The Los Angeles Rams shook up the football world on Saturday evening. After making the postseason and beating their divisional rivals, the Seattle Seahawks in the Wild Card round three weeks ago, the Rams now have a new quarterback. The team shipped Jared Goff off to Detroit, sending him and three draft picks to the Lions for veteran signal-caller Matthew Stafford.
But Stafford wasn’t the first quarterback that the Rams asked about, apparently. According to Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times, the Rams called the Green Bay Packers to ask about the possibility of acquiring Aaron Rodgers.
Evidently, that conversation was extremely short.
When the Rams “made a run” at Rodgers, the Packers evidently shot shot down any conversation quickly with little to no serious consideration. The Packers were “adamant,” in Farmer’s words, that they would not move Rodgers, a sentiment that underscores team president Mark Murphy’s recent comments about the Packers indeed keeping #12 for the foreseeable future.
It should come as no surprise that the Rams would be interested in Rodgers. After all, he is likely to win the AP MVP award for the 2020 season — to be announced next Saturday at the NFL Honors. The Rams also got an up-close and personal look at Rodgers as he shredded LA’s top-ranked defense in the Divisional Playoffs. It should be equally unsurprising, however, that the Packers would be loath to let him go for those same reasons, especially if the Rams had insisted on making Goff part of the deal.
Instead, Rams general manager Les Snead and head coach Sean McVay pivoted to Matthew Stafford after the Packers shut down any Rodgers trade discussions, eventually culminating in Saturday’s trade agreement. The Rams will send a third-round draft pick in 2021 and the team’s first-round picks in 2022 and 2023 to the Lions to exchange Goff for Stafford.
The price for Stafford is astronomical in large part because of Goff’s contract, as the Rams seemingly needed to add in extra draft picks to unload Goff on Detroit. He will be owed $43 million in guaranteed money over the next two years, the first two new years on a deal he signed before the 2019 season, ensuring that the Lions will have Goff as their starter in 2021 unless they can find another taker for him.
Detroit is signaling a complete rebuild with this move, adding picks for a quarterback who has regressed significantly in the last two years after posting excellent campaigns in his second and third NFL seasons. Stafford, meanwhile, gives the Rams a proven veteran with a big arm that should fit nicely with McVay’s play-action passing game. This definitely is an upgrade in the short-term for the Rams at that position, but how much of an upgrade is up for debate.
Aaron Rodgers? That would have been an incredible upgrade for LA. But the Packers weren’t about to let that happen at apparently any price.