Matt Stafford and the Detriot Lions have mutually agreed to part ways and search for a trade suitor. Stafford, 32, was drafted 1st overall by the Lions in 2009 and has been with the team ever since. Stafford has been the face of the Lions for over a decade, and his impact cannot be overstated. While Stafford gave everything he had for the Lions, he was never able to win a playoff game in three trips.
How good is Stafford now?
Every analyst in the NFL will tell you the same thing, Matt Stafford is still an elite caliber quarterback. His stats speak for themselves; in eight of his 12 seasons, he threw for over 4000 yards and has had a career passer rating of 90. Stafford has not shown signs of regression either.
In 2020 the former Georgia Bulldog threw for 4000 yards and 26 touchdowns with a pitiful Lions team. Stafford is still the same big arm QB we love from years past, but now it’s time for a change. Stafford is still one of the most talented passers in the NFL, with his play and his stats backing that up.
What can the Lions get in return?
The 32 (about to be 33) year old quarterback is getting paid 20 million dollars a year, which is not absurd for a starting QB; but, it can put a dent in a team’s cap room. The Lions will likely ask for picks in exchange for Stafford; some speculate a first-round pick as well as another early pick, or an early pick followed by a young player.
One trade very similar to this one was Carson Palmer in 2011. Palmer was traded for a first and second-round pick at age 33 that year. Considering Stafford’s situation is very similar to the one Carson Palmer was in, the Lions could definitely get a first-round pick in exchange for Stafford.
In my opinion, the 3 best landing spots for Matthew Stafford are the Colts, 49ers, and Patriots:
The Colts have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, as well as a talented offensive core. In terms of trade pieces, they have the 21st pick. The Colts have the most cap space in the NFL, and with Phillip Rivers’ retirement, Stafford is an ideal fit for a team who just made the playoffs.
The 49ers are the next best fit. With Jimmy Garappolo’s inconsistent play, Stafford would be a major upgrade. The 49ers have the 12th pick in this year’s draft, which could prove valuable to acquiring Stafford’s talents. The 49ers have one of the NFL’s best defenses and receiving corps. If Stafford and they team up, the 49ers are instant contenders in the NFC.
The Patriots tried making things work this year with Cam Newton, to no avail. If Stafford fills in for Newton, he will make up for what Cam lacked as a passer. Paired with the greatest coach in NFL history, a pure passer like Stafford would thrive in New England. The Patriots have the cap space to take Stafford and sign weapons. The Patriots did just hire ex-lions coach Matt Patricia, which could make a reunion even more likely.
Regardless of what happens to Matt Stafford, one thing is for sure: every single NFL fan wants to see him succeed. Stafford is loved around the league and one of the most gifted passers in the game. This next chapter could be his most exciting.