Can Jared Goff resurrect his career with the Detroit Lions?

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Jared Goff is now a Lion, but will he be the starter for the foreseeable future? 

It felt like just talk. No way was a trade of that caliber going to happen. It couldn’t, right?

Lesson No.1 surrounding the NFL; never doubt Sean McVay wanting to win it all.

The Los Angeles Rams broke the internet last night with the news of their acquisition of Matthew Stafford from the Detroit Lions. It only took 16 days, but Brad Holmes struck gold for the future of the franchise by working out a deal with the team that built his career.

The Rams now will send their 2022 and 2023 first-round picks to the Motor City while also shipping over a 2021 third-round pick. But the biggest name of all? Jared Goff is now in Detroit.

Stafford, who would have been the top name to watch for this offseason if not for Deshaun Watson, now goes to a contending team that’s looking to win it all. Goff, who’s been productive in McVay’s system, never flourished the way he was expected to when drafted No.1 out of California in 2016.

Stafford’s career now has a positive note with a chance at a Lombardi Trophy. Goff, who still is quite a rich man thanks to his four-year, $134 million extension, is going to a place that’s looking to rebuild.

It feels like Goff is the loser in all this. Can he rebound and be the starter for Detroit long-term?

Goff’s NFL future a bit hazy moving forward

The one thing Goff will have going for him is Holmes. When drafted, it was the new Lions GM who “banged on the table” to make sure Les Snead gave the 6-foot-4 pocket-passer a chance. And by all intents, Detroit will be doing the same for Goff in 2021.

It’s not as if Goff is Brock Osweiler 2.0, he’s just limited. Against weaker defenses, he attacked with multiple 300-yard performances. He also had several games against divisional opponents where the touchdown to interception ratio was roughly the same.

Physical toughness is something Goff has proven over the last year. Two weeks after undergoing thumb surgery, he was forced to enter the Wild Card Round against Seattle, to which he threw for 155 yards and a touchdown in a 30-20 win.

There’s also proof of Goff struggling on a bad roster. When drafted in 2016, he went 0-7 as the starter and threw for five touchdowns against seven interceptions. He also was sacked a career-high 25 times.

The Lions offensive line has allowed at least 40 sacks a season since 2017. Stafford also had the courtesy of having Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones and TJ Hockenson at his disposal for the final two years with the team. Both receivers are free agents and might be playing elsewhere.

In the big picture, Goff is a proven winner. He’ll finish his time out west with a 42-27 record, two Pro Bowl nods and an NFC Championship title. Was that due to him? McVay? The defense? The final line of 2021 will speak volumes on that.

Detroit could get lucky and land on a revitalized and frankly angry Goff. They don’t need him to be great, they just need him to be good. The Lions realize they are in a rebuild in all phases, meaning wins are not the subject of importance.

It’s why both Holmes and Dan Campbell were signed to five-plus year deals.

Can Goff be the guy? It’s too soon to say as the NFL season ends. However, for the first time in his still young career, the 26-year-old now is out on his own.

It’s now sink or swim time for his future.

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