The NY Jets may have never been truly in on the Matthew Stafford rumors, but you could bet that they were watching everything unfold late Saturday night. However, the Stafford trade doesn’t have the impact on the Deshaun Watson situation that many seem to believe.
In fact, it hardly has any impact at all.
The Detroit Lions agreed to send Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday night as part of a star-studded trade that netted them two future first-round picks, a third-round pick, and Jared Goff.
As well as Jared Goff’s contract.
On the surface, that haul seems massive. Stafford’s rumored value was expected to be around a first-round pick, if not slightly more. In the end, the Lions received two future firsts, a third, and a capable short-term replacement in Goff.
The NY Jets’ pursuit of Deshaun Watson isn’t affected by the Matthew Stafford trade
But there’s more than meets the eye here. Goff’s hefty contract was the real reason the Lions received so much. In fact, it’s very likely that they don’t receive two first-rounders without Goff in the deal.
The 2016 No. 1 overall pick signed a massive four-year, $134 million extension that doesn’t actually kick in until this upcoming season. That contract, which doesn’t have an out until 2023, is set to earn him over $50 million over the next two years.
The Rams decided they weren’t going to win with Goff, which is fair given his lackluster play in arguably the league’s most QB-friendly system. So they sought an upgrade in Stafford. But the biggest obstacle standing in their way was Goff and his egregious contract.
The Lions knew this, which is why they charged a pretty penny to not only send Stafford to Los Angeles, but for them to take on Goff’s contract.
Now, the Lions are stuck with Goff for two years. But for their efforts, they received more draft capital than anyone would have offered for Stafford. This, in essence, is why it doesn’t affect the Watson situation.
Matthew Stafford was fairly valued here. He didn’t get traded for anything exuberant or unexpected. The only unexpected addition was Goff and his contract, which accounts for the extra draft capital.
Watson’s value has not appreciated or depreciated as a result of this trade. It has no effect on his or any QB’s market.
It’s important to remember that the situation surrounding Stafford with the Lions was a very different situation than the one with Watson and the Texans.
Stafford and the Lions mutually agreed to part ways and the organization seemingly sought to do right by their longtime franchise quarterback. This was an amicable exchange. The same cannot be said for Watson.
Houston has publicly expressed that they have no interest in trading Watson. This won’t be some mutual parting of ways. If the Texans do finally agree to trade their superstar quarterback, it’ll be because he forced their hand.
Rather than coming to a mutual agreement, it’ll be like pulling teeth.
The two situations are not comparable. The number of variables that affect Watson’s true value (leverage, timing of the trade, number of bidders, etc.) far exceeds the factors in a Stafford trade.
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Deshaun Watson was and still is going to cost an absurd amount of assets. Three first-rounders is a baseline, but it could get even pricier. But those assets won’t necessarily be limited to draft picks either.
Here’s looking at you, Quinnen Williams.
Perhaps the only effect this has on the Jets is that the Lions now make a ton of sense as a trade-down partner. Detroit isn’t going to build around Goff as his part in the trade was always as a salary dump.
Don’t rule out the Lions trading up to select their quarterback of the future and having him battle it out with Goff in training camp while he bides his time. Goff is a goner as soon as Detroit can get out of his contract, they’ll already have one eye on the future.
The Jets make sense as a trade partner, so long as they decide to trade down.
In the end, the Matthew Stafford deal, while creative, was not unforeseen. He was ultimately valued right around where he should have been.
And as for Watson, it’s going to take an unprecedented trade package to land him. But that’s something that everyone already knew.