Rumors are only rumors and as time goes on, we should only become more wary of what the NFL media claims that “sources” told them. There is no fact-checking on most of these claims. Even when the rumors are fact-checked and proven false, there is no accountability. For many, the desire for clout outweighs everything else, including integrity, and there are few ways to accurately separate the wheat from the chaff.
That being said, it is very unusual for closed door trade discussions that didn’t transpire to be as openly discussed and shared as to the degree of what Albert Breer divulged on SI’s MMQB this week in regards to the Detroit Lions shopping Matthew Stafford. But Breer dropped info on Monday that makes it seem as though he’s been inside Brad Holmes’ computer more times than QAnon has hacked into the Papa Johns website.
On Saturday, the Rams and Lions agreed to a deal that will send Jared Goff, a 2021 third, a 2022 first, and a 2023 first to Detroit in exchange for Stafford. There is some thought that had LA kept Goff — only to look for another trade partner in aftermath — the cost to acquire Stafford would have been more palatable. It would help to know what the other offers were and if these reported packages are true, then it would certainly appear that including Goff cost the Rams an additional first round pick:
- The Panthers offered pick eight in the upcoming draft, plus another “later pick” according to Breer. It’s worth noting that the eighth overall pick in the 2021 draft should be worth considerably more than an undetermined-and-probably-late first round pick in 2022. So these two first round picks are clearly not created equal. The difference between them, however, would probably not be equal to another first rounder.
- Washington Football Team offered pick 19 and a third rounder. Obviously this would have not gotten them past Carolina’s offer, which I think must have been difficult to turn down.
- Breer didn’t confirm that any other team offered a first round pick. Only that the Denver Broncos’ offer was a pick swap that basically equated to a late first; the Indianapolis Colts made an offer of picks and players, but not a first round pick; the San Francisco 49ers, New York Jets, New England Patriots, and Chicago Bears essentially all “checked in” and weren’t willing to go as far as first round picks.
- The Patriots’ offer may have been a player and a second round pick.
The Panthers offer would have been enticing, as it would have given Holmes back-to-back picks at seven and eight in the upcoming draft. That could have given them a chance at a quarterback of the future and a position player of high regard to build around. But it seems that Detroit is interested in the “Cleveland Browns” model of having multiple first round picks as many times as possible, except with better execution.
And pushing back those first round picks to 2022 and 2023 also pushes back the clock of when the Lions will have to pay those players on second contracts, should they “hit” on those selections. We can safely assume that Detroit has no plans to contend next season and they could be going full on “tank mode” already.
Breer also said that the Rams initially offered Goff, the 2022 first, and an additional pick, meaning that eventually they had to decide if they wanted to remove Goff from the equation or add in another first rounder. The opportunity to get rid of Goff’s contract — OvertheCap estimated that LA could save as much as $7.9 million to their cap next season if they restructure Stafford’s deal to the full degree possible — must have been enticing enough to Les Snead to include another first rounder.
Is this how it all went down? I have no reason to be that skeptical of these reports, as surprisingly candid as they may be. But it’s always a good idea to question the “sources.”