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Lions to trade Matthew Stafford to Rams in blockbuster deal involving Jared Goff, picks

A pair of prime-time quarterbacks are moving to new cities.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Saturday night that Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is heading to the Los Angeles Rams in a massive blockbuster trade for QB Jared Goff and a package of picks.

Detroit will acquire Goff, a 2021 third-round pick and first-round picks in 2022 and 2023 in exchange for Stafford, per Pelissero.

Pelissero also reported that multiple teams offered first-round picks in this year's draft, but this deal will ultimately give both sides what they desired.

The trade became official on Thursday, March 18.

The Rams will inherit the two years, $43 million remaining on Stafford's contract, and the Lions will carry a $17.8 million dead cap hit in 2021, per Pelissero. The expectation is that Stafford's contract won't need to be changed and an extension or raise was not part of the deal, according to Rapoport.

In return, Detroit will inherit the four years and $106.6M remaining on Goff's contract. L.A. will carry a $22.2 million dead cap hit in 2021.

The Lions had more than six offers, including a few worth more than a first-round pick, Rapoport added. Detroit's decision to take on Goff's large contract ended up costing L.A. more.

The Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers, clubs that are among a handful of teams with questions surrounding the position heading into next season, were among those who inquired as the Lions had several offers, Rapoport reported Sunday.

Pelissero highlighted the particulars of Goff's current contract: He has $43 million in fully guaranteed money left -- $25 million in base salary in 2021, a $2.5 million roster bonus due on the second day of the 2021 league year in March and another $15.5 million roster bonus due on the second day of the 2022 league year.

The clock on a potential deal began ticking ever since Pelissero reported Jan. 23 that Detroit and its franchise signal-caller mutually agreed to part ways. Now, at age 32, Stafford -- the 2009 No. 1 overall pick -- will get a fresh start under coach Sean McVay in the City of Angels.

For Goff, 26, the deal comes after a sketchy end to the 2020 season. Near the end of what was an up-and-down campaign, Goff suffered a broken right thumb in Week 16 that caused him to miss the season finale and begin the Rams' wild-card matchup against the Seahawks as a backup to John Wolford.

Rams general manager Les Snead said earlier this week that Goff "is a Ram in this moment," a sentiment that echoed the seemingly rocky foundation the former No. 1 overall pick was standing on. Rapoport reported the next day that the team expected to have an open QB competition if Goff wasn't traded.

In addition to getting a restart of his own, Goff will reunite with new Lions GM Brad Holmes whom he knows well. The former Rams director of college scouting evaluated Goff coming out of California in 2016. Alongside offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn, Goff will play a central role in the Lions' rebuild under head coach Dan Campbell.

While the date is still to be determined, the 2021 season already has one of its first must-see matchups with Goff and Stafford getting a chance to exact some revenge against their old teams when the Rams host the Lions at SoFi Stadium.

NFL Network's Mike Giardi confirmed, per an informed source, that the New England Patriots were interested in acquiring Stafford. Giardi added that it's unclear how far it went beyond that, but he surmised that, considering the price, it's hard to imagine it lasted long. In addition to the Pats, the San Francisco 49ers also inquired about the veteran QB, Rapoport reported Sunday.

Despite dealing with numerous nagging injuries, Stafford finished the year with 4,084 yards, his most since 2017, 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He departs Detroit with a bevy of franchise records in his name, including most career passing yards (41,025), highest career completion percentage (62.48%) and most career passing touchdowns (256). The one-time Pro Bowler and 2011 Comeback Player of the Year posted a 74-90-1 record in 165 starts.

Goff recorded 18,171 yards, 107 TD and 55 INT in five seasons with L.A. His best year came in 2018 -- the second of his two Pro Bowl selections -- when he logged a career-high 4,688 yards en route to leading the 13-3 Rams to a Super Bowl LII showdown against the Patriots. He is 42-27 in his 69 career starts.

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