The Lions’ trade of Matthew Stafford to the Rams might have changed the thinking when it comes to Kirk Cousins’ market value, Eddie Rosario will have a chance to frequently get payback against the Twins and the Wild received bad news.
- Item: The Detroit Lions trade Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for quarterback Jared Goff, a third-round pick in 2021 and first-round picks in 2022 and 2023, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. It is the first exchange of former No. 1 overall picks in the common draft era (since 1967), according to ESPN. The trade can’t be made official until the start of the new league year on March 17.
- Reaction: Wow, raise your hand if you saw this one coming. The Lions and Stafford decided it would be best to part ways, but I never assumed the Lions would get this type of return for a soon-to-be 33-year old quarterback who has never won a playoff game and just completed his 12th season. This is going to be an offseason of musical quarterbacks with many good ones changing teams — starting with Houston being forced to move Deshaun Watson — and one has to wonder how many teams will try to get in on the action. I’ve been saying the Vikings should make a run at Watson but my feeling was that Minnesota would have to take below-market value for Kirk Cousins. That’s no longer the case. Vikings general manager Rick Spielman has to at least pick up the phone and see what type of price the San Francisco 49ers and coach Kyle Shanahan would be willing to pay for Cousins. It’s no secret that Shanahan has been a big fan of Cousins’ since he coached him in Washington, and the 49ers are looking to move on from Jimmy Garappolo. Trading Cousins after June 1 would result in a dead money hit of $10 million on the Vikings’ 2021 salary cap. (It’s $20 million for a trade pre-June 1.) It also would move a guy who will have his 2022 salary of $35 million ($45 million cap hit) become guaranteed if he’s on the roster on the third day of the 2021 league year. Cousins is a good, not great, quarterback and Spielman would be wise to explore if he can get anything close to what the Rams gave Detroit for Stafford. If Spielman was able to turn a trade into also drafting a quarterback, we have a feeling ownership would be all in.
- Item: Cleveland signs former Twin Eddie Rosario to a one-year, $8 million deal.
- Reaction: You want the good news or the bad news first? OK, we’ll start with the good news. In one of the many games in which the Twins play their AL Central rivals, Rosario is sure to cost his team at least one game with an outfield miscue. Throwing to the wrong base, not knowing the ground rules, diving for a ball that he shouldn’t. Twins fans saw it all during Rosario’s six seasons in Minnesota. Part of the charm of Eddie was never being sure if you were about to see a great play or fabulous blunder in left field. The bad news is that I guarantee you Rosario will beat the Twins with at least one dramatic home run — or Bomba, as Rosario called them — that will make many miss him. He hit 119 homers during his time in Minnesota, including 32 in 2019. The Twins likely were hoping Rosario would sign in the National League, or at least outside the AL Central. Cleveland the White Sox were the two worst-case landing spots for the Twins.
- Item: The Wild lose defenseman Matt Dumba to an injury that could sideline him long term, and first-round center Marco Rossi was sent home to Austria and, according to The Athletic, won’t play this season as he deals with complications from having had COVID-19 in November.
- Reaction: Dumba was placed on injured reserve Sunday because of a lower-body injury after appearing to injure his knee in the third period in the Wild’s loss on Saturday night against Colorado. Dumba’s long-term absence — coach Dean Evason said, “it doesn’t look good but who knows how long?” — not only would be a blow because Dumba is one of the Wild’s top defensemen, but it also costs the team a potential key trade chip if general manager Bill Guerin was going to try to acquire a center during the season. The Rossi situation is disconcerting because of the unknowns the 19 year old faces in his recovery. Guerin told The Athletic that the Wild are confident Rossi will be OK long term so that is good. The Wild, however, were hoping to get a look at Rossi this season and considering their need for a first- or second-line center it seems likely Rossi would have stuck in the NHL.