When former Cal quarterback Jared Goff was traded to the Detroit Lions as part of a package that brought Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams, the general assessment of the deal went something like this:
The Rams unloaded Goff, a player Rams coach Sean McVay had lost confidence in, and acquired a quarterback who could make McVay’s offensive vision work, while the Lions, who are starting over with a new coach, obtained a stop-gap quarterback who would be replaced with a long-term quarterback solution in due time.
Recent stories have focused on how pleased McVay is with Stafford’s progress in the Rams system, with little attention being paid to Goff and the Lions.
But a rather innocuous comment made by Lions general manager Brad Holmes on DetroitLions.com may cause us to rethink things.
“I never viewed him as a bridge option,” Holmes said on the site, “He’s been a winning quarterback. I think his resume speaks for itself.”
Granted, Holmes may only be saying what he needs to say, given that Goff will be his starting quarterback in 2021. But Holmes’ actions seem to back up his claim.
Highly rated quarterback prospects Justin Fields and Mac Jones were still available when the Lions made the No. 7 pick in the NFL draft, and the Lions opted for offensive tackle Penei Sewell, someone who can protect Goff.
The Lions did not pick a quarterback with any of their seven draft picks, but they did acquire a weapon for Goff in the fourth round, when they drafted wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown out of USC.
However, the addition of St. Brown will not offset the loss of the Lions’ two best receivers of 2020 – Kenny Golladay (now with the New York Giants) and former Cal standout Marvin Jones Jr. (now with the Jacksonville Jaguars).
Stafford will have better receiving weapons at his disposal than Goff, but let’s make an objective comparison of Stafford and Goff. As Holmes' suggests, Goff's resume speaks for itself.
---Stafford is 33 years old; Goff is 26.
---Stafford has a career passer rating of 89.9; Goff has a career passer rating of 91.5
---Stafford has been named to the Pro Bowl once in his 12 NFL seasons; Goff has been named to the Pro Bowl twice in his five NFL seasons.
---Stafford has a career record of 74-90-1 as a starter and had a losing record in each of his past three seasons; Goff has a career record of 42-27 as a starter and had a winning record each of his past four seasons.
---Stafford has started three postseason games and is 0-3; Goff has started six postseason games and has a 3-3 record, not including last season’s postseason victory over Seattle when he played virtually the entire game.
---Stafford has never gotten his team past the first round of the playoffs; Goff took his team to the Super Bowl in the 2018 season.
Admittedly Goff has regressed the past two years after looking like a star the two prior seasons, but the Lions went 5-11 under Stafford last season.
Maybe, just maybe, Goff will flourish under new Lions head coach Dan Campbell and offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn and behind an offensive line that appears to be solid.
And don't forget, the Lions also received the Rams’ third-round draft pick in 2021 and the Rams’ first-round draft picks in both 2022 and 2023 as part of the deal that sent Stafford to Los Angeles.
Maybe the Rams did get the better end of the deal, as nearly everyone suggests, but maybe we shouldn’t make a snap judgment about Goff and his future in Detroit.
Cover photo of Jared Goff by Junfu Han via Imagn Content Services, LLC
Follow Jake Curtis of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jakecurtis53
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