Tyler J. Davis | Detroit Free Press
‘‘Oh my God, this is how it’s supposed to feel. This makes me feel great,’” said of talking with Lions leadership following the trade from Los Angeles Rams. “How excited they were, how fired up they were.”
The No. 1 pick in the 2016 NFL draft, Goff, along with a future draft capital, was dealt this weekend to the Lions for 2009 No. 1 pick Matthew Stafford. He’s had a couple of days to process the move.
“As time has gone on … You start to feel, I don’t want to say relief is the word, but you start to feel happy, grateful, ready for a new opportunity. That’s the biggest feeling that I was overcome with that night, and even in the days following.
“Of course you go back and forth, and your emotions go all over the place. But for the most part it’s been this feeling of gratefulness for what I was able to do here and accomplish in L.A., and at the same time excitement for the city I’m coming to, the city I’m going to bring a whole lot of passion to, and a whole lot of hopefully success for a long time.”
The Rams had recently ratcheted up attempts to move Goff after a loss in the NFC divisional round. Trade rumors were an interesting development, considering the franchise recently signed him to a then-record-setting extension (with over $100 million in guaranteed money) and he helped lead the team to the Super Bowl.
So by the time the deal was made Saturday, Goff was ready to be done with the Rams, he told the Times. Brad Holmes — the Lions’ new general manager, who was part of the brain trust that drafted Goff — reached out to his new player and the quarterback felt reinvigorated by their conversation.
“When you first hear (you’re traded), it’s difficult, it’s disappointing,” Goff said. “But you get so excited that you get a fresh start. You get to be somewhere you’re believed in. That clearly wasn’t the case here anymore, and when that happened, I don’t know.”
Both teams have received praise for the trade. The Lions were lauded for committing to looking forward at the quarterback position — even if they were forced — receiving a starting-caliber passer in return and adding three draft picks while retaining the No. 7 selection in this year’s draft.
The Rams were credited for improving their quarterback position — even if never pick in the first round again — to complement impressive weapons on offense and an elite defense.
In all of this, Goff, one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the league at just 26 years old, has become somewhat of an afterthought.
“I really enjoyed my time here,” Goff said. “I want to leave this on a positive note. Obviously, the ending wasn’t favorable and wasn’t fun. But them drafting me No. 1 overall and bringing me to a city that hasn’t had a football team in a long time, being a part of that rebuild after 2016, being able to help bring L.A. football back to prominence, all that stuff I take extreme pride in. It’s something that I’ll always remember.”
There remain questions about just how committed the Lions are to Goff. He most likely won’t be cut this offseason and will certainly be the favorite to be the Lions’ starting quarterback Week 1.
But if Goff’s regression continues (his touchdowns and yards per attempt have both fallen since 2018) the Lions could cut (and pay) him next year, or find a trade partner (while likely paying some of Goff’s contract) for even more draft picks.
Maybe Goff shows himself to be a long-term franchise quarterback and finds a new home in Detroit. Either way, the 26-year-old appears grateful to wear the Honolulu Blue.
“You don’t want to be in the wrong place. It became increasingly clear that was the case. (The trade) is something that I’m hopeful is going to be so good for my career,” Goff said.
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