Matthew Stafford listed the Rams atop his destination list, but Mike Klis of 9News notes the longtime Lions quarterback approved the Broncos as a landing spot. And the teams reached the offer stage in their talks.
While the Lions ended up accepting the Rams’ offer centered around two first-round picks, they had interest in both picks and players from the Broncos. The Lions were interested in sending Stafford to Denver because of the Broncos’ No. 9 overall pick, per Klis, who adds Detroit’s new regime was also interested in some of Denver’s young offensive talents.
It is not known which of the Broncos’ rookie-contract wide receivers appealed to the Lions, but Klis adds Drew Lock surfaced in these talks. Lock is coming off a wildly inconsistent season but is attached to a second-round deal that runs through 2022. The Lions instead took back Jared Goff, which allowed them to collect more in trade compensation from the Rams due to the former No. 1 overall pick’s onerous contract, but only will add a third-round pick to their 2021 draft arsenal.
Multiple proposals emerged in the Denver-Detroit talks, but Klis tweets none of the Broncos’ pitches were on the level of the Rams’ offer. Both the Broncos and Lions have new GMs, in George Paton and Brad Holmes, and the teams would have matched up at wide receiver — where the Broncos have three first- or second-round wideouts and the Lions have Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones on the cusp of free agency. It is unclear if Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton or K.J. Hamler surfaced in these trade talks, but Paton ultimately refused to part with the batch of young talents he is inheriting.
Stafford represented an obvious QB upgrade for the Broncos, who have experienced constant issues at the game’s premier spot since Peyton Manning‘s retirement. With Deshaun Watson not being connected to Denver yet, the prospect of the Broncos fielding a Lock-led QB room again is certainly in play. Prior to John Elway‘s exit, the Broncos were believed to be targeting a veteran to compete with Lock. Paton not being tied to Lock may also point to the Broncos giving stronger consideration to using the No. 9 overall pick on a quarterback.
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