The Matthew Stafford trade sweepstakes are safely over, and the Indianapolis Colts did not ultimately have the winning offer. As such, general manager Chris Ballard’s franchise won’t be acquiring the former Detroit Lions franchise quarterback and 2009 #1 overall pick.
Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (and other league sources), the Los Angeles Rams have traded two future first round picks (as the team already traded this year’s first rounder for cornerback Jalen Ramsey), a third round pick, and starting quarterback Jared Goff to the Detroit Lions for Stafford in a blockbuster league trade:
Detroit is dealing QB Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for two future first-round picks, a third-round pick and QB Jared Goff, per sources. Two former No. 1 overall picks trading places in the first blockbuster NFL trade of 2021.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 31, 2021
Of course, no one can blame Ballard and the Colts for not topping that offer for the soon-to-be 33 year old quarterback, as the consensus had been a first (#21) and maybe a future second or third round pick to potentially land Stafford in Indianapolis.
[The Rams essentially traded an extra first round pick for the Lions to take on Goff’s bad contract, and the Colts had no such bad contracts to try to pawn off on Detroit and attach with another first of their own. Two firsts just didn’t make sense on Indianapolis’ end.]
However, to their credit, the Lions got much more.
Where the Colts go from here remains uncertain, as Stafford was the best veteran option currently available—as the Houston Texans Deshaun Watson and Dallas Cowboys Dak Prescott remain pure ‘pipe dreams’ at this juncture.
On a ‘built to win now’ Colts roster, Stafford simply made sense as an upgrade to last year’s veteran starter Philip Rivers—given his improvement in arm strength and greater mobility—but there’s no such luck that he’ll be coming to Indianapolis anytime soon.
However, the Colts could always trade up for a top rookie quarterback—which will be an exorbitant cost in draft capital as well or potentially wait until maybe another starting caliber veteran upgrade could be available down the road this offseason.
Perhaps the New York Jets Sam Darnold becomes available?
The Philadelphia Eagles Carson Wentz?
Expected available veteran options right now are Nick Foles, Jameis Winston, Andy Dalton, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Mitchell Trubisky, but none of them really push the needle for the Colts (although some of them push it slightly further than others).