If you’ve read my Detroit Lions coverage since 2014, then you know a few things about me. One is that I’m not afraid to take huge swings when I feel it’s right to take them. The other is that I’m not afraid to admit I was wrong and that I whiffed on the ball. Recently I took a big swing and declared that the Lions had their quarterback of the future in Jared Goff after he got off to the best start a Lions quarterback has had since Matthew Stafford’s 2011 season. I was wrong.
The last two games for Jared Goff have shown us who he is.
He’s a great guy and a decent quarterback in a pinch, but he is not a starting quarterback in the NFL. I’m sorry, but he’s just not. You just cannot go out there and turn the ball over seven times (!) in two games. You just can’t do it.
Goff did look good early in the season, I’ll give him that. Still, there were little things that you hate to see from him. Each week there would be a bad throw or a questionable decision that made you think that the Goff you don’t like is trapped in there somewhere like some sort of Jekyll and Hyde type thing. Well, Hyde is out fully out now and he has control over the body. That’s how it works right? I never read that book. You get the idea though.
It’s sad because we’re not just witnessing the probable end to Jared Goff’s run in Detroit, we’re more than likely witnessing the end to Goff’s run as a starter in the NFL. I have no doubt that he’ll get a job if the Lions do indeed plan to move on from him after this season, but it’ll likely not be as a starter anywhere.
The Lions should move on from Goff after this season. They have a potential out in his contract where they can release Goff and he’ll cost Detroit $10 million in cap to play elsewhere. There’s no reason to pay Jared Goff millions of dollars over the next two seasons when it’s clear that’s just not going to work.
It’s time to look toward the future. It’s a concept that I myself have put off. I really felt the Lions needed to build up the team before they got their guy at quarterback, but now I feel like they may not have the time to do that anymore. Coach Dan Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes are here for the long run at this moment and their seats shouldn’t be hot. But you could see how the seats could start to get hot if the Lions held onto Goff and this team keeps losing with no young quarterback waiting in the wings. So the time is now.
The good news is that the Lions are currently in the driver's seat for the number one pick in the NFL Draft and there are some really good quarterbacks in this year's draft. There’s Ohio State’s CJ Stroud, Alabama’s Bryce Young, and Kentucky’s Will Levis to name a few. The Lions could have their pick of the litter, and then have the Rams' first-round pick that they can use for whatever they want. A play-making defender? Another receiving option?
Here’s the potential downside of this approach. While the leash is long and the seats aren’t hot for Campbell and Holmes, they’re still behind the eight ball with two bad seasons in a row. That realistically means this group likely only has one shot at picking a quarterback during their tenure. They have to make sure that they get it right on this try. It’s something that’s not easy to do. The Lions have arguably got it right twice in their entire existence. Teams like the Browns have been trying to get it right for so long that they sold their souls so they could have a good quarterback.
If Holmes and Campbell miss, that likely spells the end for them, because rebuilds tend to revolve around the quarterbacks. That makes the Lions’ upcoming offseason—which we’re talking about during Week 7 can you believe it—the most important offseason of Holmes’ and Campbell’s careers. We’ll see if they’re able to get it right or not. Lions fans have to be hoping that they do.