Lions’ most boneheaded decision of 2021 is obvious, and they even made it worse

SideLion Report

The Detroit Lions’ most bone-headed decision of 2021 is obvious, but they also made it worse.

When it became inevitable the Detroit Lions would trade Matthew Stafford last offseason, it was also fairly inevitable they’d have to get an experienced quarterback in return. Ultimately, and obviously, that’s what happened when they got Jared Goff along with draft picks from the Los Angeles Rams.

There’s no use rehashing how bad Goff has been this season, and now of course he’s injured and all but certainly out for Week 11 against the Cleveland Browns.

Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report put together a list of each NFL’s team’s “most boneheaded decision” of 2021. The Lions’ edition is obvious.

Detroit Lions: Accepting Jared Goff as Part of Matthew Stafford Trade

The Detroit Lions knew it was time to end their relationship with long-time starting quarterback Matthew Stafford. He wanted out, and the organization needed a fresh start under incoming general manager Brad Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell.

Everyone else knew what the situation would be in Detroit this year. The Lions featured the league’s worst roster and needed a strip-it-to-the-studs rebuild. Unfortunately, Holmes made the wrong decision when he believed enough in Jared Goff to make him part of the Stafford trade with the Rams.

“I never viewed [Goff] as a bridge option,” Holmes said in June, per Tim Twentyman of the Lions’ official site.

Therein lies the mistake. Goff had one year to prove himself. He hasn’t. Meanwhile, the team could have done more to address quarterback by selecting one with this year’s seventh overall pick.

Goff’s whopping eight touchdown passes are tied with or better than only four other starting QBs who’ve played in nine games this season (Trevor Lawrence, Daniel Jones, Sam Darnold and Justin Fields). His yards per attempt are the lowest since his rookie season, and his yards per completion are lower than in his rookie season. Defenses don’t respect him as a threat.

Detroit hasn’t won a game, and the Lions are staring at next year’s No. 1 overall pick in a class that features a weak crop of incoming quarterback prospects.

The Lions actually made Jared Goff acquisition worse

Acquiring Goff and taking on the ill-conceived contract the Rams gave him was bad enough. But at least the Lions got an extra 2022 first-round pick for that trouble.

But as Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press noted back in March, if they left the contract untouched they would have had no 2022 cap charge if they traded Goff before his $15.5 million roster bonus was due in March. Instead, they converted a big chunk of his 2021 base salary to a signing bonus. Since that $20 million in signing bonus is prorated over the contract, the restructure added $15 million in dead money hit if they want to move on from him after this season.

So the Lions essentially assured Goff will be on their roster next year, possibly (if not likely) as an expensive backup before the 2022 season is over.

Even if general manager Brad Holmes doesn’t view Goff as a bridge quarterback, a lone year where the NFL salary cap dropped due to a pandemic was not a good reason to redo his contract and kick money to future years.

An uninspiring move to acquire Goff, with not taking a quarterback seventh overall in this year’s draft laced in for whatever it’s worth, was doubled-down on by restructuring his contract to keep him around longer than he needs to be.

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