Lions Preparing To Trade Matthew Stafford

After 12 seasons, the Matthew Stafford era in Detroit is set to come to an end. The veteran quarterback has asked the Lions to trade him, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com reports.

Having recently hired a new GM and new head coach, the Lions have met with Stafford over the past two weeks. In those meetings, the 32-year-old quarterback has requested a fresh start. The Lions are planning to discuss Stafford with teams in the coming weeks, Pelissero adds. The sides are expected to mutually part ways, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

This news comes a year after Stafford popped up in trade rumors. But previous GM Bob Quinn squashed those, and Stafford’s wife affirmed their desire to stay in Detroit last year. But the Lions struggled again in 2020 and have hired Dan Campbell as HC and Brad Holmes as GM. They are also on the verge of hiring Anthony Lynn as OC.

Campbell would be Stafford’s fourth full-time head coach, and Holmes the third GM in the quarterback’s tenure. The Lions have made the playoffs just three times in Stafford’s career. Both Campbell and Holmes were clued in on the notion Stafford may want out before they signed on with the Lions this month, Justin Rogers of the Detroit News tweets. Stafford suggested after the season a trade may benefit both he and the Lions, and the team agreed to pursue it this week, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press tweets. Stafford, Holmes and Campbell confirmed on a call this week a trade will be the goal, though Rogers adds (via Twitter) the Lions will only deal him if they receive a worthwhile offer.

The Lions hold the No. 7 pick in the upcoming draft. They picked third last year, following a 2019 season in which Detroit lost every game after Stafford was lost for the season midway through, but selected cornerback Jeff Okudah over Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert. This year, it would seem Detroit will be firmly in the market for a first-round QB pick. Though, Trevor Lawrence will be gone by the time Detroit picks. Justin Fields and/or Zach Wilson might be off the board as well.

While Stafford has made just one Pro Bowl in 12 seasons, the former No. 1 overall pick has frequently been placed in difficult situations. The cannon-armed passer has never had a high-end running game and played most of the 2020 season without Kenny Golladay. The Lions now have Golladay and Marvin Jones set for free agency and Stafford on the way out. With Campbell on a six-year contract, a rebuild is here in Detroit.

Stafford was unable to procure the Lions a playoff win, leaving him well behind Hall of Famer Bobby Layne in terms of postseason success, but he owns all the franchise’s passing records. And after an injury-plagued start to his career, Stafford started every game from 2011-18. He returned from the 2019 back injury to start 16 games this season, sporting a 26-10 TD-INT ratio and ranking 15th in QBR. Considering Stafford’s age and talent level, the Lions should be able to obtain a nice trade haul.

Stafford’s 2017 extension runs through the 2022 season. He is due just $9.5MM in 2021 base salary and $12.5MM in 2022. He is also due $10MM roster bonuses in each of the next two years, though in this era, cap numbers of $20MM (2021) and $23MM (’22) are quite manageable for a franchise quarterback. Stafford being due the $10MM bonus on the fifth day of the 2021 league year points to a trade commencing before then.

Teams like the Colts, Patriots, Broncos and Washington are among those who could be considered suitors. Washington just hired Martin Mayhew, who drafted Stafford in 2009, as GM. With Deshaun Watson potentially in the trade mix as well, 2021 is shaping up as a big year for quarterback movement.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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147 comments on “Lions Preparing To Trade Matthew Stafford

        • xXTheFETTXx

          The Pats don’t have enough tradable assets for Stafford is the problem…even if they included Gilmore in the trade, I still don’t see this being worth it for the Lions. If the Lions trade Stafford to the Pats, it better be a worth while trade or I’m done watching the Lions be the Pats AAA franchise.

  1. doug.daniel243

    This is going to sound weird but I want to open the discussion on this: would it make any sense for the rams and lions to get together and talk about a Goff for Stafford swap (there would likely be picks involved too not a straight 1 for 1)? I just feel like both guys need a fresh system to work under and both could really help out their new teams since they fit the age windows for contention better.

    • bradthebluefish

      It’s plausible. Stafford is the better player with a better contract. Rams would have to include draft picks or some players to facility this trade.

      Even then, Lions may be more inclined to find a QB in the draft and thus would rather get more picks than Goff + picks.

      • doug.daniel243

        Is Stafford really worth anything tho? I find it hard to believe they could get anything of value for him without taking back a bad contract and Goff would be a good stop-gap if nothing else.

        • RonJohn00

          Put Stafford on the Colts or Patriots and he’d be a top 10 qb next year no problem. That would also be a below-market contract. He’s very talented. There’s definitely trade value there.

    • Ak185

      It would really have to depend on Anthony Lynn. Goff is a quarterback who is not used to making a lot of calls at the line. He is more suited to executing plays selected for him by his playcaller. I am not saying this to imply that Goff is awful-he’s not-but he is used to having a very hands-on playcaller. Lynn is more involved with the running game than with the passing game. That wouldn’t necessarily be a bad role for Goff, managing a run game, but Lynn would likely have to be more personally involved with the passing game and radioing in calls for Goff to select from. He’d have be more hands-on as a coordinator or Goff will have to take more responsibility for directing the offense. The Lions would have to be okay to accept Goff for Stafford with that mind.

    • xXTheFETTXx

      K, so the Lions want a rebuild…Why would they possibly want Goff and not a higher draft pick? Goff isn’t helping the Lions out in any meaningful way, so what possible reason would the Lions take him for Stafford?

      • saluelthpops

        . . . and continues down the “well-below-average” road. Perhaps over-valuing your own is part of the reason you are where you are.

        • xXTheFETTXx

          “well-below-average” is the best way I can think of to describe Goff.

      • GoLandCrabs

        Rams would have to send a pick but it’s not that crazy. Goff can be cut after 2 seasons. His contract isn’t that bad anymore.

        • implant

          So a 12 year vet who was taken first overall is worth more than a 5 year vet taken first overall? As a Ram fan (and Pac 12 fan) I never understood their love for Goff

  2. mcmillankmm

    We’ll take him in New England…no 3rd round pick this year….how about Stidham plus a 5th and 6th…Pats do have 3 4th round picks also

    • Stidham has absolutely zero value and 5th and 6th rounders are next to worthless. Lions instantly decline and block your number if you offer that.

    • tigersfan1320

      Lions would be stupid to accept anything that doesn’t involve at least one first round pick

      • hersch

        No way Detroit gets a 1st for stafford. Best days are behind him and he’s proven he’s not a winner. Be lucky to get a 3rd.

        • Chief Two Hands

          I think it’s more accurate to say the Lions organization has proven it is not a winner. That was proven well before Stafford arrived.

        • robluca21

          all you people forget Carson palmer was had for 2 first round picks about a decade ago and had a similar career trajectory and skill set to Stafford

          Stafford is a great qb. Hes played on poor teams .

        • Stat_head

          Haven’t heard that Holmes suffered a severe brain injury recently so a 3rd won’t cut it.

    • madmc44

      In addition the Pat’s have 3 conditional picks. I’d like to see the Pat’s sign Cam Newton as a wide receiver and Emergency QB–they have plenty of cap space. The guy is just a great athlete.

  3. sds999

    I wouldn’t mind some deal with the Jets getting Stafford for the #2 pick. Other pieces would have to be involved but it would be a good starting point.

  4. carlos15

    He’s not that good. He’s won 10 games twice and has had a winning record 4 times. The organization isn’t great but he’s mediocre too. He’s made 1 pro bowl. Has had 3 good seasons and a few average seasons.

    • fathead0507

      Detroit is one of the worst franchises in NFL history.. the fact they won 10 games twice say something. And probowls are popularity contests.. guys is a top 10 QB . With hardly any talent around

      • saluelthpops

        So stating facts qualify as a “clown comment” now? Perhaps he’s not the clown.

          • saluelthpops

            Very original. Now, the opinions can certainly be argued. I guess I’d prefer to read about why there is disagreement as opposed to “clown comment” or “you’re stupid.” But maybe that’s just me. I personally like Stafford. I think he’s way better than what the team results have shown.

            • I have no idea who jimmyduz0523 is, but I don’t call everyone a clown. I’m not sure I’ve even used the word on this site before.

        • How is “he’s not that good” a statement of fact? How is “he’s mediocre too” a statement of fact? They’re both opinions, and clown opinions at that. Did you even read his comment?

    • Appalachian_Outlaw

      You’re not serious, are you? Stafford is an excellent QB. He’s won some in Detroit with no real running game to speak of. He’s carried that franchise for years.

    • bradthebluefish

      You can be a great QB on a bad team. Hence the lacks of wins. Look at Watson this year.

  5. fathead0507

    WFT.. sign Golladay too .. that defense they winning the East for awhile

    • Appalachian_Outlaw

      It’d make a ton of sense for the WFT to try to trade Alex Smith, pick #19 and maybe like a 3rd next year for Stafford. If they found another playmaker at WR, that team is set.

    • According to Sportrac, Saints are by far the worst team in the league as far as cap situation goes. Even with Brees retiring, they’re still astronomically over the cap.

    • There’s like 10-15 teams that Stafford could start on. Not sure why he would want to go there, or why the Seahawks would trade for a backup QB.

  6. Alexander Jones

    LOL, the hits keep coming! With this market, we’ll get a 3rd round pick next year if we’re lucky. I know, I’m not happy either way, but still… it’s just hilarious how this organization waits until the worst possible moments and timing to make the moves that they make.

      • Stafford is a better fit for Dallas. Much cheaper and not worse than Dak. Redskins are building on young talent. Bringing in an expensive veteran would be the wrong direction. For a third rounder and Ryan Kerrigan, maybe. Kerrigan is great but he wants to start and he’s second string on Redskins depth chart.

        • bradthebluefish

          I can see Jerry Jones taking a liking to Matthew Stafford. I can already see the press conference and everything.

        • dmarcus15

          Dallas would be a spot tilt Dak isn’t willing to do more team friendly deal then Dallas could use the non exclusive franchise tag on Dak receive a team’s next 2 first round picks and they can afford Stafford.

  7. There’s a lot of potential landing spots. Going down the teams in the league, teams that could use him without any maneuvering:

    Patriots
    Colts
    Broncos
    WFT

    Teams that could use him, would take conditions:

    Jets (if they want to trade Darnold)
    Eagles (depends on Wentz)
    Bears (unlikely; same division)
    Cowboys (if they don’t sign Dak)
    Giants (if they move on from Jones)
    Saints (unlikely; their cap situation is awful)
    Steelers (unlikely; signed Haskins, though if Ben retires, they’d move near the top of the list)
    Texans (if they trade Watson)
    49ers (if they’re unhappy with Jimmy)

    Everyone else seems pretty set at QB, though I could see a wild card like the Dolphins emerging.

    • jimmyduz0523

      Dak will either get franchised again or a new contract. So i would take Dallas off the list.

      • Yes, that’s fair. I certainly think they’d be foolish to let him go, but I put them there because the Cowboys don’t necessarily do the right thing all of the time.

      • bradthebluefish

        Cowboys could trade Dak upon franchise tagging him. I’m sure the Bears would gladly take Dak for a year.

      • dmarcus15

        I wouldn’t take Dallas off the list if Dak isn’t willing to sign a team friendly contract if he doesn’t Dallas could put the non exclusive tag on him get the 2 first rounders and make a move for Stafford.

    • crosseyedlemon

      It’s interesting that the Raiders aren’t on anyone’s radar. There has been speculation for some time that Gruden would deal Carr and he has a fondness for veteran QBs like Stafford.

      • Appalachian_Outlaw

        As a Raider fan, I want them to fire Gruden, not trade Carr. Carr is a good QB. Gruden got a SB trophy off of Dungy’s work, and has done nothing of note ever since.

  8. nickolai

    It’s going to be the Colts or Patriots. If there is no first round tied to it then hang up the phone. He’s still under contract so you can play hardball.

    • saluelthpops

      And he doesn’t want to be in Detroit, so everyone else can play hardball too. Should be interesting.

        • nickolai

          I agree. A lot of teams will be wanting him and they can take the offer they want. Hopefully they get something good in return and build this right.

    • emarque

      Can’t play hardball when they both already decided to move on. It’ll be a 2nd and a player.

      • nickolai

        Read the article from Detroit. If they don’t find value in the trade they will keep him for 2021 so yes they can play hardball. Not to mention, there’s a lot of teams who could use a good qb that want to win now.

  9. saintpatrick

    Do the Jets trade back to 7 so Detroit can get a QB and they (Jets) stockpile more picks?

  10. TheCoryWade

    I would love him to be on the Giants. Daniel Jones is not the answer.

    • Perksy

      I would too. The giants do not have the greatest cap situation though, nor the best draft capital. Plus they have a ton of holes.

  11. phillyballers

    Franchise and trade Dak for Stafford. Then the Cowboys can refocus $ on DBs, DL, and OL.

    • dugdog83

      Lions don’t want a “coming back from injury franchised price” Dak. They want a 1st RD pick.

        • phillyballers

          Certainly wont get a Top-10 1st. Maybe Skins or Colts or Jets via Seattle. Or if Jax somehow trades out of #1 for a stockpile of picks and uses #25 in a Stafford deal.

    • Stat_head

      Stafford is better and cheaper than Dak. He’d have a SV ring if he had that line with Elliott in the backfield throwing to Cooper. Combined with a defense that doesn’t hold the NFL record for most consecutive games blowing a double digit lead and he’d be very successful.

  12. Simmons>Russ

    That’s very interesting, a smart move by Stafford really. Lots of teams are looking at the QB market and beside Watson who hasn’t requested a trade yet he would be seen as one of the best available.
    Ofcourse Dak has FA and Wentz could be on the block but unlikely.
    Jets, WFT, Pats, Colts, Broncos, Cowboys, I suspect there to be a few teams interested.

    Jets have the most pieces for a trade. I suspect Darnold plus this years second (34th overall) and a future second round pick could get it done. Lions would be getting a replacement QB, a high second/basically a late first and a future 2nd rounder.
    Jets could then take either Sewell or Smith at the top of the draft. Then with the second first take Najee Harris and your offence is basically set for the next 5-10 years.

    However with the Rivers retiring and them saying we aren’t going to draft a QB maybe they make a lot of sense. They have cap room and a good offence already set up for a QB. Not to mention with Rivers, Brissett, Mack and Hilton all coming off the books they will have some money to spend on offence in FA, if they got Stafford and got him to convince Galloday to come that’s a huge win.

      • Simmons>Russ

        I never said they would trade that pick. I said trade Darnold, the 34th pick and a future second round pick.
        Stafford isn’t worth the second overall pick he’s definitely not that good and is as you said 32 years old.

        • saintpatrick

          Ah got it. I think the Jets need to keep every pick they have and figure out ways to get more (trade back, trade players, etc.)

      • dmarcus15

        I see the Jets trading for Watson Darnold and their 2 first rounder and a first next year.

        • saintpatrick

          Which me, a naive fan currently laying on my couch, thinks they shouldn’t do. I get Watson is a great player. Not denying that. But they are so many players away from competing, I would think they wouldn’t want to mortgage the future for one guy, even if he is Watson

          • Simmons>Russ

            Why would Watson want to go to them anyway. Pretty sure he has a no trade clause. They are even worse than the Texans

  13. Yep it is

    Can’t blame him wanting out. Especially with Bozo the Clown head coach coming in. It just becomes old fast with these types of coaches. Patricia was a joke and Bozo will be worse.

    • Ak185

      I think the Campbell deal was surprising due to the length but do you have any reason for calling him Bozo?

  14. chicagofan1978

    Colts for sure. Get a couple good guys to help your defense and maybe try to trade for deshaun Watson?

  15. brave new world

    This has Denver all over it,

    Broncos send a 2021 2nd rounder, a conditional 2022 2nd rounder that elevates to a #1 if Denver makes the playoffs. + KJ Hamler

    • Ak185

      This is not a trade that a new GM makes walking through the door, and they really like Hamler. They are not sending Hamler over for two or so years of Stafford. If anything, Lock is far more likely a candidate, as well as Phillip Lindsay, who Denver has forgotten about for some reason.

      In any case, we don’t really know much about Payton’s process yet. He said he wanted to “not take shortcuts”, which is of course just coach/exec speak, but indicates a desire to draft more than sign important players. Again, that sort of nonspecific talk is mostly for media, but we don’t know Paton’s process yet. I doubt he does this deal in his first year, but if he does, he’s not likely to send Hamler.

  16. Appalachian_Outlaw

    I think Washington makes the most sense. The defense is pretty solid, they’ve got some good RBs… They were doing alright with Smith, and Stafford would be an upgrade over Smith.

  17. Chris Hager

    I can see them trading Stafford for picks, then trading up with Miami, sending #7 and additional picks to move up to #3 to draft a QB.

  18. mumsy01

    I don’t think teams will be falling all over themselves for Matt Stanford. He throws a lot of picks. Of all of the teams I see the Steelers and Colts making sense for a 3rd and 5th rounder and only because the contract is favorable. No bad team should look at him.

    • oldleftylong

      Stafford’s best years are ahead of him, … given a competitive team. He’s tough as nails and will be in the league another 6-8 years.

    • dugdog83

      Stafford and Aaron Rodgers are the only QBs in NFL history to throw for 45,000 yards and only 150 ints.

      Your stat is wrong. Most of his pics come from forcing the ball in comebacks cuz the lions are so bad

    • Appalachian_Outlaw

      He’s thrown interceptions because he’s never had a run game, the Lions are constantly trailing because of poor teams, and teams know what’s coming. That’s the downside to having to sling the rock forty or fifty times a game. That’s not an indictment on Stafford.

      His only downside is the contract will limit his suitors, but even that is pretty reasonable for the market now. I think he’ll command a late first or an early second round pick + something else.

      • Ak185

        His contract’s pretty good, actually. The picks will be the major impediment (draft picks, that is) and the limited upwards potential due to age. You have to be comfortable playing the “estimating how many quality years left” scenario if you trade for Stafford, given his age and the hits he’s taken. I don’t say this to say that he is necessarily not worth it, just to illustrate the major concerns teams will have to weigh.

  19. MFP09

    Broncos got two firsts and a 3rd from the Bears for Cutler and a 5th. I would def like to see multiple picks thats for sure.

  20. PatsFanBiff

    Why are people saying Stafford will go for a 1st? No GM in their right mind will send a 1st for a QB going into the twilight of his career.

    That said, 2 teams immediately stand out as prospective landing spots: Colts and Patriots.

    Rivers’ retirement certainly opens up the door though unsure their cap situation. With the certainty of Cam departing for free agency (Please Lord!), and amply cap space, I could see Stafford landing here. Use the draft to grab weapons, or even Big Mac Jones if he is still available and have Stafford groom him. Trade Stidham and whatever appropriate pick, probably the 3rd we will get for Brady’s departure.

    • Appalachian_Outlaw

      Curious, why a lot of people are saying N.E.? They’re not really in any better position than Detroit, aside from having a better coach. They have zero offensive weapons whatsoever. I don’t understand why N.E. keeps popping up aside from need at the position. I don’t see where it’d be a destination Stafford would want to go.

      • Ak185

        Well, the gap at QB, really. Despite their at face value bad season, they only ended up a game under .500 and their defense was absolutely gutted by injuries and opt-outs, not to mention their offensive line. N.E. figures to be in a much better position than Detroit going forward, with the contingency that the Jets do not improve significantly enough to take a few more wins from them. The potential for a winning season with Stafford could be there in some form, even I personally may be skeptical of a rebuilding team run by a man who likes extra picks sending them over for an aged quarterback.

        • Appalachian_Outlaw

          I guess that’s possible. I’m a big fan of Stafford’s play, I just don’t know if he can elevate them without any weapons to work with. Without the picks it’d take in the trade, they’d be forced to find free agents and late round draft gems. New England’s one big weakness is that they’ve always seemed to struggle evaluating WRs, too. I guess I can maybe understand aiming for a WC though and hoping for some magic.

      • PatsFanBiff

        The Patriots have a defense, We have a ton of cap space and there are some receivers that will hit the market. As for the past season’s offense, it’s really hard to judge what some had as we didn’t have a QB.

        While I think Stafford is slightly above average, I have 0 doubt the Patriots would have made the playoffs had we had him this season. The defense did their job, despite the Cam led offense performing like a HS team

  21. Cody

    Stafford on the colts would be a legit super bowl contender. I’m a big stafford fan and just hope he gets a chance with a winner.

  22. herbert schaefer

    miami takes stafford and pick number 7. give lions pick number 3 andtoa or 2nd round pick

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