Chicago Sun-Times (Sunday)

Rams deal for Stafford


ESPN, citing sources it didn’t identify, reported Saturday that the Rams acquired quarterbac­k Matthew Stafford from the Lions for quarterbac­k Jared Goff, a thirdround draft pick in 2021 and first-round draft picks in 2022 and 2023. There was no immediate confirmati­on from either team.

It’s the first big move made by new Lions general manager Brad Holmes, who was hired this month from the Rams, where he was the director of college scouting. He said during his introducto­ry news conference that he wanted to build the Lions through the draft, and now he’ll have extra picks to do so.

The Lions had been looking to trade Stafford after he expressed a desire for a fresh start after 12 seasons in Detroit. Multiple outlets reported last week that Stafford and the Lions had been having healthy discussion­s regarding his trade request, and the team began engaging in discussion­s with other clubs last week. The Rams quickly emerged as a favorite for his services because of their interest.

Stafford, who’ll turn 33 next week, has two years and $43 million left on his contract. He threw for 4,084 yards with 26 touchdowns and 10 intercepti­ons in 2020, and his completion percentage (64.2) and passer rating (96.3) were above his career averages.

Goff, 26, passed completed 67% of his passes for 3,952 yards with 20 touchdowns and 13 intercepti­ons this season, his fifth in the league.

Texans hire Lovie as D-coordinato­r

Multiple outlets reported former Bears and Illinois coach Lovie Smith agreed to join new Texans coach David Culley’s staff as defensive coordinato­r. Terms of the agreement weren’t immediatel­y disclosed.

Smith, 62, coached the Bears for nine seasons (2004-12), compiling an 81-63 record during the regular season and a 3-3 record in the playoffs. He guided the Bears to a Super Bowl appearance in February 2007, when they lost to the Colts, and to the NFC Championsh­ip Game in 2011, when they lost to the Packers.

After being fired by the Bears in January 2013, Smith coached the Buccaneers for two seasons (2014-15) before being fired after going 8-24. He then spent the last five seasons as the coach at Illinois, where he went 17-39 with one bowl appearance before being fired in December.

Texans have decision to make on Watt

The Texans not only are at a crossroads with quarterbac­k Deshaun Watson, who has asked to be traded after not being a part of the team’s hiring process for a new general manager, but they also are facing a decision about defensive end J.J. Watt.

Watt, a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year who will be 32 in March, will be entering the final season of a contract that will pay him $17.5 million in 2021. But he’s coming off a season in which he had only five sacks — the fewest of his career in a season in which he played more than eight games — and NFL Network reported the Texans are weighing whether to give him an extension, to trade him or to let him go.

 ?? GETTY IMAGES ?? Lovie Smith was 17-39 in five seasons as Illinois’ coach before being fired in December.
GETTY IMAGES Lovie Smith was 17-39 in five seasons as Illinois’ coach before being fired in December.

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