Potential Washington Football Team trade target Matthew Stafford goes to Rams

Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

Our first blockbuster of what will be a busy 2021 NFL offseason is here.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Los Angeles Rams have acquired Matthew Stafford via a trade with the Detroit Lions. The Lions will receiver two future first-round picks, a third-round selection, and Rams starting quarterback Jared Goff while Stafford heads to Los Angeles.

Stafford was one of the better quarterbacks on the trade market. The veteran has long been a solid starter and over the past four years, he has averaged a 65.2 percent completion rate, 4,230 passing yards, 27 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions per 16 games. He will be an upgrade over Goff in Los Angeles and will turn the Rams into one of the top teams in the NFC.

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The Washington Football Team misses out on Matthew Stafford

The Washington Football Team has to be disappointed that they weren’t quite able to land Stafford. According to NFL reporter Josina Anderson, the team was open to trading more than a first-round pick for an established, veteran quarterback.

In fact, Anderson reported that a league source thought Washington’s offer for Stafford was better than that of the Rams, so the team certainly was in the sweepstakes. They just came up a bit short in the bidding war, which makes sense.

In all reality, the value of this deal was inflated by the Lions taking on Goff’s massive contract. The young quarterback simply hasn’t been anything better than a marginal starter the last two years, and with four years and $134 million left on his contract, the Rams had to pay to offload him. That’s why they had to throw in the second future first-round pick.

Instead of taking on guaranteed draft capital now, the Lions are deferring their return to future seasons during which the Rams may not be as good. And they’re acquiring more picks by taking on Goff, who can serve as a bridge quarterback for them. It’s a risky deal, but with Dan Campbell and Brad Holmes on a long leash — and Holmes familiar with Goff from his time with the Rams — they’re willing to take on that risk.

Washington shouldn’t be too hard on themselves for losing this bidding war. Stafford may have been a good fit for them, but giving up multiple firsts for Stafford, 33, would’ve been a tough pill to swallow without offloading a bloated contract of their own. And Washington doesn’t have many of those on the books (at least none that the team is desperate to get rid of or can’t move on from easily on their own).

Apparently, the Lions cared more about the quantity of draft picks as opposed to the quality concerns about Goff, so they went with that package. And again, those first-round picks could end up being pretty early depending on how the Rams do further into Stafford’s time with the team.

With Stafford off the market, Washington will have to shift its attention to some of the other top options on the market. Deshaun Watson is the biggest name out there, but there will be several other options as well. Free agents (like Jameis Winston and Cam Newton) and draft options (like Justin Fields, Trey Lance, and Mac Jones) will also be in the mix.

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But one thing is certain. If Washington was in on the Stafford sweepstakes, they’re certainly looking for an upgrade at the quarterback spot. We’ll soon see if they can ultimately find one.