFL. Especially when you have a system like Sean Mcvay’s.

The Rams realized that in order to win a championship against the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Aaron Rodgers, Deshaun Watson, and dare I still say Tom Brady, you need to have someone better than Jared Goff. You need someone who can carry your franchise, not just someone who can manage a game.

I applaud the guts it took from the Rams to make this deal. A team like the New York Giants would never make this deal. They’d rather be mediocre with a guy like Daniel Jones who doesn’t have elite potential at all because he has integrity and looks like Eli Manning than make a gutsy move to put the team in championship position.

It’s not just the Giants, though. The Raiders have done it with Derek Carr. The Eagles fired their coach because he didn’t want to do it with Carson Wentz. The Vikings are doing it with Kirk Cousins. Jimmy Garoppolo has already cost the 49ers a championship. There will absolutely be more transgressors on this list as time goes on as well because there are a lot of bad organizations in the NFL.

Doubling down on a bad move is the easy way out. It takes real leadership to admit that you made a mistake and get your team out of that mistake regardless of the cost. Imagine where the Cardinals would be right now if they had stuck with Josh Rosen? What if the Washington Football Team decided to trot out Dwayne Haskins for another season because he was a first round pick? The sunk cost fallacy is exactly that: a fallacy.

So when it’s all said and done, only time will tell if the Rams got fleeced. If the Rams win a Super Bowl with Matthew Stafford then nobody will care about those first round picks. If they don’t, it will go down as a colossal mistake that set the franchise back for quite a while. But at the same time, I’d rather have an ultimate high or an ultimate low then be stuck in the middle forever.


  1. Stupid comparison. Rams are ready to win now. A QB is about the only missing piece. They have a two or three year window, which is just about the number of high functioning years Stafford should have left. It’s a perfect match. Giants are still in a rebuild and Stafford MIGHT mean a few more wins next year, though by no means does he make them a contender. After that, with all those high picks gone, it would start to go south again, just as Stafford is ready to quit. Good move for the Rams. Would have been a stupid move for the Giants.

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