Jared Goff not just a bridge-quarterback but long-term answer

Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports
Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports /

Detroit Lions starting quarterback Jared Goff is once again proving to be nothing more than a capable bridge quarterback, but finding out where the bridge leads is becoming a bigger issue.

When the Detroit Lions traded away franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for a pair of first-round draft picks along with a third-round selection, it appeared that Goff would be a placeholder as the rebuilding Lions draft his successor in either 2022, or 2023. Not so fast. Jared Goff is having an exceptional season with the surging Lions and perhaps will be under center in Detroit for longer than any of us, maybe aside from the Lions brass, could have ever imagined.

The Detroit Lions were expected to have a top-three draft selection in the 2023 NFL Draft, and oddly enough, not with their own selection, but the reigning Super Bowl champion Rams pick. As it stands, the Lions will select fourth following Los Angeles’ victory this past Thursday evening behind a heroic 98-yard game-winning drive orchestrated by Baker Mayfield. Mayfield claimed off waivers on Tuesday, stepped in for John Wolford after the Rams’ first series, and never looked back.

Detroit Lions starting quarterback Jared Goff is performing exceptionally well in Ben Johnson’s offense.

Behind the steady play of Jared Goff, the 5-7 Detroit Lions have won four of their last five games heading into Sunday’s tilt with the 10-2 Minnesota Vikings. During this five-game stretch, Goff has thrown for seven touchdowns with one interception. Goff is enjoying an outstanding second season with the Lions; he and first-year offensive coordinator Ben Johnson have found a confident middle ground, and it’s showing in Goff’s play. The Lions’ offensive is focused on their ground-and-pound running game that primarily features Jamaal Williams of late over the often injured D’Andre Swift. Although Detroit’s identity is pounding the football, Goff has proven capable of limiting the eight-man loaded box with his ability to throw the football.

The 28-year-old signal-caller is completing nearly 65% of his passes and has thrown for 3,022 passing yards, 19 touchdowns, and seven interceptions in 12 games this year. Still, more impressively, his 60.5 Quarterback Rating ranks sixth in the NFL, only behind Patrick Mahomes, Tua Tagovailoa, Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts, and Geno Smith.

Don’t forget, Goff is performing this well without rookie phenom Jameson Williams who returned to action last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars on a limited basis. Williams, a home run serious threat, is expected to complement Amon-Ra St. Brown and DJ Chark very nicely moving forward. Detroit will continue to ease Williams back into action against the Vikings.

Two years ago, this buyout seemed evident, but now it’s far more likely the organization will roll with Goff under center not only in 2023 but in the foreseeable future. Goff’s contract becomes voidable following this season. Detroit could cut ties with the veteran quarterback costing the organization $10 million in 2023, followed by $5 million in 2024.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Detroit Lions don’t consider Jared Goff to be a bridge quarterback.

"“As sources have explained, Goff is believed to be their starting QB. Period. Not just until someone else comes along,” Rapoport reported."

There are plenty of intriguing quarterback prospects set to come out in 2023, led by Alabama’s Bryce Young and Ohio State’s CJ Stroud. If not Young, the Detroit Lions should elect to avoid Stroud, Will Levis, or Anthony Richardson, for that matter focusing their efforts on the defensive side of the football. Although playing better recently, the Detroit Lions have many concerns on defense and should look toward Will Anderson or Jalen Carter over a quarterback.