Jared Goff calls trade to Lions the “greatest thing that ever happened to me”

Three years ago, the Rams decided to move on from quarterback Jared Goff. They found a win-win with the Lions and Matthew Stafford.

It was an immediate win for the Rams and for Stafford. It has become a win for the Lions and Goff. And it might keep getting better.

“In hindsight, [being traded to the Lions] was the greatest thing that ever happened to me, for my career and my development as a human,” Goff said on the Trading Cards podcast, via Jared Ramsey of the Detroit Free Press. “Being shipped off and being sent to a place to die, essentially, is what a lot of people think it was and I was never going to allow that to happen. I’m fortunate enough to be around a lot of good coaches and players in Detroit that support me and help me reach my potential.”

The trade was hardly a Stabler-Pastorini flip-flop. The quarterbacks changed area codes, and the Rams gave up two first-round picks and a third-round pick. It was widely viewed in part as the Rams surrendering a first-round pick to the Lions, in order to get them to absorb Goff’s contract.

So the Lions got the picks and a quarterback who has led the team to the NFC Championship. And once they got past the full guarantees of $54.3 million, the contract became very reasonable. Last year, Goff made $25.975 million. This year, he’ll make $27.3 million. Given the market and the cap, that is a bargain.

It will be interesting to see whether he gets a new contract before, during, or after 2024. The Lions invested a third-round pick last year in quarterback Hendon Hooker. Do they view him as a replacement for Goff? Is he simply a fallback in the event Goff leaves?

The Lions might be tempted to use Goff’s affinity for Detroit against him when negotiating a new deal. Right or wrong, it happens.

However it plays out, the Lions have found a quarterback who has taken them to the brink of the Super Bowl. He’s still only 29.

They surely want to keep him. The challenge could be striking the right price. If he plays like he has, it won’t get any cheaper to keep him.