Colts: Should Indy have out-bid Rams in Matthew Stafford trade?

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - JANUARY 03: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MICHIGAN - JANUARY 03: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

When Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford made it known that he wanted to be traded, the Indianapolis Colts were long considered one of the front-runners for his services.

In possession of both an efficient offense and ferocious defense, masterminded by general manager Chris Ballard, Stafford could’ve ended up on a title team in Indianapolis. However, the Los Angeles Rams beat the Colts to the punch, giving the Lions an insane offer for the former No. 1 overall pick.

Stafford, who was linked to the Colts and San Francisco 49ers (among others) for weeks, was traded to the Rams in a deal that sent 2016 top selection Jared Goff to Detroit along with two first-round picks and a third-round pick.

Considering what it took to get him, the Colts not going after Stafford as aggressively as the Rams isn’t that egregious of a move.

The Rams gave the Lions an offer for Matthew Stafford that the Colts couldn’t compete with

One reason the Lions did this deal was the fact that they received two first-round picks from the Rams in addition to Goff, which were likely thrown in there to sweeten the deal because of Goff’s ridiculous contract. And after his performance in 2020 (he threw 20 touchdowns and 13 interceptions), it sure would’ve been a hard sell without the assets.

While the Colts might not have had to surrender that many first-round picks, it’s understandable why they didn’t want to overpay for Stafford.

The Lions wouldn’t have made this trade if they didn’t think Goff had a chance to be their starting quarterback for the next few seasons. The Colts had the draft picks and cap space to take on Stafford, but they lacked a player of Goff’s caliber to send back to Detroit. New GM Brad Holmes might’ve asked for quite a bit if he wasn’t going to get a new starting quarterback, and that proposition looked too risky for Ballard.

Stafford would’ve made the Colts a Super Bowl contender, but it’s not unreasonable for Ballard to look at the offer he just commanded from the Rams and decide to look for cheaper options elsewhere. Plus, Indy still has some holes to fill, so parting with that much capital could’ve set them back in a sense.

Nonetheless, if Ballard picks the right guy, his Colts might still end up taking on Sean McVay’s Rams in the Super Bowl.