DTR Rapid Reactions: Downtown Rams Staff Reacts to the Stafford Trade

by Blaine Grisak
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The Los Angeles Rams shocked the NFL when they sent Jared Goff in a package with two first round picks to the Detroit Lions in exchange for Matthew Stafford. Does this make the Rams better? Was the package too much? The Downtown Rams staff reacts:

Blaine Grisak:

I absolutely love this trade. I’m not sure I could have gone through another season with Jared Goff as the quarterback of the Los Angeles Rams after the last two years. What Goff did with the Rams in 2017 and 2018 was special and there are moments that I will never forget. However, he hasn’t been that quarterback in two years.

Last season, the Rams had a top-10 offensive line, a top-10 running game, had a top-10 wide receiver duo in Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods, had a top-5 head coach, and the number one defense. With Goff at the helm, the Rams were still fighting for a playoff spot on the final day of the regular season.

These are things that Stafford has never had. His most productive running back has been Reggie Bush. The last time he had a top-10 defense, the Lions went 11-5. Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones aren’t Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods. Matt Patricia isn’t anywhere in the same stratosphere as McVay in terms of being a head coach.

The Rams have a lot tied to this trade. Unless this team makes the NFC Championship game, this trade will be deemed a failure. By trading away Goff who they signed to a $100M contract a little less than two years ago, and trading away the future for Stafford, McVay and Snead have tied their jobs to this trade. It’s championship or bust.

Jake Ellenbogen: 

When you look at the fact the Rams won in spite of Jared Goff and you watch Stafford with the Lions constantly trying to put the team on his back, it becomes very evident he would thrive on any team where he doesn’t have to be the only guy.

The Rams probably would have been fine with Jared Goff. However, the Rams were tired of runner up, third place, fourth place and ultimately when this market started to heat up with QB talent they decided to explore it as any good organization should.

It’s a sad end to the Jared Goff era but, Goff’s ascension in 2018 coming to an abrupt halt the rest of the way was sadder. Now, the Rams are getting a QB that does the little things and does them all very well. There’s hardly a hole in Stafford’s game as he’s someone that can work off-script, change arm angles without sacrificing accuracy or velocity, throw the deep ball (which is something that has disappeared from the Rams offense) among many other things.

Stafford has been waiting for this moment. He truly wanted to bring a title to Detroit but this is for the best. Now, a QB that’s only had 11 games in his career with 100-yard rusher and a guy that’s only had a top 10 defense just once in his career goes to a team that has a star running back in Cam Akers and is coming off a season with the number one defense.

The only thing that can stop this perfect situation from leading to a Lombardi is the injury bug. If the Rams do keep Stafford upright I suspect Stafford is the 2021 NFL MVP and the Rams are holding up the Lombardi in 2022. 

Brent Lancaster: 

Well, that was something! The Rams were clearly disenfranchised with their once franchise QB Jared Goff, as evidenced by how McVay 1) moved on to backup John Wolford as his starter in a key Wild Card game and 2) indicated there would be a competition for the QB1 job. Yes, Goff was still reeling from the thumb injury but to still have him active as the backup the Wild Card game (and not Blake Bortles) screamed “something is not right in this marriage”.

Well, now we wish Goff the best of luck in Detroit and welcome the perennially underrated Matthew Stafford as the new QB1.Stafford of course has “all the tools” and he “can make all the throws”, but he also has a decade plus of experience reading defenses, calling his own protections, and making throws under duress (a play is rarely over, as evidenced by only 7 throwaways in 2020). His processing is also very solid (a requirement for McVay), and he is able reset/throw with accuracy and power from any platform and arm angle.

If you watch some of his highlights, it’s fun to see him doing Mahomes things before it was a thing. Is he light years better than Goff? Time will tell as he gets a chance to prove himself in McVay’s offense, but he is definitely more of a playmaker/sandlot QB when things break down.

Stafford has played under defensive-oriented head coaches (typically more conservative on offense) for much of his career, so I’m sure he’s curious to see what McVay and O’Connell have up their sleeves.I’m happy for Goff, in that he’ll go to a team that seems to really want him and value him, and I’m excited to see if this Rams offense can finally return to form with a dynamic playmaker at QB. Speaking of dynamic playmakers, the Rams are missing a key downfield threat, although I hear Marvin Jones is interested…

Hunter Sanders: 

I love this trade for the Rams. The value of those picks likely won’t be very high, assuming the Rams are winning and playing playoff football over the next 2 years. Stafford is a huge upgrade over Goff, going from below average to top 10 at the most important position on the team. McVay has put up a winning record every year with Goff, but with Stafford I think the ceiling is being a legit Super Bowl contender as long as he’s around. As long as Stafford stays healthy, I don’t see how the Rams win less than 12 games in 2021.

Jason Tyra:

Think it’s a huge upgrade. Not only in terms of talent but the synergy that will be between Stafford and McVay will be on display.  Stafford will do what Goff seemed not able to and that will be a leader and commander of the offense. Lastly the first round picks are steep but unlike a Watson trade we are keeping all but one of the 3rd rnd picks so can still get quality players to fill voids left by FA and strengthen other positions.

Jordan Hughes: 

Matthew Stafford is now a Ram. For better or worse he is our quarterback moving forward for the 2021 season. I for one, am ecstatic that Snead and company got their guy. However, while the fanboy in me is happy, I know there are three major parts to having Stafford: The Good, The Bad, and The Unknown.

Stafford has shown that he has the talent and makings of being a great quarterback and that was with a poor supporting cast around him. Going purely off of statistics, Stafford is a major upgrade over Goff, from passing yard, turnovers, big throws, etc. The next positive is that the Rams will not be dealing with Jared Goff’s contract anymore. This opens the door to re-signing a Darius Williams, Leonard Floyd, or John Johnson.

There are negatives to this trade of course, after taking a step back from my excitement I could see these. The first is that while Goff was very inconsistent, he did win the Rams over 40 games and took the Rams to a Super Bowl. That is something Stafford has yet to accomplish. Another negative is that while Stafford is only 32, the older he gets, the more likely him being injury prone can make it harder for his comeback. Now I do not see this as a negative but losing two more first round picks and a third rounder is a brutal hit if you are wanting the Rams to keep building with young talent in the future.

Finally, the unknown of this trade. How will Stafford work in McVay’s system? What happens if this turns out to be a bust for the Rams? Sean McVay wanted Stafford, convinced the Rams it was the right move, and is sticking his neck out for this trade.  I don’t know if Stafford will take us to the Promise Land, but I’m excited for one hell of an offseason and to see Stafford running this offense.

Skyler Carlin: 

The move to land Matthew Stafford proved that the Los Angeles Rams felt like they had already hit their ceiling with Jared Goff. Getting Stafford gives the Rams a chance to maximize their window to win a Super Bowl in the next couple of seasons while giving them an obvious upgrade under center.

Stafford should fit perfectly in Sean McVay’s offense, which is likely why Les Snead pulled the trigger on the deal. Having a QB that isn’t shy of taking deep shots — along with the ability to hit the crossers that McVay has made a living off of — should elevate the offense further.

Barring injury, it’s hard to think that the Rams won’t be contenders for years to come with Stafford at the helm. But in the chance that Los Angeles does fail to live up to expectations, the decision to part ways with multiple 1st round picks could come back to bite them.

CJ Barber:

What this trade truly told me was the Rams were hyperaware of Jared Goff’s decline, and thus his decline in value relative to his contract. One of an organizations most critical mistakes it can make, especially in professional sports, can come in the form of a sunk cost fallacy (the idea that an organization should continue with a project just because they have already invested significant time or money into it). The Rams, who have debatably fallen into that faulty set of thinking at the QB position before, have gotten out of dodge this time before it was too late. 

While many will point out the obvious that we are giving up more to get a 32-year-old quarterback than we did to get Jalen Ramsey, I think it is important to stress the value of the position the Rams have traded for. It was pretty clear to most Rams fans and those following the NFL, that the Rams were an above average quarterback away from 12-4 and another NFC Championship. In my opinion, Mathew Stafford is at MINIMUM just that. However, we didn’t just upgrade the QB position, we upgraded our cap situation in the process while truly allowing Sean McVay to open up the playbook next season. 

There isn’t all good news here for Rams fans though. Right or wrong, if this trade goes poorly for the Rams, and that’s surely possible, both Les Snead and Sean McVay’s jobs could be on the line. If that were the case and the Rams were to lose, say, Sean McVay, I believe it would set the Rams back about a decade with the draft capital they have given up. 


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