Lions Tried to Poach Aaron Donald From Rams in Matthew Stafford Trade

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Matthew Stafford for Aaron Donald—who says no? The Rams, apparently.

The Lions acquired a pair of first-round picks as well as quarterback Jared Goff in the Matthew Stafford trade on Jan. 31, but Detroit's initial offer to the Rams aimed even higher.

Detroit reportedly requested to receive three-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald in exchange for Stafford, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. And while we don't know the exact reaction to Detroit's request, we can assume there was a fair amount of laughter on the other end of the phone. 

All due respect to Stafford, but dealing Donald for the veteran quarterback would have been downright catastrophic for Los Angeles. Donald is widely regarded as the best defensive player in football, with all three of his Defensive Player of the Year awards coming in the last four seasons. The Pittsburgh product finished 2020 with 13.5 sacks and four forced fumbles, notching his fourth straight double-digit sack campaign. The one game the Rams' elite defense faltered, in their playoff loss to the Packers, came as Donald played through a rib injury he suffered the week before. Far from at full strength, Donald needed frequent sideline stints to catch his breath, as his torn rib cartilage made it difficult to breathe in the sub-freezing Green Bay temperatures.

Detroit deserves at least a modicum of mockery for its pursuit of Donald, but ultimately, the Lions took a page out of NFL Negotiating 101: It can't hurt to ask. Perhaps the Eagles or Jets will take a similar tact as they potentially deal their respective starting quarterbacks in the coming weeks.

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