Jared Goff found out on Saturday night his wild journey with the Los Angeles Rams had come to an end. In a matter of five years, he was drafted first overall, earn back-to-back Pro Bowl trips, made a Super Bowl, signed a $134 million extension, then quickly fell out of favor after two rough seasons. It ended with a short, brief call from Rams head coach Sean McVay who broke the tough news: he had been packaged along with two first-round picks and a third-round pick to the Detroit Lions for Matthew Stafford in return.
Mike Silver of NFL.com chatted with Goff on Sunday morning, and the 26-year-old quarterback appears to be taking the news rather well.
“I’m just excited to be somewhere that I know wants me and appreciates me,” Goff told Silver. “I’m moving forward and couldn’t be more excited to build a winner there. I’m excited about Dan (Campbell) and the whole staff.”
It’s a great attitude, and it reflects just how poorly Goff’s relationship with the team has sunk. The Rams risked their playoff lives on John Wolford over Goff, who had undergone thumb surgery 12 days prior but was still active for the game. Wolford ended up suffering an injury in the first quarter and Goff came in anyways and won the game. Per Silver, Goff was hurt by the decision, not because he didn’t understand it, but because his competitive nature wanted to be out there from the first snap.
But it’s obvious there was some tension beyond that incident. NFL Network’s Steve Wyche reported the relationship between Goff and McVay needed “marriage counseling” this offseason. McVay’s and general manager Les Snead’s lack of commitment to Goff in end-of-season interviews were near-insulting. And not once did the Rams come to Goff an let him know that they were exploring options beyond him or “anything close to that” per Silver.
So now the question becomes how “wanted” is Goff in Detroit. There have been several reports that Goff was included in this deal not simply to take his bulky contract off the Rams’ hands, but because Detroit wanted him.
I’ve spoken to multiple teams this morning who made calls TO the Rams in regards to Goff, too. This wasn’t some throw-in. The Lions wanted him. He had a market. Around NFL, Goff is regarded well. 25, multiple playoff wins, beat Brees and Wilson in their buildings in postseason.— Peter Schrager (@PSchrags) January 31, 2021
Just talked to Jared Goff — he has already spoken to Lions coach Dan Campbell and several other members of the Lions’ staff. Based on those conversations, they very clearly view him as their starter moving forward. Physical coming soon. Sounds like they’re fired up to have him.— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) January 31, 2021
Obviously, Lions general manager Brad Holmes was very much involved in the drafting of Goff and had an up-close look at him for his entire career with the Rams. The draft compensation still leads me to believe the Lions were doing the Rams a bit of a favor here to clear cap space, but it certainly is possible that the Lions believe much of Goff’s downfall simply had to do with a growingly toxic relationship with McVay and company.
The good news for Detroit is that they get a year or two to figure it out. They won’t likely be competitors for this season or next, so they can simply evaluate Goff for the player that he is. If it isn’t working, no harm, no foul. Detroit can move on after 2022 with no cap ramifications. But if Holmes is right—and truly does covet Goff’s talent—the Lions have a young quarterback on a fairly reasonable deal for the next four years.