ALLEN PARK – Matthew Stafford has demanded a deal, and the Detroit Lions will do their best to find a new home for their longtime defender.
A source from the league said that Stafford turned to the team to trade it after the end of the season, suggesting that the move could be the best for both parties. The Lions, who have been removed less than a week since the introduction of their new head coach and general manager, will reportedly make a deal in the coming weeks. Detroit will not force a deal by telling the quarterback that it will be traded if the team finds “fair market value”
Connected: The Detroit Lions agreed to Matthew Stafford’s commercial request | The Lions are hiring former Chargers coach Anthony Lynn as offensive coordinator
Stafford was the best choice in Detroit in 2009 and is the leader of the franchise in yards (45,109), yards of experience (7.2), touchdowns (282), completion rate (62.6%) and almost everyone another quarterback record could hold. Outside of Detroit, Stafford was the fifth player in NFL history to throw 5,000 yards per season. He was also the fastest player, reaching 20,000, 25,000, 30,000 and 35,000 passing yards.
The Lions have made the playoffs three times since making Stafford, but they have nothing to show for any of these attempts. Detroit entered the top 10 for the second year in a row, becoming its third consecutive last place in the NFC North. Stafford has resumed 16 games, completing 64.2% of its 4,084-yard passes with 26 touchdowns to 10 interceptions in 2020.
Column: Matthew Stafford is the best Lions QB ever. It still wasn’t enough, and maybe never will be.
Detroit has quarterback Chase Daniel and David Blue under a contract outside Stafford for 2021. The Lions also hold the seventh overall pick in the April draft. Early fictitious drafts linked the Lions to quarterbacks Zack Wilson and Justin Fields, among others, and that was before Stafford’s bid.
This post will go through potential destinations and assets that can be returned to Detroit in return. Here are five trading partners that might make sense for the Detroit Lions:
Indianapolis has a vacancy below the center after Philip Rivers announced his retirement last week. The Colts own Pick 21 in the April draft and appear to be where moving two initial picks in consecutive years doesn’t leave shelves empty.
The Colts have one of the strongest lists in the league, an impressive offensive line and a stable defense. Adding Matthew Stafford to the mix could take this team to the next level of AFC contenders. Indy went 11-5 last season, losing 27-24 to the Bills in the wild card round. The offense left a lot to be desired under Rivers and he could see quite a boost with Stafford, which left him torn in Lucas Oil.
It is worth noting that last year the Colts sent the first tour in San Francisco for the inner defender DeForest Buckner, so it is not excluded. Louis Riddick, an ESPN analyst and recently interviewed about GM’s work in Detroit, wrote on Twitter, “(Colts GM) Chris Ballard is a smart man. He knows what to do … ”
The Saints of New Orleans
That’s a little more, at least until quarterback Saints Drew Brees, 42, decides whether to retire or not. James Winston is a strong domestic candidate, but has just played a one-year deal and does not hold the Stafford record.
New Orleans is in Indy territory with a later first round pick (Choice 28) in terms of search price. The Saints have one of the best defenses in the league and several weapons to attack. The Stafford trade postpones any recovery talks and seems like a safer bet than giving the keys to Winston or the mysterious Thaysm Hill. The Lions hired coach Dan Campbell and defense coordinator Aaron Glenn through New Orleans, talking to several members of the front office during the interview. The lines of communication between the two franchises are firmly established and may come into play once again.
San Francisco 49ers
The 49 are in an interesting situation, one year removed from losing the Super Bowl, but sit with Pick 12 after 6-10. It’s worth remembering that the New York Jets received two first rounds of safety Jamal Adams earlier this year, so Pick 12 for a 32-year-old quarterback quarterback under the team’s control for more than a season doesn’t seem out of the question.
This partnership will certainly gain steam as this cycle becomes the off-season. Jimmy Garopolo signed a five-year deal for $ 137.5 million in 2018. However, the 49 can get out of this marriage in the most innocuous way. Garopolo’s season was marred by two high-ankle sprains, which limited him to six starts. He started 16 games only once since the 49ers sent a second game to New England for him.
The San Francisco squad will certainly go through some changes, but it seems ripe to start in a year. The 49 have several universal weapons in attack against Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk to go with a deep back room, not to mention George Kittle. Trent Williams would have been an easy bet for a return player of the year had it not been for the remarkable story of Alex Smith in Washington, which solidified the left wing for a short fight. The defenses may be undergoing major repairs, but Yavon Kinlow and Fred Warner remain in the city, so once again the complete destruction of the bay is unlikely.
This comes down to how strongly San Francisco’s brass feels that Stafford can move the needle against Garoppolo. Putting Stafford in the hands of 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan could make this operation return to where it was at the end of 2019.
Soccer team in Washington
Well, the current circumstances certainly make this already obvious candidate come up with a little more intrigue. Former Lions general manager Martin Mayhew, the man who made Stafford number one in 2009, was named Washington’s CEO earlier this week.
Washington made the playoffs after winning the NFC East at 7-9, but fell to starting quarterback Taylor Heinicke. Alex Smith, who nearly lost his leg two years ago, has started six games but faces his own uncertain future. The football team spent the first round of Dwayne Haskins in 2019, but has already parted ways with the former Ohio defender. Since then, Haskins has landed with the Pittsburgh Steelers, leaving Washington in his rearview mirror.
Washington owns Pick 19 in the April draft and a host of young defensive commanders and edges. Stafford in Washington feels like he could be the most influential of all, thanks to the defensive base and youth skills players like Terry McLaren and Antonio Gibson, among others. It’s hard not to see bigger things about this team with coach Ron Rivera and this impressive defensive front locked.
“But when you have a quarterback franchise like Matthew Stafford, you keep it,” Mayo said when asked about trading with Stafford while he was still in Detroit in 2015. “If we had 22 Matthew Staffords, we would win a championship every year. ”
Patriots of New England
Cam Newton seems unlikely to return to New England in 2021. The Patriots missed the playoffs in their first season without Tom Brady, making anemic offensive efforts. The New England reception room leaves a lot to be desired, so this would be a more difficult decision than expected. Still, it’s hard to doubt Bill Belichick and New England’s ability to recharge and return. The Patriots have Pick 15 in the draft, which certainly seems more than enough to start the conversation.
Newton started 15 games, throwing just eight touchdowns to 10 interceptions while playing with an empty New England catcher list. The quarterback added 12 points to the ground, highlighting a strange first season outside of Carolina.
An interesting aspect of this is the addition of former Lions coach Matt Patricia to New England headquarters. While many will get lost in the Patricia-Stafford relationship, the former Lions coach is not a head coach, coordinator, coach in office or in the front office. Patricia offers something none of the others on this list possess, which is a thorough and personal knowledge of Stafford’s recent medical history. The Lions’ quarterback had a series of back problems and then played through thumb injuries, cartilage on his ribs and the ankle of his throwing hand in 2020. Belichik moved his fair share of first-class peaks in his days, which could bring the Patriots back to the fat stuff in AFC, the longer they invest in a wide receiver or three.
Texas from Houston
This one feels the most amazing of all, but Houston Texas may be the most desperate and unpredictable team on this list. The Texans have reportedly caused serious damage to their relationship with Deschawn Watson and could be forced to relocate the quarterback to the rest of the world.
While many will point to the lack of choice in Houston, this would be a situation where Detroit is likely to send more in return. The 25-year-old Watson is one of the fastest growing superstars in the game, coming from an extremely impressive season for a wreck franchise. For as good as Stafford was, it could be assumed that Watson would command more in return, and then some.
The Texas quarterback recently signed a five-year extension, which means that this high investment would be at least long-term. Houston also has no first-round pick in 2020, starting a challenging recovery and could see Pick 7 as pretty good if his hand is forced. Former Lions coach Jim Caldwell plays head coach in Houston, adding a little more intrigue to this potential landing site.