Report: Lions trying to trade Matthew Stafford

Getty Images

The biggest domino of the offseason continue to be Tom Brady, but another fairly large domino may be creating a cloud of dust before Brady does.

Bernie Smilovitz of WDIV in Detroit reports that the Lions are trying to line up a trade of veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford.

“[T]rade talks concerning the quarterback have been underway for a couple of weeks,” Smilovitz says, citing unnamed sources close to Stafford and the Lions.

At this point, I’m just the messenger. The name “Bernie Smilovitz” has never before appeared on this page. This doesn’t make him wrong, but it definitely gives the report a far different initial vibe than if it came from someone with a track record of breaking Lions news specifically or NFL news generally.

As mentioned at the bottom of the WDIV story, Stafford’s wife, Kelly, has reacted to trade rumors on Instagram. She placed the message “Well, if Detroit is done with us” over an image of a story regarding trade talk. On the next page, which mentions the Chargers, she adds, “I could stay in Cali.”

Two factors make the possibility of a trade to the Chargers or anyone much harder to accomplish. First, trading Stafford would trigger a $32 million cap charge for 2020 — $19 million more than the $13 million that otherwise counts this year for past signing bonus and restructuring. The Lions would avoid only $8.3 million in salary and roster bonus this year, which makes his cash component dirt cheap (and which makes his contract, which runs through 2022, very easy to absorb by a new team).

Second, Lions owner Martha Firestone Ford’s comments indicating that no major changes would be made in 2020 also suggest that it is a prove-it-or-move-it year for the current coaching staff and front office. If coach Matt Patricia and G.M. Bob Quinn need to get to the playoffs or close to them this year, keeping Stafford in lieu of breaking in a new quarterback would likely enhance that. Throw in the fact that the Lions clearly are hearing fan complaints about the organization, and dumping Stafford would do little to secure the benefit of the doubt from the paying customers if 2020 starts off sideways.

So I’m skeptical of this one, for now. But even if Smilovitz is wrong, the fact that the report has been published serves an important purpose for the Lions: It could prompt someone who needs a quarterback to start thinking about Stafford, and possibly to make the Lions an offer they can’t refuse for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 draft.

21 responses to “Report: Lions trying to trade Matthew Stafford

  1. Draft Tua or somebody, and have a built-in excuse for your 2020 W-L record while possibly buying yourself another year or two to develop the kid, would presumably be the idea, since they know they can’t coach this roster up anywhere near the playoffs.

  2. It would actually give them an excuse to go 0-16 next year. Patricia has been trending that way anyway going from Caldwell (9 wins), to Patricia’s first year (6 wins), Patricia’s 2nd year (3 wins).

    It is almost unfathomable that he’s being brought back for a 3rd year as it is but let’s completely decimate this team and move it to Miami. Oh wait, this isn’t the movie Major League.

  3. In the next collective bargaining agreement they need to change the rules on cap charge and dead money. It kills roster moves and causes teams to be hamstrung for years due to 1-2 bad contracts.

    As a fan it sucks.

  4. Stafford has never won anything. The only consonant is him losing in Detroit. I hope management trade him.

  5. Stafford is a really good QB and a class act. Come on Detroit, don’t selfishly “Barry Sanders” the guy. Give him a break and send him to a team that has a chance to win something.

  6. Stafford to the Bucs (much younger then Rivers and Arians needs a experienced QB that likes to take hits) or Raiders (unless the Raiders already have Brady, Gruden hates rookie QB’s), Lions get Tau or Herbert with the 3rd pick then have 4 to 5 years to make a Superbowl run on a cheap QB contract.

    Chargers aren’t going to trade unless it is like a 3rd rounder for the same principal, need cheap QB contract to make a Superbowl run.

  7. Another peg in the “Myth of the Franchise QB”.

    No player is worth the salary of 6 NFL starters combined.
    Mahomes is about to prove that with his next contract.

    You must assemble a well balanced team and do your best to win on that rookie contract. Let some other sucker pay the ransom for the QB trade before the next contract kicks in.

  8. Stafford’s an above-average passer and gamer but stats nose-dive in the playoffs. And those stats are flattered by mediocre strength of schedule – if you look at the last two >500 years, (2016 & 17) it was 26th & 17th respectively. The last good in year 2014? – it was 20th. 2014 folks, it’s a long time to hold an ok QB. Not a franchiser, but prob too costly to ship in 2020.

  9. This trade, if it were to happen, would be the worst decision in Lions franchise history. Worse than the maltreatment of Barry Sanders and Calvin Johnson. Worse than the trade of Bobby Layne. This would be completely moronic and would alienate all 5 remaining Lions fans

  10. We would welcome Matthew in Minnesota with open arms! Can you imagine the one-two punch of Cousins-Stafford? Defenses wouldn’t know who to prepare for! And it would give Stafford something he’s never had before – top-of-the-league talent at every position on both sides of the ball!

  11. Stafford chose money over a chance to win a SB. I don’t blame him for that but let’s not feel bad for him. That was his choice not to become a Free Agent and take the most money.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!