Another productive NFL quarterback is in the commercial market, expanding the deep pool of passers available this offseason.
Matthew Stafford is said to have finished with the Lions and requested a move elsewhere, according to multiple reports. He has spent his entire 12-year career in Detroit, but wants the opportunity to return to the playoffs before his retirement.
The No.1 pick in the 2009 NFL Draft joins Deshaun Watson, Carson Wentz and Tua Tagovailoa as passers-by likely to leave their teams through trade – not to mention Jameis Winston and Andy Dalton, who hit the free market free. agency. After a healthy 2020 season that produced more than 4,000 passing yards and 26 touchdowns for 10 interceptions, Stafford will be one of the most sought after options in this group, perhaps behind only Watson in stature.
Several AFC teams appear to be good matches for Stafford, including the Colts, Patriots and Steelers. The 32-year-old – he’ll turn 33 in February – is better suited for a roster capable of immediately competing than one that must execute a multi-year rebuilding plan. ESPN reported on Saturday that the Lions would likely receive at least one first-round pick for him.
According to a league source, Matthew Stafford approached the Lions after the season, suggested a trade might be in the best interests of both sides, and the Lions agreed this week to explore that option.
– Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) 23 January 2021
2/2 Holmes and Campbell both knew Stafford’s interest in exploring a trade for both parties before being hired. It is not believed that the Lions have started looking for offers yet, but the process is moving forward.
– Dan Miller (@ DanMillerFox2) 23 January 2021
Stafford is owed $ 43 million until next season – part of a contract amount that was considered onerous when he was first signed, but is now seen as favorable to the team, given the ‘escalating payouts for the league quarterbacks and his continued strong performance.
Below is an overview of where Stafford could go once the offseason begins:
Possible business destinations for Matthew Stafford
With the retirement of Philip Rivers, Indianapolis has reason to tap into its ceiling space for Stafford, who would provide the same steady hand Rivers did in an 11-5 season. The Colts have one of the most comprehensive rosters in the NFL; with the Texans and Jaguars far from arguing, they only have the Titans to face in the AFC South.
As Stafford gets older, it would help to have a running game that can keep the defenses from focusing on his arm. The sensation of rookie Jonathan Taylor would therefore be a crucial ally in his success. Stafford also had to play from behind in Detroit most of the time, an event that would likely be less common in Indianapolis.
The Colts aren’t exactly loaded with wide receivers – Michael Pittman Jr. is the only one with an obvious advantage – but they have enough going on the outside to make Stafford feel supported.
Just because the Cam Newton era was missed doesn’t mean New England are considering accepting a losing record and a high draft pick next year. Eight Patriots players opted out of this latest campaign due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but their defense still ranked seventh in points awarded. With the expected returns of Patrick Chung and Dont’a Hightower in this group, a return to the argument is not impossible.
Stafford would give the Patriots an exponential offensive surge, although the franchise must find more efficient receivers than the body led by Jacobi Myers which failed in 2020.
Stafford would be an exciting replacement for Ben Roethlisberger if the latter abandons this offseason. Even with JuJu Smith-Schuster leaving Pittsburgh in free agency, the Steelers pass catchers are expected to be some of the best in the NFL. It had been a long time since Stafford had a duet with the potential of Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool.
A lack of cap makes a Stafford trade to Pittsburgh extremely difficult – Roethlisberger alone has a dead cap of $ 22.25 million and the the franchise is expected to be well above its allocated space in 2021 – but the potential reward of the franchise, if the money can be calculated, would be immense.
Other landing points
The 49ers, Dolphins, Panthers, Washington soccer team, and Broncos are among the teams that have also been discussed in Stafford trade rumors.