The Detroit Lions made a blockbuster trade this offseason season sending longtime quarterback Matthew Stafford to the east coast to join the Los Angeles Rams. In exchange, the Lions received a bounty of draft picks including first-round selections in the next two NFL drafts plus a third-rounder this past April.
That trade result would have likely been enough for a 33-year old passer coming off two injury-plagued seasons. But the Rams also gave the Lions the number one overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft in Jared Goff. And now Goff is set to replace Stafford in Detroit under center to kick off the regular season.
But with the news that another former number one overall pick has hit free agency, would the Lions consider bringing in some competition for Goff this close to the start of the season? And is it something fans would even want to see?
On Tuesday it was reported that the New England Patriots have released quarterback Cam Newton. The number one overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft, Newton is a former NFL MVP who started 15 games for the Pats last year. A dual-threat quarterback, the 32-year old racked up a total of 20 touchdowns in 2020, 12 of those scores came via the ground as a rusher.
Both Newton and Goff have played in a Super Bowl, although neither came away with a Lombardi Trophy. But these two are distinctively different players and Anthony Lynn’s new offense in Detroit would have to cater to each.
Goff is more of a game manager who seems to settle for what the defense gives him, and that works as long as he can minimize the turnovers. Although the Lions figure to be behind in many of their games this year, so the team will have to rely on his big arm to provide those chunk plays on deep throws.
Newton is a much more improvisational player, who can instantly turn into a running threat at any second. At times, it appears as if he prefers to run over throwing the pill. And in Detroit, he’d do plenty of running if he’s waiting in the pocket for this wide receiver group to get open.
For now, it appears the Detroit Lions are full-go with Jared Goff at the helm. And adding someone like Cam Newton to the roster right now might be a constant media distraction that isn’t ideal.
But if the losses begin to pile up, and Goff’s performance wanes, signing a player like Newton might be viewed as a last-ditch effort to save a sinking season. Although, the Lions simply might be better off, in the long run, landing the top pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.