Kirk Cousins and Matthew Stafford
In late January 2021, the Los Angeles Rams traded Jared Goff, a 2021 3rd round pick and 2022 and 2023 1st round picks to the Detroit Lions for Matthew Stafford.
The Lions continue to rebuild – and the Rams are heading to Super Bowl LVI.
Indeed, the Rams have mortgaged their future with draft picks – they often do – for an all-in shot with Stafford and players like Odell Beckham, Jalen Ramsey, Von Miller, Aaron Donald, Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods. The roster is so wonderful that sometimes it’s no wonder Los Angeles is headed for February football.
But Super Bowl expectations for the Rams flipped when Stafford came on board. Write that down. Former Rams signalman Jared Goff was pretty good for about a year and a half, and he too guided Los Angeles to a Super Bowl appearance, losing to the New England Patriots three years ago.
In Detroit, Stafford performed well most of the time, but the team around him was generally underwhelming. Eventually, he and the Lions hit a crossroads, deciding both sides needed a fresh start.
Statistically, Stafford is remarkably similar to Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. The masses and the media don’t give Cousins the “bold” treatment that Stafford enjoys, but in numbers, Stafford and Cousins are not worlds apart.
Matthew Stafford versus Kirk Cousins,
Last 50 departures:
1,722 successful attempts
13,334 passing yards
93 TD passes
97.9 Setter Rating
The cousins -
1,603 successful attempts
12,689 passing yards
100 TD passing
105.1 Classification of passers
In the 2021 offseason — with a new general manager, no less — the Vikings have their own Lions-like decision to make. That is – trade cousins to a team that can use their skills better or build a team around them. This is Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s new burden.
Cousins’ business value is now increasing thanks to the Rams reaching the Super Bowl. Rational football minds residing in NFL front offices will parallel Cousins in Stafford based on the numbers. Give Cousins a Beckham, Ramsey, Miller, Donald, Kupp, Woods and watch what happens. Football is the ultimate team sport, not quarterbacks slinging the ball at themselves. Surrounding Stafford – who was acquired for a Detroit king’s ransom – with mass talent work. A franchise could do the same for Cousins and reasonably expect to thrive.
If the 2021 experiment with Stafford and the Rams had failed with a loss to the San Francisco 49ers, a bit of a stench would exist in Los Angeles, trading a massive draft of capital to get their man. But there’s no more stench now.
It worked for Stafford – even though he made some colossal, cheeky mistakes in spots throughout the 2021 season. Cousins does, too. However, Stafford’s teammates masked those mistakes, sending the Rams to the Super Bowl.
It can also happen to Cousins, if the Vikings want to move on. And now, because of the Los Angeles experience, Cousins’ trade price is higher.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. He host a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, airing every Wednesday with Raun Saw and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Guilty pleasures listed: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, “The Sopranos” and The Doors (the band).