Why did the Rams trade for Matthew Stafford? Sean McVay, Jared Goff’s production pushed LA decision

The biggest stars make their homes in Hollywood.

While he’s a stranger to silver screen, Matthew Stafford has been something of an arthouse film star during his time with the Lions: While Detroit was light on box-office success, there’s no denying that Stafford was the star of the show in Motown for a long time. (Is that enough movie puns?)

Rams head coach Sean McVay, though, knew this, and while Stafford’s success was documented and respected by NFL circles, McVay thought he could help take Stafford’s game to a new level by bringing him over to the west coast, replacing former quarterback Jared Goff in a blockbuster move this past offseason.

So far, the results are pretty good: Stafford has tossed 11 touchdowns to two interceptions and has helped push the Rams to a 3-1 record on the year. On Thursday, Stafford gets his first taste of the Rams-Seahawks NFC West rivalry as LA travels to Rain City in a division matchup. 

Why did the Rams trade for Matthew Stafford?

It’s pretty simple. The Rams traded for Matthew Stafford because he’s really, really good.

Stafford was stuck in a pretty tough situation in Detroit, with rosters never quite living up to the hype. Through it all, though, Stafford was a top producing QB since his rookie year in the NFL: His 282 touchdown passes between 2009 and 2020 rank seventh in the league, as do his 45,109 passing yards. Of QBs who have started at least 100 games over that span, Stafford’s 89.9 passer rating ranks 12th in the league.

Rams coach Sean McVay and GM Les Snead, very obviously at the end of their patience with quarterback Jared Goff, decided to make the move for Goff this offseason. 

The marriage between Goff and the Rams seemingly soured at the end, and Goff’s production played a big part into it: After a career high 84.3 PFF grade in 2018, Goff regressed in the following years, throwing just 42 touchdowns to 29 interceptions in the following two seasons with the Rams. 

As it turns out, Stafford is even better than expected. Prior to the start of the season, McVay sung Stafford’s praises in an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer.

“Bro, this dude’s a bad MF-er,” McVay told Breer, laughing. “Whatever people say about him, as good as it can be, he’s even better than advertised. It makes sense to him. The guy’s ability to see the game, his ability to draw on his experiences, the feel that he has, it’s pretty special and unique. And man, his feel for people, his authentic way of connecting with his teammates, his coaches, this guy, it’s great being around him.”

McVay wasn’t the only coach who was hot after Stafford: His good friend and 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan was also hot after the Lions passer this offseason, but a meeting between McVay and Stafford in Cabo this offseason beat Shanahan to the punch.

So far, the deal has worked out well for the Rams: Stafford has thrown 11 touchdowns to two interceptions in his first four games in a Los Angeles uniform, pushing LA to a 3-1 record and one of the top offenses in football so far in 2021.

McVay can only hope that the blockbuster deal results in box-office success come February.

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