I think we all expected Matthew Stafford‘s time as a Detroit Lion to come to an end this off-season, but it was still a shock to hear it confirmed.
Stafford leaving the Lions is like Aaron Rodgers leaving the Green Bay Packers… not that I’m rooting for that to happen or anything. I’m totally not. I promise…
Stafford is considered a top tier quarterback and has played phenomenally over the years, but it would appear the Lions want to rebuild and Stafford is tired of their inability to help him win.
Over the years, the Georgia product has put up great numbers and there are multiple quarterback-needy teams that will be interested in taking him, but with his contract offering a $33 million cap hit, and the likely reduction of the cap overall, which teams can really afford to put it all on the soon-to-be 33 year old?
The only sticking point may be that Frank Reich may want to get Carson Wentz out of Philadelphia, but with his contract coming in at $100 million over the next three years, Stafford is definitely the safer option financially, especially considering Wentz’ play over the last few months.
Still, Wentz was phenomenal with Reich, so it’s a toss-up whether they want to let Reich re-partner up with his friend, or save money and move forward with Stafford. Personally, I’d take Stafford.
They have great weapons, too, so Stafford will have no doubts about his ability to get the job done. It’s a great fit.
I have no doubt that they’ll likely bring Hoyer back as he’s a capable third, but Stidham, so far, has not proven himself even close to being capable of being the number one quarterback for the team.
Stafford and Matt Patricia didn’t have the best of starts to their relationship with Detroit, but the opportunity to work with Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniel would be a big step to bridging that.
Also, the Patriots have cap to burn this off-season, and even after acquiring Stafford, they won’t be short of money. With the news coming out of the failed attempt to acquire a wide receiver coming out, that’ll likely assuage any concerns Stafford has about the Patriots being unwilling to bring in receivers, and who knows, he could even see himself lining up with Kenny Golladay again should the Patriots make a move for him. I can see that happening.
On top of that, Belichick is sixty-nine years of age so possibly won’t be keen on spending the next few years growing a rookie, and let’s not forget there’s something personal here – Belichick wants to win without Brady.
Washington were good this year! It was great! Their defence was dominant, but the offence left a lot to be desired. Quarterback issues plagued them all year, with Dwayne Haskins being poor both on and off the field leading to his eventual release, Alex Smith coming back from injury (which was awesome) wasn’t his old self, and, well, Heinecke showed up big in the play-offs with a great, hearty performance, but will they bank on him next year?
Alex Smith can be traded or released this year saving the team $14.7 million, and that should be reinvested with a signal caller the quality of Stafford.
Let’s not forget that they actually have $62 million in space this year. If they can bring him in and get him on the field with Terry McLaurin and Antonio Gibson, plus whichever weapons they plan to bring across, possibly Golladay or Allen Robinson, you’d have to think they’ll be a serious force next year.
Best of the rest
Hey, this is the NFL, and there will be more than those three potential landing spots, but those are who I would consider the front-runners. What is happening in Houston with Deshaun Watson? If they get a ton of picks for him, would they be willing to spend something on bringing in Stafford as a quick fix, or will they completely dismantle and rebuild with a cheaper rookie and address other areas? I don’t see them as a likely place for him to land, but they’re worth mentioning.
The Cowboys are similar – we don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors between Dak and the Cowboys brass, but there will likely be complications following from the inevitable ankle injury that the previous year’s contract dispute was going to spawn. I think Dak remains in Dallas. Jerry Jones is fond of him, and Dak of the franchise, but who really knows? Will Dak still hold out for the huge contract he desires, or will the injury force him to settle for less?
There is a scenario in which the Bears trade for Stafford. That’s a trade involving Nick Foles and a first for Stafford. I like this because the Lions are going to draft a QB, so Foles can tide them over until he’s ready to take over. This really works for both teams, but I just don’t see it happening. I don’t trust the Bears’ ability to get anything done, or judging by their history at quarterback, even to have the desire make the move.
Still, there are lots of unsettled quarterbacks and lots of quarterback-needy teams and it’s going to be a very interesting period across the league.
I hope you’re as excited as I am!