The NFC North is changing, as in a blockbuster trade, the Los Angeles Rams acquired Matt Stafford from the Detroit Lions for the low, low price of two first-round picks, a third-round pick, and QB Jared Goff.
Despite Stafford being older than Goff, the Rams clearly feel Stafford can get them over the hump and back to the Super Bowl. For the Lions, they acquire some premium picks as they attempt to rebuild their franchise, which was left in shambles by former head coach Matt Patricia and former general manager Bob Quinn.
What does this mean for our beloved Green Bay Packers? Stafford’s trade out of the division is just one of many potential quarterback changes in the NFC North. Despite all of the misinformation about Aaron Rodgers’ potential leaving, he’ll be the Packers quarterback in 2021, while the rest of the division could all have new leading men.
Barring anything wild happening, we know the Lions have their new quarterback. Goff is a clear downgrade from Stafford and will be playing in a far worse offense. However, the Lions at least have a stopgap while they identify their QB of the future.
Rumors are abound that the San Francisco 49ers are ‘very interested’ in Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. Cousins has experience in the Shanahan offense and, for all the laughs Packers fans have at his expense, is an upgrade over Jimmy Garoppolo.
Last season, Minnesota committed to their quarterback, head coach, and general manager with new deals, but with the team apparently in a rebuild after losing many players to free agency and having to find yet another offensive coordinator, starting fresh with a new QB might be wise. A potential picks and players deal similar to the Lions/Rams deal could send Jimmy G to the Vikings, or the Vikings could use picks from the 49ers to trade up in the draft for a new starter. Either way, just like the Lions, the Vikings could have a new signal-caller in 2021.
What of the Chicago Bears, known for their wise decisions at the quarterback position? This offseason, they may have made an actual wise decision, as Dan Sileo reports that the Bears will move on from Mitch Trubisky. While other sources have yet to confirm the news, this seems a likely route for the team to take after declining Trubisky’s fifth-year option and bringing in competition.
Trubisky, the league NVP, teased the Bears enough by shredding terrible defenses but never proved himself as a true starting quarterback, even being benched for Nick Foles this season.
The Bears aren’t in a great position to find a quarterback in the draft, though stranger things have happened. Chicago likely needs to look to free agency to fill the spot. The Bears made the playoffs, barely, and have a solid defense and some intriguing weapons. Allen Robinson could choose to stay with the team if they have a better quarterback.
As for the Green Bay Packers, despite rampant speculation, Brian Gutekunst and Matt LaFleur have been abundantly clear that Aaron Rodgers will start for the Packers in 2021 and, likely, beyond. Rodgers will almost certainly be named league MVP this Saturday, and there is no guarantee the team will look to Jordan Love anytime soon.
The NFC North could look very different in 2021. The Lions, Vikings, and Bears (oh my!) are all trying to find their way, while the Packers have the best quarterback in the league. Rodgers will be the Packers’ starter, regardless of what the media speculates, while the rest of the division gets makeovers.Matt Hendershott is a Packers fan and Miller High Life enthusiast from Northwest Ohio. He has a Master of Arts in Media and Communication from Bowling Green State University. You can follow him on Twitter @MattHendershott.