Detroit TV station doubles down on its Matthew Stafford trade talk report

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On Thursday, Local 4 dropped a deuce on the Detroit Lions’ offseason by reporting that the team is engaged in trade talks regarding quarterback Matthew Stafford. On Friday, Local 4 doubled down.

“The Detroit Lions have denied Local 4′s report that they’ve been engaged in trade talks with quarterback Matthew Stafford for the past few weeks,” the station posted earlier today. “We stand by our story and by our sources. We find tremendous validity in what we are reporting because of what Kelly Stafford posted on Instagram. Before our report was made, she posted that if Detroit was done with her husband, then they would like to go to the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chargers need a quarterback after Philip Rivers left.

“The fact that Kelly posted that before our report tells us things were going behind the scenes, and our sources later confirmed it. Again, we are only reporting trade talks for Stafford and those talks have definitely taken place.”

That’s the entirety of the new item posted at the WDIV website.

Thursday’s trade-talks story from Local 4 initially attributed the reporting to sources close to Stafford and the Lions. The original item was quietly revised to abandon the reference to sources close to Stafford.

So here’s where it gets even more interesting. Last year, Kelly Stafford submitted to an extensive interview with Local 4. The station’s decision to justify its reporting after the fact by pointing to social-media comments from Kelly Stafford that predated the Local 4 report invites fair speculation that someone from Local 4 contacted her to see what’s really going on, after seeing her social-media comments. Which, depending on what she said to Local 4, possibly could make her one of the sources for the report. If not the only source for the report.

That’s where the station’s decision to quietly scrub “sources close to Stafford” from the original report becomes more significant. Removing any reference to Stafford from the sourcing of the report would be the equivalent of throwing dirt on the trail that could lead back to Kelly Stafford, if she was one of the sources and/or the only source.

Of course, today’s decision to specifically name Kelly Stafford and to cite her social-media comments that were made in response to trade speculation cuts against the idea that Local 4 is trying to conceal her as a potential source. But Local 4 has been under assault over the past 24 hours or so, and if (I’m speculating here) she told Local 4 that trade talks are happening and the Lions are pushing back aggressively and people are crying #fakenews, Local 4 may have decided to be a little (or a lot) less careful about protecting her as a source, if she was one of the sources or perhaps the only source for the original report.

Here’s why all of this is important: What if (and I’m speculating here) the Lions don’t want to trade Stafford but Stafford (who is due to make only $8.3 million this year) secretly wants to be traded? This is one of the ways that the process could get rolling, with certain sources close to Stafford trying to essentially speak (or at least leak) a trade into existence.

The Lions, if it gets to that point, would surely resist trading Stafford. But it’s one thing to tell a tackle or a tight end or a running back that he’s not getting traded. The starting quarterback needs to be all in. If Stafford wants out, and if he’s eventually willing to say and do things that show that (like, for example, staying away from offseason workouts, not showing up early and staying late, and not generally acting as an extension of management) it becomes very hard to keep him.

A starting quarterback under contract for multiple additional years has never really made a power play like that, at least not in the free-agency era. And I’m not saying it will happen now. But the Local 4 report and the tentacles flowing from it justify paying close attention to whether and when there will be an effort by Stafford to get him traded to a new team in a new town with a new contract that better reflects the current quarterback market.

47 responses to “Detroit TV station doubles down on its Matthew Stafford trade talk report

  1. Where there’s smoke there’s usually some fire. If the Lions plan on drafting a QB with their first rounder this makes sense since I suspect their bargaining leverage will be lessened once they have already drafted a QB and their intentions/needs are clear. Otherwise, the trade talks make no sense.

  2. Stafford would be so lucky.

    Marvin Jones instead of Calvin Johnson?!?

    Nice choice, Detroit.

    I TOLD YA… Jones was overrated.

  3. I’ve never understood the infatuation with Stafford. He’s an ok quarterback. He’s been paid a ton of money over his career because he was drafted when #1 picks weren’t subjected to the rookie wage scale (just like Sam Bradford). He’s thrown for a ton of yards and TDs but has he ever really elevated his team to even being competitive? He’s Jay Cutler but more likable.

  4. These Tua guys are always good for a laugh.

    In his three seasons at Georgia…
    … Matt Stafford had 6 rushing tds and 7731 passing yards.

    In his three seasons at Alabama…
    … Tagovailoa had 9 rushing tds and 7442 passing yards.

  5. hesarussianasshat says:

    $32 million in dead cap money for 2020.
    ———————-

    If the Lions were smart they would take the hit, get some draft picks, clear the cap space and try to build with someone who can win a title.

    Detroit isn’t winning anything with Stafford at QB. Once they realize that they need to cut bait and start the rebuild.

  6. atthemurph says:
    February 14, 2020 at 2:09 pm
    hesarussianasshat says:

    $32 million in dead cap money for 2020.
    ———————-

    If the Lions were smart they would take the hit, get some draft picks, clear the cap space and try to build with someone who can win a title.

    Detroit isn’t winning anything with Stafford at QB. Once they realize that they need to cut bait and start the rebuild.

    ———————————————-

    no team is going to dedicate 16% +/- of their cap to dead money on one player…

  7. The Lions will screw this up in Lion’s fashion, they’re the most pathetic and mismanaged franchise in the history of sports next to the Browns.

  8. Sad how logic and salary cap ramifications escape people. Next year, 2021, it makes a lot of sense.

  9. My best memory of Stafford is when he quick snapped the ball at the goal line and just stuck it over the line. That was crazy.

  10. I think a couple things 1) there’s a lot of QB drama going on lately, more than I can remember in just about any previous year, and 2) it all stems from the Kirk Cousins deal. I think most of these guys are like “If that bum can get 30-million a year, I want a new team and/or new deal.”

  11. The Lions should have drafted Mahommes because Stafford has been a dumpster fire of turnovers for 12 years.

  12. Sounds like Kelly is trying to help drive up the price for that third pick. Make other qb desperate teams think they may take Tua and maybe just maybe a team trades with Washington and the lions get the player they really want. Chase Young

  13. This is my opinion, The Lions would be loony to trade him. Stafford usually is a top 10 QB, but he’s now a top 5 QB. In no particular order – Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Deshaun Watson and Mathew Stafford are the best QB’s in the league RIGHT NOW. Drew Brees is maybe 6th. Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady were not. If you want to add them in there it still puts Stafford in the top 10. I’m not even sure who the other 2 would be.

    Stafford is a great QB who played on teams with bad coaching, bad running game, bad OL, and bad defense. This is why he held the record for most comebacks in a game. When he went out last season, it didn’t take a rocket scientist to know they’d lose out the rest of the way. The defense was most to blame because it was awful, but Stafford, in his 11 seasons is the one and only guy that made this team competent. Even making the playoffs a few times and having winning records.

    Mahomes gets praised because he joined an already good team. But the way Mahomes throws is old news. Stafford was the master. Not to mention Stafford took a beating season after season and still got right back up. He’s extremely smart, and reads defenses like a book. He’s his own OC. One of the rare QB’s like a Peyton Manning who can do that.

    As far as the rumor goes, the media has been talking about Stafford being traded in “what if” scenario’s for a while. Without rumors. Kelly Stafford is very vocal, impulsive and protective. She was just responding to a random “what if” article. Mathew Stafford doesn’t even have social media.

    Stafford never showed any signs of a guy who wasn’t loyal and who didn’t want to be there. If, out the blue, Stafford and his wife decided they wanted to be traded, it is most likely because of Matt Patricia and Bob Quin. Another “culture” fit problem. If that was the case, were you’re about to lose your franchise player, your money maker, your only hope, the guy that kept this team from going 0-16 every season, a top 5/10 QB then both MP and BQ should be fired on the spot. Don’t do Mathew Stafford like you did Barry Sanders and Calvin Johnson. Both who retired early.

    Overall, I highly doubt he’s getting traded because I refuse to believe these people have marbles for brains. I think it’s just a smoke screen to get the Dolphins or another team like the Chargers to trade up to that 3rd spot and get a good return.

  14. The one constant with the Lions and there continual losing is Stafford, he and the Lions probably could use a change of scenery. Stafford’s salary is very right for a team like the Patriots (much younger and cheaper then Brady), Raiders, Cowboys, Bucs, Saints and the Chargers as they make runs, minus Gruden who hates younger QB’s and Carr. Brady and Rivers are way to old to take a chance with but a 2nd rounder or even a lower 1st rounder for Stafford and much cheaper than the $30 plus million for someone like Dak. Lions eat the salary but draft Tau or Herbert, or trade up for Burrows, sets the lions up for at least the next 5 plus years as the Bears, Vikings and GB (Rodgers looks like he is hanging on to the cliff) have to find new QB’s.

  15. Whatever excuses these dizzy marble filled headed Lions fans want to come up with, there is NO denying the 63 year track record of one playoff win in Detroit. Sanders, Stafford, Johnson…blah blah blah, the Lions are the worst team in the NFC historically and currently. Mitch Trubisky is undefeated against Matthew Stafford and the Lions, if that doesn’t sum it up for you, I don’t know what else does…..maybe the three failed playoff win attempts due to Stafford’s turnovers in critical situations. Lions will blame the refs for those losses, so typical.

  16. My sources have told me this all centers around Brady wanting to show he can do it without Bill, and doing it in Detroit with Matt Patricia whom he trusts, everything else you hear is a smokescreen

  17. Trade Stafford for a bunch of draft picks. Scare everyone into over buying this year’s pick and score some more draft picks. Snag as many underperforming high drafts on the last year of their rookie deals in process. Then draft or sign every guy in the that is undervalued because of character issues. Then go balls-to-the-walls for one glorious season!

  18. Stafford is the only good quarterback that the Lions have had in my lifetime. He does everything right. Has never put down his team or said anything to cause a stir. He’s involved in the community. He was having his best year ever by most metrics before he went out. I believe he is a top ten guy, and I like it when he has the ball with two minutes left. I have seen him pull it off so many times. I have no idea why any Lions fan would want to trade him. I still think he can get us there.

  19. TrubiskyisGarbageButHeOwnsTheLions#BAcktoBAckSweeps! says:
    February 14, 2020 at 5:30 pm

    Whatever excuses these dizzy marble filled headed Lions fans want to come up with, there is NO denying the 63 year track record of one playoff win in Detroit. Sanders, Stafford, Johnson…blah blah blah, the Lions are the worst team in the NFC historically and currently. Mitch Trubisky is undefeated against Matthew Stafford and the Lions, if that doesn’t sum it up for you, I don’t know what else does…..maybe the three failed playoff win attempts due to Stafford’s turnovers in critical situations. Lions will blame the refs for those losses, so typical.

    __________________________

    I agree with this summary, whether it’s a troll or not he’s 100% right.

  20. dbarry14 says:
    February 14, 2020 at 12:37 pm

    I’ve never understood the infatuation with Stafford. He’s an ok quarterback. He’s been paid a ton of money over his career because he was drafted when #1 picks weren’t subjected to the rookie wage scale (just like Sam Bradford). He’s thrown for a ton of yards and TDs but has he ever really elevated his team to even being competitive? He’s Jay Cutler but more likable.
    ———-

    Some teams are beyond being elevated much by a QB. Does anyone really think a prime Tom Brady would’ve elevated the *Lions* to much of anything? Tbh, they’ve always had a mediocre or bad defense and no run game. They get a decent HC in Jim Caldwell, and they can him after a 9-7 season.

  21. TrubiskyisGarbageButHeOwnsTheLions#BAcktoBAckSweeps! says:
    February 14, 2020 at 5:30 pm

    Whatever excuses these dizzy marble filled headed Lions fans want to come up with, there is NO denying the 63 year track record of one playoff win in Detroit. Sanders, Stafford, Johnson…blah blah blah, the Lions are the worst team in the NFC historically and currently. Mitch Trubisky is undefeated against Matthew Stafford and the Lions, if that doesn’t sum it up for you, I don’t know what else does…..maybe the three failed playoff win attempts due to Stafford’s turnovers in critical situations. Lions will blame the refs for those losses, so typical.

    ——

    Lot of truth here, but I 100% understand why Lions fans are frustrated with bad calls. Everyone gets them, but there’s no denying the Lions have been on the receiving end of some of the worst calls of the past decade, and one of those calls cost them a playoff win vs the Cowboys.

    I’m not a Lions fan, btw.

  22. PFT loves the Steelers says:
    February 14, 2020 at 6:44 pm

    TrubiskyisGarbageButHeOwnsTheLions#BAcktoBAckSweeps! says:
    February 14, 2020 at 5:30 pm

    Whatever excuses these dizzy marble filled headed Lions fans want to come up with, there is NO denying the 63 year track record of one playoff win in Detroit. Sanders, Stafford, Johnson…blah blah blah, the Lions are the worst team in the NFC historically and currently. Mitch Trubisky is undefeated against Matthew Stafford and the Lions, if that doesn’t sum it up for you, I don’t know what else does…..maybe the three failed playoff win attempts due to Stafford’s turnovers in critical situations. Lions will blame the refs for those losses, so typical.

    ——

    Lot of truth here, but I 100% understand why Lions fans are frustrated with bad calls. Everyone gets them, but there’s no denying the Lions have been on the receiving end of some of the worst calls of the past decade, and one of those calls cost them a playoff win vs the Cowboys.

    I’m not a Lions fan, btw.

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    Oh yes you are, you’re the master of changing your name to hide the shame of being a said Lion’s fan.

  23. Pat fans say that Belicheat is playing chess while other coaches are playing checkers. Well for 62 years the Fords have been playing “Go Fish”.

  24. The numbers don’t add up plus it’s a do or die year for Quinn and Patricia. It’s a benefit for the Lions to add more pressure for teams to move up and ahead of them. Miami panics, gives a boatload of picks to Washington and Detroit gets Chase Young! Thats a win….

  25. The Bears, Chargers, Cowboys, and Colts could be interesting spots. Honestly, he has played for the Lions how much of a chance has he really had. He has only had one good coach.

  26. I thought Detroit could/would trade ‘Statsford’ and then be a sleeper for Brady but with Matty Patty in an allegedly win or get fired year, and a monster cap hit for two years, I think he stays.

  27. Brady isn’t going to play in Detroit. Brady wants to win a Super Bowl. That’s not happening in Detroit. When the Pats lost the SuperBowl, the defensive genius for the Pats was Patricia. He’s wayyyy overrated.

    As an LA resident, I would love – absolutely love – to see Stafford in a Chargers uniform. I’d buy a Stafford jersey as soon as they sign him. But the Chargers aren’t going to win the Super Bowl either, no matter who the QB is!

  28. I’ve been saying this since the beginning of last season, the trio of Stafford, Patricia and Quinn have until the 2020 to win a playoff game. If they don’t, clean house.

    I do think there is subterfuge going on with these rumors. I can see Quinn telling Stafford(kelly also) that they are going to start rumors about wanting to trade him and not to pay attention to them because they just want to get some action going at the #2 and #3 pick for a QB.

  29. Stafford = Nice guy, pretty good QB, nice family, but has a record of like 6 – 4,893 against team with winning records with zero playoff wins. Maybe just maybe it’s time for a shake up. Even Tebow won a playoff game and that was like ten years ago.

  30. Every game the Lions lose is the refs fault.

    It’s definitely NOT the six decades of uncanny mismanagement and dysfunction.

  31. Lot of truth here, but I 100% understand why Lions fans are frustrated with bad calls. Everyone gets them, but there’s no denying the Lions have been on the receiving end of some of the worst calls of the past decade, and one of those calls cost them a playoff win vs the Cowboys.

    I’m not a Lions fan, btw.

    __________________

    You mean the Cowboys vs. Lions playoff game in 2015 where Stafford fumbled twice and threw one interception. The two fumbles where in pressure situations in the 4th quarter are 100% proof that Stafford can’t handle a playoff game and get his job done because he’s not a top 10 QB.

    Keep saying it was because of only one possibly controversial call tho….

  32. nagyisterrible says:
    February 16, 2020 at 3:02 pm

    Bernie is hands down the worst sportscaster in Detroit.

    ________________________

    That’s a perfect fit to commentate for the worst team (LIONS) in sports globally!

    Also Nagy was Coach of the Year last season.

    Patricia is far and way the worst coach in the division and will be fired within 10 months. Lions won’t be competitive anytime soon, but you’re used to it after 63 years of failure in Detroit…

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