Despite a stellar 12-seasons with the Detroit Lions, on Saturday, news broke that the Matthew Stafford era is over, as the two camps have agreed to part ways for the upcoming 2021 season.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 23, 2021
Already, rumors have started to swirl about possible landing spots for the former #1 overall pick. I’ll discuss which teams make sense in a possible trade, but I am keeping out all the details on any transactions or money or cap space or anything like that, this is straight up video game trade here.
I’ve come up with seven possible teams right now, that all bear some attention to the Stafford situation. So here they are…
Patriots- New England has never really been a team with a quarterback problem, mostly because they’ve had a steady signal caller since 1993 (Drew Bledsoe) up until last offseason, when Tom Brady left. But now, the Patriots find themselves without a starter under center after parting ways with Cam Newton, but with the news that Stafford is available, the Patriots could be in play. I seriously doubt this happens. If anything, I still believe a trade to get back Jimmy Garoppolo is much more realistic than anything, but again, the Patriots have a QB situation because they don’t have a QB right now.
Colts- Of all the teams on this list, the Colts make the most sense for a landing spot for Stafford. Philip Rivers recently retired, leaving Indy with a hole at QB. Despite drafting Jacob Eason last year, the Colts are ready to compete now for a Super Bowl, so a trade for Stafford means you hit the ground running with a team that quiet honestly, should have beaten the Buffalo Bills in the Wild Card game.
49ers- Ah the 49ers. It seems every single time a QB’s name is mentioned as being on the trading block or in free agency, the 49ers come up as well. Look, Jimmy Garoppolo is a winner, period. He’s 24-9 as the starting quarterback for the 49ers, and he was seven minutes away from winning a Super Bowl, but…Garoppolo also has a difficult time staying healthy. While Philip Rivers retired from the league never having missed a game, Garoppolo has missed 23 games since joining the 49ers in 2017. And that’s a problem. Stafford has missed a total of 14 games in his entire 12-year career in the league, and that’s enticing if you are the 49ers. As someone once told me, “a players best ability, is his availability”, so don’t rule this out.
Bears- Despite some success, including making the playoffs this year, I seriously doubt that the Bears are coming back next season with Mitchell Trubisky at quarterback, I think that’s pretty much run its course. I also think it’s highly unlikely that the Lions trade Stafford to an inter-conference rival like Chicago, no way this happens…right?
Washington- Talking about Trubisky and the Bears running their course, brings back memories of Alex Smith’s time in San Francisco (pre-Harbaugh days). Smith is a solid quarterback still, despite the injuries, but the bottom line is, Stafford is an instant upgrade too for the Washington Football Team that not only won the division with three different QBs starting, but also gave Tampa Bay everything they could handle in the Wild Card, albeit with a 4th string quarterback. Stafford to Washington without giving up a 1st round pick would be an amazing win for them.
Dolphins- Last season, it was “Tank for Tua”, and now, depending on who you believe or what you read, it seems Tua might be on his way out, ala Josh Rosen 2019. Miami won games with Tua, but they were at another level offensively when Ryan Fitzpatrick was there, the comeback against the Raiders proved that point pretty decisively. I again doubt any trade happens that sends Stafford to Miami, I think Deshaun Watson has a better shot at Miami than Stafford does, but you never know. They completely whiffed on Drew Brees all those years ago, so maybe they don’t want to pass on another missed opportunity like this.
Texans- What a nice story it would be for the Houston Texans and Matthew Stafford, as a trade would send the Texas boy back to his home state to play for a franchise that is the AFC’s version of the Detroit Lions…oh gosh, please no, don’t let this happen! Come on Mr. Goodell, you cannot allow this monstrosity to happen!
So that’s it for now. We’ll see what happens in the next couple of days, weeks, and months. It’s an interesting development nonetheless for both Stafford and the Lions.
A fresh start for Detroit, and the possible missing piece for another franchise.