Matthew Stafford isn’t going anywhere.
That’s what Lions General Manager Bob Quinn told the quarterback on the phone after trade rumors surfaced earlier this month.
“I called Matthew and I said, ‘Listen, I haven’t had one conversation. I’m not trying to; we’re not trading you. Period,'” Quinn said, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “And he was great. He was like, ‘Yeah, I don’t want to go anywhere.'”
The trade rumor came out of nowhere and makes no sense. As PFT previously reported, the Lions would take a dead cap hit of $24.8 million if Stafford were traded.
Plus, Quinn and coach Matt Patricia are on notice from ownership to show improvement, something they have a better chance to do with Stafford than with a rookie quarterback.
“In terms of the whole rumor on Stafford, I think I’ve texted a lot of people here that it’s like 100 percent false,” Quinn said. “If we need to add a third exclamation point, we will. So I don’t know where that came from.”
That doesn’t mean the Lions won’t draft a quarterback with the third overall choice. They are in position to draft Stafford’s heir apparent, and Quinn said they won’t rule out any position.
Stafford, 32, played only eight games last season, landing on injured reserve late in the season with a back injury. He had 19 touchdowns and five interceptions.
“You look at your quarterback and see how he’s playing,” Quinn said. “One thing about Matthew is like his No. 1 trait is still the same as it was when I came here 4 1/2 years ago. He still has that great arm strength. He’s a competitor. He’s tough. He’s sneaky athletic. I think he’s improved his athleticism a little bit over his career. He does a great job taking care of his body. You take all those things into consideration, just like any other player, you have to see, are they ascending, are they declining. And I think it’s different for every position in terms of how old they are.”