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Will Seahawks trade for Jared Goff on Thursday?
A four-team trade scenario that solves QB problems for everyone involved
In Tuesday’s Seaside Joe about the top-three options for the Seattle Seahawks to target as Russell Wilson replacements this week, I ended up slotting Jared Goff as the number one favorite over Nick Foles. I completely understand why people often take these types of writer suggestions as “endorsements” of a player, because writers often are endorsing a player, but I only go off of what I believe is possible and most likely.
When it comes to Pete Carroll’s tendencies as the Seahawks head coach for the last 12 years, some of his comments during Wednesday’s press conference, Seattle’s present needs at quarterback, and their ability to be a swing team for a trade because they have the second-most cap space in the NFL, I followed what would be the most likely route that the regime would take towards securing a starter for the 2022 season.
What I ended up with was the most unbelievable four-team blockbuster trade proposal in the history of the league, but one year after Matthew Stafford was traded to the Rams, and one week after Russell Wilson was traded to the Broncos, we should all now agree that precedent has no place when assuming what’s possible in future NFL deals.
As you will soon read, I think I’ve found a reasonable trade for four of the teams who are currently seeking and shopping their starting quarterbacks. But it has to happen on Thursday.
My reasoning is so simple that it hardly even warrants a major fist bump if my hunch is right that the Seahawks will acquire Goff… but buddy, yeah, I’d love a fist bump from YOU if it happens.
I find that no dots should be easier to connect than the fact Goff understands Seattle’s offense and the playbook because he worked with Shane Waldron for four years, he knows the Seahawks because he started against them 10 times, and he knows NFC West opponents such as the Los Angeles Rams, because he played with them (and against them in practice) for five years.
From Seattle’s perspective, the only real roadblock I could envision is if Waldron and offensive line coach Andy Dickerson (another former Rams assistant) flat out rejected the idea because of a negative opinion of Goff. That seems unlikely, as not only did L.A. give Goff a large contract extension before they had to, but Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes acquired Goff last year based on their long relationship during Holmes’ tenure in the Rams’ front office.
Holmes viewed Goff as a brilliant option to be the Lions bridge quarterback in 2021, so I find it plausible that Waldron would welcome the same opportunity… if Detroit is at the end of its bridge and ready to rid themselves of Goff’s $15.5 million roster bonus on Thursday by trading him to another team.
Seattle has to pay a large dead money cap hit to Wilson, but happen to have a lot of cap space and are paying Drew Lock less than $2 million.
The Seahawks are maybe the only team in the NFL that could both use a quarterback like Jared Goff right now and can afford to pay him. Really the only other teams that might qualify are the Colts and Panthers, but I don’t think Goff is good enough to serve what they want at quarterback. Which would be a quarterback who elevates everyone else on the offense.
Seattle just needs a quarterback who knows how to run the offense. Anything more than that, and that’s what I call “breaking the Goff ceiling.”
In Goff’s wheelhouse though would be that he has in-depth knowledge of Shane Waldron and the playbook. Back in 2017, the first season that he was paired with Sean McVay on the Rams, Goff noted that he felt like this particular offense perfectly suited his strengths. This is from May 23rd, 2017, months before McVay’s head coaching debut:
“It’s way different,” Goff told reporters. “It’s a way different offense. Personally, from my brief experience with it. I’ve had a quicker time learning it, easier time learning it. I don’t know whether that’s scheme or the way it’s taught or whatnot, but I’ve enjoyed spending time with the coaches and picking it up pretty quickly.”
Goff agrees that McVay is trying to make the quarterback position the easiest to play on the field.
“[Y]ou can definitely tell,” Goff said. “There’s a lot of things that may have been on our plate before aren’t now. But there’s also some things that are. It goes back and forth. . . . He’s taken a lot off of our plate.”
A year later, after McVay had become an offensive genius but before the 2018 Super Bowl run, Goff had even more to learn in the playbook.
Goff, for one, told Pete Prisco of CBS Sports that McVay is definitely adding to the playbook.
“A lot more,” Goff said. “We’ve just evolved. We know teams have some tape on us and have an idea what we like to do. There is stuff we’ve done to evolve, creatively, that Sean’s put in to get better.”
“I can’t put a percentage on it (how much more),” McVay said. “I will just say it’s evolved a little bit. Going back to last year at this time, we were figuring out what we wanted and how we wanted to operate. We had to find out what personnel groupings were going to be our main ones. Now we have a little familiarity with our players. We have a better direction on how we want to operate.”
It’s easy to criticize Goff because he’s never going to live up to being a number one overall pick, but was he lying about picking up the playbook quick? During his first two seasons in McVay’s offense, Goff was highly successful, which I think is a more appropriate word than “good” or “great”. Goff was successfully doing the job that a quarterback needed to do in that offense, so long as the running game was working.
Of course, after watching Goff run the Rams offense for two seasons without the real Todd Gurley, it’s fair to say that his advanced knowledge of any “McVay/Waldron playbook” was not valuable enough to make him a valuable quarterback and that’s what forced the Rams to sacrifice two first round picks and a third for the right to get Stafford and get rid of Goff’s deal.
Now, if the Lions trade Goff before Thursday’s deadline, Detroit would save $16 million against the salary cap.
What would they do with that $16 million?
Holmes and Campbell believe that the Lions are good enough to be next season’s Bengals, but not with Goff. That’s when a three-team deal between Seattle, Detroit, and Cleveland started to make a lot of sense until I hit a roadblock with assets.
Then a fourth team emerged that made a lot of sense.
In my top-three QBs post on Tuesday, I noted that the Seahawks might be able to acquire additional draft capital for agreeing to pay Goff this year: move up in the draft from 41 to 32, and swap third round picks.
I couldn’t tell if this was too much or too little, and nobody can really answer that riddle. Seattle would be doing the Lions a favor, but they’d get a one-season game manager with copious amounts of experience in the offense, which I think is an aspect to the Seahawks’ QB decision that is vastly underrated.
But then who would be the quarterback of the Lions, if not Goff or a rookie, since that choice of starter would be somewhat antithetical to Detroit’s vision of being a “playoff team”?
A playoff quarterback who just told Cleveland, “Thanks for everything, but this is maybe goodbye.”
If the Lions were able to clear out $16 million of cap space on Thursday, then they could afford Baker Mayfield’s $18.8 million 2022 salary, which is something that is not possible until then. If the Lions trade for Mayfield, a contract extension is next and the cap hit could be even lower, which is important for Detroit: They have roughly $12 million in cap space and also have to pay their first round pick a cap hit of $7.2 million, assuming they stay at two.
However, who would be the quarterback of the Browns then?
Though the Houston Texans don’t really need to be directly involved in an ensuing trade by Cleveland to acquire Deshaun Watson, it’s also true that the Browns wouldn’t make the initial Baker Mayfield trade if it didn’t directly lead to Watson being the next quarterback.
The Texans have been rumored to want “five or six valuable assets”, including three first round picks, to trade Watson. This is how the Browns would acquire the necessary draft capital to complete that request.
Pardon the trade for looking insane. We are living in a new world of NFL trades and quarterback movement though and “insane” may be the name of the game.
Seahawks trade: Chris Carson
Lions trade: Jared Goff, 2022 1st round pick (from Rams, 32nd), 2022 third round comp pick (97th), 2023 3rd round pick
Browns trade: Baker Mayfield, 2022 1st round pick (13th), 2022 3rd round pick (78th), 2023 1st round pick, 2022 4th round pick (from Lions, 107th)
Texans trade: Deshaun Watson, 2022 6th (183rd)
Seahawks get: Jared Goff, 2022 4th round pick (107th), 2022 6th round pick (183rd), 2022 Lions 3rd round pick
Lions get: Baker Mayfield
Browns get: Deshaun Watson
Texans get: 2022 Browns 1st round pick (13th), 2022 Rams 1st round pick (32nd via DET), 2022 Browns 3rd round pick (78th), 2022 Lions 3rd round pick (97th), 2023 Browns 1st round pick, Chris Carson
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What just happened?
The Seahawks were involved so that they could get a bridge quarterback and accept a bad contract in order to acquire more draft capital. After some discussion amongst myself, I traded Chris Carson to a RB-needy team, cutting $3.3 million off of the 2022 salary cap. Seattle has the one-year quarterback it needs to end their search until 2023, while adding three medium draft picks.
The Lions sacrifice a first and two thirds in order to upgrade from Jared Goff to Baker Mayfield. The savings on Goff is almost enough to cover Mayfield’s cap hit (but probable extension anyway) and I believe that based on the Goff-Stafford trade a year ago, a first and two thirds is a fair price for the upgrade.
The Texans trade Deshaun Watson for three first round picks, two third round picks, and Chris Carson. Houston GM Nick Caserio reportedly wants a package like this for Watson and he has shown an affinity for established veteran running backs in the past. Carson, 27, gets a “second chance” to start after losing his position to Rashaad Penny, who I believe will re-sign in Seattle. The Texans couldn’t do better on the market than $3 million for Chris Carson.
The Browns trade two first round picks, a third, a fourth, and Baker Mayfield for Deshaun Watson.
In my many years of being on either side of sports articles, I’ve come to understand that there are fans who don’t take kindly to “rosterbation” or speculative trades scenarios. For that reason, I never do them. The reason I made an exception today? Because a week ago, the Seattle Seahawks TRADED RUSSELL WILSON TO THE BRONCOS. And nobody was prepared for it, even with the writing on the wall.
The wall’s not blank just because Russ is gone. The Seahawks will acquire a starting quarterback. The Texans will trade Watson. The Lions should want to upgrade Goff. The Browns must be certain they’re on the verge of replacing Mayfield.
There’s pure speculation and then there’s educated guessing. Some think that the Seahawks have a Ryan-sized hole at QB. I see a Goff-sized hole.
Another thing I’ve learned over the years is that I’m often wrong.
Okay, tell me, who wins the trade? Who did I screw? How mad would you be with Jared Goff? Do I still get credit if it’s Nick Foles?