After 12 years and only 3 playoff appearances, Matthew Stafford’s tenure as the all-time leading quarterback for the Detroit Lions came to an end last week as the first big “blockbuster” trade of the NFL offseason occurred last Saturday. Detroit will send it’s franchise leader in passing yards, passing touchdowns, passing completions, and passer rating to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for Rams’ quarterback Jared Goff and a treasure trove of draft capital.

The first overall selection in the 2009 draft, Stafford became the face of a rebuilding franchise that set a winless 0-16 record the year before. In only his third season with the team, Stafford led the team to a 10-6 record and a playoff berth, ending a 12-year playoff drought for the franchise. Despite two further appearances, Stafford and the Lions failed to win any playoff games in the quarterback’s time donning the blue and silver. Stafford’s time in Detroit was ultimately marred by inconsistent leadership ( 5 different head coaches in 12 years ) and front office failure to muster a viable offense around the star quarterback.

Stafford now looks to join a Los Angeles Rams team in win-now mode. Two years
removed from a Super Bowl defeat, the LA Rams are making a major quarterback decision to move on from former Pro-Bowler Jared Goff, whose play has fallen dramatically since that 2018-2019 Super Bowl season. By ditching the inconsistent signal-caller, the Rams’ move is widely seen as an upgrade around most league circles.

ESPN analyst Louis Riddick took to Twitter to say, “What the Rams offense is from a philosophical standpoint is exactly what should have been installed for Stafford in Detroit, but never was for some reason. We should see the very best of [Stafford] now.”

Acquiring Stafford did come at a hefty price however, as the Rams sent away their 2022 first round draft pick, their 2023 first round draft pick, and this year’s third round draft pick in the deal. The Rams would be wise to go all-in now as the team lacks first round draft selections for the next three years.

The Rams’ move to add Stafford turns this team into a true contender for the next several years to come. The Rams’ annually top-ranked defense can now be paired with an offense that should finally have some consistency under center. Now, with a real chance to win, the pressure is on for Matt Stafford as he laces up in different colors for the first time in his career.