Matthew Stafford had a few teams to which he wanted to be traded during the 2021 offseason. The Rams, where the veteran quarterback ended up, topped the list.
However, if things hadn’t worked out in Los Angeles, ESPN’s Seth Wickersham reports that Stafford’s second choice was another NFC West team: the 49ers. And if neither the Rams nor 49ers traded for him, the Colts were his third choice.
One team that wasn’t on Stafford’s list was the Panthers. As Wickersham details, Carolina put together a competitive trade package for Stafford, but he nixed the deal.
The Panthers offered an attractive package to the Lions, and, without a no-trade clause in his contract, they could have sent him to Carolina. But he didn’t want to go there, and so the team did him a solid and worked it out with the Rams.
The Lions may have done Stafford a favor, but they also were able to land two first-round draft picks (2022 and 2023) and a 2022 third-round selection from the Rams in exchange for Stafford and for taking on Jared Goff’s contract. So, they came out with a solid return for their starting quarterback of 12 years.
Stafford has posted a 74-90-1 record during his career with the Lions. Detroit made the playoffs three times under his watch but failed to advance out of the Wild Card round each time.
Now with the Rams, Stafford has one goal for the rest of his career. He wants to play in some important games.
“I just want to play in big games, you know?” Stafford said. “I want to have opportunities to make big-time plays in the fourth quarter against really good teams, in big moments, rather than a 1 o’clock game on a Sunday somewhere.”
Stafford will have a chance to do just that right away. His Rams debut will come in prime time on NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” against the Bears.
And considering that the Rams have posted a winning record in each of Sean McVay’s four seasons as head coach and have made three trips to the playoffs, including a Super Bowl appearance, Stafford should continue to have opportunities to play in big moments if all goes well.