NFL

Rams Trade Away Next Two Years For Stafford And A Super Bowl Shot

The first big trade of the off season in the NFL came at the weekend when the Los Angeles Rams announced a mega-deal to sign the Detroit Lions veteran signal caller Matthew Stafford.

For Rams fans though, the deal comes with a high price and there have been echoes of a similar strategy being adopted by the Rams as was adopted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the last off season.

Bucs fans will argue that with their team playing in a Super Bowl this weekend, on home soil, that Bruce Arians seemingly risky strategy has paid off already. Regardless of whether they win or lose Sunday’s big game.

Are the Rams likely to enjoy a similar resurgence on the back of the Stafford trade?

Rams Mortgage The Next Two Seasons On Stafford

Let’s not sugar-coat things here. The deal was very expensive. The Rams got what they wanted in a franchise quarterback. Stafford, now 33, got the move to a team he feels could be a Super Bowl contender immediately.

Rams coach Sean McVay also got what he wanted. Especially after his lukewarm comments about Jared Goff’s chances of being quarterback next season.

But to get that deal, the Rams have essentially committed to riding the Stafford train for at least the next two years. While there is no doubting Stafford’s talent, that is a lot of pressure for a quarterback coming into any team.

Lions Clawed In A Massive Deal

In contrast, the Detroit Lions could not have hunted out a better deal. Landing Jared Goff, plus the Rams first round picks in 2022 and 2023, plus a third-round pick in this year’s draft.

The Lions now have a ready-made replacement for Stafford in quarterback Goff. The former first-round pick is going to be very keen to show the Rams that they made the wrong call. As his comments in an interview after the trade made clear.

It is worth noting that only Tom Brady has more wins over the last four years than Goff, who has 42 over that period.

Detroit also has draft capital in the bag for the next two years to rebuild. Which they desperately need to do with a franchise that has glaring holes in several areas of the team.

Turned Down New England?

What is interesting to note about this trade was that it was not just the Rams that were interested in the Lions veteran quarterback. Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots were also said to be very keen on bringing in Stafford.

The Lions star would have replaced Cam Newton, whose time in New England appears to be up.

However, Stafford reportedly told the Lions that while he would consider a trade to almost any franchise in the NFL, he would not consider moving to New England.

Issues with former Lions Head Coach Matt Patricia, now back working in New England, playing in a winter weather climate, a lack of stars on the Patriots offense and the Patriots hard work ethic being touted as possible reasons why.

What Does Stafford Have To Work With?

The Rams defense was its star unit last season and it is ranked as one of the best, if not the best, in the NFL over the past 12 months. That part of the team is certainly set up for a Super Bowl run next season.

Stafford will come into an offense that has two excellent wide receivers in Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods, while Tyler Higbee emerged as a very productive Tight End over the course of the season.

Running Back Cam Akers had an injury hit first season but has potential to improve on that in his second year as a pro, especially after two good scoring performances in the Playoffs against the Seahawks and Packers. He rushed for 221 yards across those two games.

The onus will be on the offensive line to protect Stafford so he can find his targets. If they can do that, then the Rams blockbuster trade may well make them a serious contender next season.

Just as similar deals in the last off season have made this season such a success for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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