Stafford-Goff Blockbuster Trade Opens Door for More QB Moves

Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions on January 03, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan.   Leon Halip/Getty Images/AFP
Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions on January 03, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. Leon Halip/Getty Images/AFP

With several big names aimlessly trundling along the quarterback carousel, there could be more blockbuster moves in the offseason that could have major implications for the 2021 NFL season. We highlight a few of the big names that have trade rumours swirling over their heads right now.

The Los Angeles Rams and Detroit Lions wasted no time with their preparations for next season, making headlines with a sensational quarterback swap that sent seismic shockwaves through NFL betting markets.

The dust had barely settled on the regular season when news broke that Matthew Stafford wanted out of Detroit, and before anyone could say Jack Robinson, he was gone. Out of Motown in the blink of an eye, in a blockbuster trade that saw the Detroit Lions pick up Jared Goff for Stafford. How quickly this deal came about is a bit staggering, taking many aback with its effortless ease that marks one of the cleanest, smoothest breakups in the league’s history of player-team relationships.

To be fair, it’s not always this smooth and amicable…

The Stafford-Goff trade is essentially a swap of former No.1 NFL draft picks, which only goes to show how fickle franchises can be. Just how little guarantee there is on any NFL career, no matter how much it was lauded initially. It remains to be seen what the verdict on this trade will ultimately be, how well this swap goes down for each team in 2021 or if there’ll even be a winner or loser at all. First impression though is that the Rams got the better deal on talent with Stafford, while Goff could be set up disadvantageously as he heads into a total rebuild project in Detroit, thus casting doubt on his future in general as a starter.

In any event, what the Stafford-Goff trade consciously points to in the broader spectrum is the potential for other quarterback moves that could happen and that in turn might cause a ripple-effect with subsidiary moves. A few moves are suspected, and include a couple of disgruntled quarterbacks such as Carson Wentz (Philadelphia Eagles) and Deshaun Watson (Houston Texans), both of which have made their desire to be traded known in some measure. Others are merely floated in the ether right now, nothing but speculation even if they’re rooted in sound reasoning and current information. Those include Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers), Jimmy Garropolo (San Francisco 49ers), and Dak Prescott (Dallas Cowboys) to name a few.

With speculation rife about these quarterbacks and their futures, naturally online sports betting sites have gone to press with a rash of NFL future bets on where each signal caller might land before 2021 gets underway in September. Quite a few teams are in need of help at the quarterback position, from the New England Patriots, to the Indianapolis Colts and the Chicago Bears, the list is quite extensive. It’s fair to say, almost half of the 32 teams could do with improving under centre.

Watson made his demand official recently when it was announced he’d formally requested a trade. The fourth-year quarterback isn’t happy the way things are going within the Houston organisation, and he wants to go elsewhere. The Texans aren’t showing a great inclination to part with Watson, given his talent and promise, but they might not have a choice if the issue is pressed by Watson and interested parties as well.

Apparently, one of Watson’s choice landing spots is the Miami Dolphins, who only last year picked up Tua Tagovailoa. If a deal was to be made here, the Texans could well be tempted if Tagovailoa were part of the deal. In fact, Tagovailoa was recently asked about his future with Miami in an interview, to which he naturally had little to say. As is often the case, the wheeling and dealing happens in the boardroom before players are ever informed about their fates.

Carson Wentz wants a fresh start, but it’s not certain if the Eagles will play ball. The former No.2 pick in the 2016 draft has regressed over the last three years since his MVP-calibre 2017, and after the debacle of Philadelphia’s 2020 campaign that saw him benched in the last few games of the season in favour of rookie Jalen Hurts, it’s evident he wants a clean break. Wentz is keeping much of his thoughts to himself, even refraining from making any public comments on Doug Pederson’s dismissal or the subsequent hire of new head coach, Nick Sirianni. If that’s not telling, what is?

One of the top landing sports for Wentz that’s being highlighted by current NFL odds is Indianapolis Colts. Wentz’s relationship with Frank Reich, his mentor during his early years with the Eagles, is being spotted as a reason for their happy reunion. As well, the recent retirement of Philip Rivers opens up a potential vacancy in Indy that Wentz might be eager to fill. The best bit, should he get traded to Indy, is the fact that the Colts are built to win. The Colts are tipped at 13/1 (+1300) to win the AFC Conference at William Hill – the fourth best bet on the board.

After the Green Bay Packers were seen to sell-out on the 2020 NFL season with a quarterback pick in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft, speculation about Aaron Rodgers’ future was rife. If the veteran quarterback were upset, seething or hugely offended by what the Packers did in the draft, he showed little of it publicly. Instead, he was quite calm, if not philosophical about his position and future. Importantly, it didn’t impact him negatively as he went on to have a standout MVP-calibre season. Ultimately, the decision to not go all-in for 2020 caught up with the Packers, as they failed to get over the final hurdle into SBLV for a second straight season.

Rodgers’ comments immediately after Green Bay’s loss to Tampa Bay in the NFC championship game, referencing an “uncertain future”. reignited the speculation about his future prospects. The possibility he might not be the Packers’ starting quarterback in week 1 of the 2021 NFL season swelling with potential. If Rodgers does force Green Bay’s hand, some of the places that are being identified as potential landings spots include New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers, Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos, to name a few.

Finally, Dak Prescott entered the 2020 season with much speculation after failing to come to any terms with Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys, but then a horrendous ankle injury thrust his future into further obscurity. Nobody likes to see a player get the raw end of the deal when he’s down, but that’s just the nature of the business sometimes. Indeed, if the Cowboys are uncertain about Prescott’s value (why else have his contract negotiations lagged on forever),

it might make more sense for them to look elsewhere after all. The calibre and quality of some of the experienced starters that could be moved this offseason is something that merits a closer look, On the flipside, there’s a bevy of young college quarterbacks set to hit the market in a couple of months too. The Cowboys – and Jerry Jones who loves a great deal – might be tempted to go aggressively into the 2021 NFL draft and pilfer one of the many high-profile prospects that have quite a few teams excited, not unlike he did last season when he impressively snapped up wide receiver CeeDee Lamb.

All told, it’s going to be a fascinating offseason that could have far-reaching implications on the 2021 NFL season. It’s unlikely that these deals will happen as fast as the Stafford-Goff deal, but there’s definitely a chance a few will make headlines in the near future as the 2021 NFL draft approaches.

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