The Rams gave up a lot for Matthew Stafford, and the simple explanation is that he is one of the best players in the NFL. This was hard to see at times when he played for the Lions and the team kept losing, and it might be hard to see now. It will be obvious when he starts taking snaps in L.A, for Sean McVay and an organization that knows what it is doing. Stafford is a top-10 quarterback whenever he is healthy and top-five in the right situation. At some point in the next few years he will work his way into the MVP conversation. If you don’t believe me, listen to another MVP:
“He’s a fantastic quarterback and has done it for a long time,” Aaron Rodgers said two years ago. “I have a ton of respect for him. He’s a hell of a tough guy. He’s played through some injuries and just watching him, I love the different arm angles that he can throw from. He’s tough, mentally sharp, can make all the throws.”
Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks of all-time, rich and famous and headed to the Hall of Fame, but no life is perfect, and every year of his career, Rodgers has been forced to watch the Lions twice a year. This pain was probably eased by the fact that Rodgers’s Packers usually won. But it also meant that Rodgers grew to appreciate Stafford in a way many NFL fans apparently do not.
Rodgers knows how good Stafford is. So, surely, does McVay. And though he will never say it publicly, so does Stafford. He knows his arm talent is among the best of all-time but also that it only tells part of his story. He relied on it too much when he was young, and then he worked to be a complete quarterback—the kind of smart, focused, extremely tough study geek who wins championships. He never came close because of organizational incompetence. Now he can go to L.A. and prove that was the reason.