What’s next for Matthew Stafford?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Detroit Lions
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After a dozen seasons in Detroit, quarterback Matthew Stafford will be moving on. So where will he go?

Plenty of teams will be interested, especially with a contract that pays out only $20 million in 2021. (He may want a new deal on the way through the door, however.) Despite being only a one-time Pro Bowler (which seems very strange), Stafford has been one of the better quarterbacks of the past 12 years.

Or maybe the better phrase is “better passer.” As full-blown quarterbacks go, something always has been just a bit off. Stafford has seemed reluctant to lead in the way that players like Peyton Manning or Tom Brady do, imposing their will vocally onto others.

Stafford instead tends to lead by example. Unfortunately, the Lions haven’t put enough good players around him for that to make a difference.

One good player previously on the team — Reggie Bush — said after his stint in Detroit that the Lions lack chemistry. Bush once suggested a players-only meeting for the Lions, and Stafford disagreed.

He’s still a great thrower, and he has a real toughness when it comes to playing through injuries. Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians (who presumably won’t need a quarterback if Tom Brady returns) raved about Stafford before last month’s Saturday afternoon game between Tampa Bay and Detroit.

For many teams, Stafford provides an immediate upgrade as a passer. Interested teams, right off the bat, should include the Patriots, Steelers (if Ben Roethlisberger retires), Colts, Texans (if Deshaun Watson is traded), Raiders, Broncos, Washington, Bears, Panthers, Saints, Falcons (if Matt Ryan is traded), and 49ers (if Jimmy Garoppolo is traded).

Stafford’s next team will need a leadership structure that doesn’t require Stafford to carry that mantle. Or perhaps he needs the right kind of coaching. Or maybe he just needs some consistency in coaching, given the revolving door in Detroit over the past decade.

Then there’s the question of where Stafford wants to go. If a team is interested in Stafford but Stafford isn’t interested in that team, it won’t be a good match.

Still only 32 (he turns 33 on Super Bowl Sunday), Stafford has plenty of quality years left. And his next act quickly will become a Bizarro Brady-Belichick analysis. Who’s more responsible for 12 years of crap, organization or quarterback?

We’ll find out, starting this year. The first, and perhaps most important, question becomes where his second act will happen.

77 responses to “What’s next for Matthew Stafford?

  1. The 49ers need Stafford or Matt Ryan this offseason. They have a Super Bowl winning team outside of the quarterback position.

  2. Matt “arm like Elway” Stafford to the Broncos , DeSean Watson to the Jets, Matt Ryan to the Texans, Carson Wentz to the Colts, Jimmy Garrapolo back to the Patriots, & Cam Newton to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

  3. The Lions organization is a blight on the NFL, a national embarrassment in all reality. Good for Matt Stafford for telling them he’s had enough. I hope he lands in a good spot, but in reality anywhere is better than Detroit.

  4. Guess who ranks 7th All Time for career pick sixes w 23? Hint: He also has 0 career playoff wins.

  5. redclaw1314 says:
    January 23, 2021 at 8:01 pm
    Can Patricia pull him into Foxboro?
    ——————————————–
    Well, seeing as how there were numerous reports that Stafford did not care at all for Patricia and he did not back Patricia at all when asked late in the season, who knows? If he goes to New England, it will not be due to “pull” of Patricia.

  6. Watson goes to Jets 2 1st and Darnold. Jets sign Allen Robinson or Goodwin take Clemson rb 2nd round
    Darnold goes to San Francisco 2 2nds
    Jimmy back to New England 2 2nds
    Stafford to colts 1st n 3rd
    Texans draft Wilson 2nd overall and best OT at 23 or Harris.

  7. The brain spins with thoughts of what Sean Payton could do with Mathew Stafford. Drew Brees is a stud and a sure hall of famer, but facts are facts and for the last two seasons Payton’s offense has been geared down because of Drew’s flagging arm strength. Just imagine the Saints offense with Stafford.

  8. The 49ers certainly do not need Matt (just threw an unfortunate interception) Ryan

    And would Stafford really be an upgrade over jimmy G, based on what evidence

    His best fit is the Colts.

  9. Hes really never been that good….Dude scares NOONE late in the game with ball in his hands.

  10. Have PFT lost the plot. First Josh McCown being mentioned as a very good Qb. And now the Raiders should get Stafford ? What a joke

  11. I don’t see Stat Padford winning anywhere. Accumulates stats as good as anyone but just not a winning player.

  12. Kevin Ward says:

    January 23, 2021 at 8:21 pm

    Watson goes to Jets 2 1st and Darnold. Jets sign Allen Robinson or Goodwin take Clemson rb 2nd round
    Darnold goes to San Francisco 2 2nds
    Jimmy back to New England 2 2nds
    Stafford to colts 1st n 3rd
    Texans draft Wilson 2nd overall and best OT at 23 or Harris.

    ———–
    Sorry this isnt Madden.

  13. Lee VanCleef says:

    January 23, 2021 at 8:45 pm

    Hes really never been that good….Dude scares NOONE late in the game with ball in his hands.

    Yeah,okay. He only has 39 4th quarter comeback wins. You sir obviously don’t follow the NFL very closely.

  14. psj3809 says:
    January 23, 2021 at 8:49 pm
    Have PFT lost the plot. First Josh McCown being mentioned as a very good Qb. And now the Raiders should get Stafford ? What a joke
    **************************************
    Stafford would be a huge upgrade for the Raiders. I’m not sure he’d lead them to the super bowl, but he’s at least 3 or 4 wins better than Carr.

  15. Great guy. Tough as nails. Very good player but not great. He overuses that side arm pass and will drive you crazy throwing a bonehead pick at the wrong time trying to force balls into tiny spaces. Not sure what he needs to win but he and the Lions have clearly run their course. A friendly divorce was expected and it will be a fresh start for them all.

  16. Detroit trades QB Matthew Stafford and 2021 1st Rd pick to the Los Angeles Rams for QB Jared Goff CB Jalen Ramsay and DT Aaron Donald

  17. Saints, if they could afford.

    Falcons, if they had a better team.

    Broncos? Their arrow hasn’t pointed upwards in a few years. Not attractive situation.

    Patriots? Lol ya right. Stafford is a bright guy.

    WFT? Not bad.

    Raiders? I could see it.

    Panthers? I REALLY like Stafford for that team, in that division, at this time.

  18. He’s like what former Saints QB Archie Manning was called: A franchise quarterback without a franchise.

  19. Seems like he’d be pretty much plug-and-play in Pittsburgh, if Ben decides to hang ’em up (and they find the cap room to do it, while retaining enough talent to make it worthwhile).

  20. thermanmerman99 says:
    January 23, 2021 at 8:06 pm
    SuperBowl bound if Stafford ends up on the Colts. As simple as that

    ——-
    Weren’t all you Colts fans saying the same thing when Philip Rivers came to town? What happened there?

  21. If Stafford has a choice, why would he agree to go to a rebuilding team like the Pats? Seems more likely to go to those teams poised for more current success..

  22. jefflocc says:

    January 23, 2021 at 9:12 pm

    Detroit trades QB Matthew Stafford and 2021 1st Rd pick to the Los Angeles Rams for QB Jared Goff CB Jalen Ramsay and DT Aaron Donald
    ——-
    Not even Madden video game or Bill O’Brien
    Would accept that.

  23. I still think Stafford to Dallas makes the most sense. McCarthy has seen him twice a year for a decade, he knows what he could do with Stafford. Kellen Moore knows what type of offense Matt likes to operate in.

    It is just a matter of Jerry and Stephen Jones being smart enough to walk away from Dak. The cap is going down, how are the Cowboys going to fit a massive Dak contract in there? Going with Stafford saves them $15M. And there’s no penalty from letting Dak hobble away, no dead cap.

    Get Stafford, maximize your window, and draft a couple 2nd day quarterbacks over the next few years to cover your backside.

  24. The Patriots badly need a QB who can throw. There will be a lot of teams lining up for a shot to get Stafford.

  25. I think it is funny Pats fans still think all roads lead to Foxboro. They don’t. I see Rams, and if they do, with that D, I think it automatically elevates them to perennial contender for a few years.

    Please note I am an AFC fan. Just objective 🙂

  26. Cap space…check
    Great Coaching staff…..check
    Need at QB Position….check
    Really good young team, only a qb away….check

    Stafford is gonna have to get Sonnys blessing to wear 9 in Washington!!!

  27. I agree with the above poster. Dallas could be a perfect fit, particularly given Stafford’s existing contract. I dont sense the Cowboys are willing to sign Dak to a mega deal.

    Selfishly, I would love to see him in Denver.

  28. ahhh… come to kc, backup mahomes…
    .
    in two years, everyone will want you, and you’ll have 2 SB rings.

  29. Cowboys have 10 picks in 2021 Draft. Lions have 5.

    It’d be a homecoming for Stafford. Grew up in Dallas area.
    Incredible contract value for Cowboys.
    Immediate passing game upgrade, which usually helps running game.

    You know the wheels are turning in Jerry’s head.

    Win Win if package makes sense.

  30. The Colts make a lot of sense; good team that needs a QB. If Stafford has a veto I’d wager the Pat’s will get it. WFT decent team that could go places with a good QB. Dallas, tons of weapons good running game Jerry is always in win now mode. 9ners and Panthers have underperforming QBs that might be tough to move or cut, Panthers are likely a year away from being competitive.

    Saints, Steelers, Falcons are too over the cap.

  31. Doubt he goes to an NFC team if they can avoid it. Colts would be a good fit because the Iggles are not letting Wentz go. Would love to see Big Ben hang them up and have him throwing to Juju, Chase and Diontae – although they would drop them. If Deshaun is serious about the Jets, the Miami would be a really good spot for him. Raiders would be a natural fit for a career revival – but they suck. The Broncos evidently believe in Lock. No really. Hey, stop laughing. In the NFC they would want him far away so as much as the WFT is salivating over him, unlikely. The 49ers or the Rams maybe. Miami is still the spot. They have the pieces and are ready to win now.

  32. I’d love to see Stafford come to the Rams. His wife was busted for talking about the Chargers, before they drafted Herbert. The issue with the Rams is Goff’s contract. Also, the Lions will want a first rounder for Stafford and we don’t have one of those.

    Jerry Jones would be the first person I’d expect to phone the Lions about Stafford. My understanding is that he’s a huge Stafford fan.

    If Brees is willing to admit he’s done, New Orleans would be a great place for Stafford. I’m hoping he’ll go there.

    There’s zero chance Stafford will go to New England. The rumor was that Stafford and Bevell were not working well with Patricia. But no one was working well with Patricia. By the time he was fired players were begging to leave him/Detroit.

  33. Good decision by the Lions and Stafford. Fresh starts and more picks.
    Good luck to both Stafford and the Lions. You both deserve some good fortune for a change.

  34. Don’t do it Lynch. Stay the course. 2020 was a messed up injury plagued mess. Rosen as a #2 is all you need. Stat Ford AIN’T the answer. Draft late rounds if you need!

  35. Matt Patricia has a specific gravity of 1.32 and his own atmosphere. So yes he may have some pull.

  36. I’ve watched every Stafford game since he was drafted by the Lions and I’m always amazed how “great” fans of other teams think Stafford is. But if their teams own QB was the unquestioned starter for a decade and never led the team to a division title or a playoff win, they’d want him run out of town years ago. And before I hear the uninformed say “ he never had talent around him”. He played with a top 5 defense in 2014, AND he played with sure fire HOF WR Megatron. Still no division title, and couldn’t lead his team to a single TD in the second half of the playoff game that year. Nice arm, nice guy, but not mobile at all and doesn’t possess that “it” factor. Wherever he winds up , I’m taking bets he won’t win the division next year.

  37. Why would the Patriots want Stafford when they have Jarrett Stidham? Bill Belichick said last Spring that “we have a lot of confidence in Stiddy”.
    And we know Stiddy is healthy since he barely played last year. Bill wanted to keep him fresh for the 2021 season.
    So you can keep Stafford.

  38. Stafford has 34 4th quarter comeback wins and not one of them has any significance or earned the Lions a playoff spot. They mean as much as his 5000 yards passing and 40 TD season, as that didn’t earn a playoff game either.

  39. The Lions killed Barry’s love for the game, they broke Megatron, and now Stafford finally has had enough of their nonsense. The Lions are like the Jets and Bengals. They don’t exist to win championships or do anything really productive other than waste a player’s career and waste the fan’s time. Another totally incompetent organization that exists for the sole purpose getting a revenue sharing check.

  40. He’s been the only bright spot Detroit has had in ages. I’d think he’s earned the right to make his own decision to where he wants to go. Only wrench in the works of that DET is being open with their willingness, thus decreasing their leverage in the situation.

  41. This Eagles fan would love to see Stafford come to philly for Wentz. Honestly i would take almost anyone over wentz so … but i do really like Stafford and think he can be the superstar he was meant to be on any number of teams not named the lions.

  42. Go compare Stafford’s career stats to Andy Dalton’s. They are basically the same guy. Stafford is not good enough to put a team on his back. He needs to be surrounded by all the right pieces.

  43. Lee VanCleef says:
    January 23, 2021 at 8:45 pm
    …Dude scares NOONE late in the game with ball in his hands.

    —————-

    He’s 8th all time in game winning drives (38) and has played 5 less seasons than anyone on the list in front of him (Manning, Brees, Brady, Marino, Roethlisberger, Favre, Elway).

    For whatever other deficiencies he may or may not have, that is the one thing he is unquestionably excellent at.

  44. Detroit has a history of souring great talent on the game.

    Barry Sanders, Megatron, now Matt.

    Loins fans deserve better.

  45. I would love to see him in the Burgundy and Gold of the WFT if we can’t sign future hall of famer Taylor Heinicke. HTTR

  46. If he is serious about a trade, he shouldn’t demand a new contract from the new team

  47. Lions fan here. I’ve watched every throw this guy has made. What will drive you crazy is he’ll make 9 awesome passes then one total bonehead one where he’ll throw it right to a Def lineman 3 feet in front of him.

    Take all of his 4th qtr comebacks with a grain of salt because its usually been him that puts us behind to begin with.

    Spare me the he doesn’t have talent around him talk too. He’s had way more talent around him on offense than brady or rodgers ever had and does little with it.

  48. This guy couldn’t win with Megatron AND Suh. They had the no.1 run D in the NFL and the no.2 D overall and he won nothing.

  49. After seeing him twice a year for a long time I think he would be a good fit for a team with an excellent defense and a receiver that can stretch the field.

  50. Why would the Patriots want Stafford when they have Jarrett Stidham? Bill Belichick said last Spring that “we have a lot of confidence in Stiddy”.
    And we know Stiddy is healthy since he barely played last year. Bill wanted to keep him fresh for the 2021 season.
    So you can keep Stafford. I’d love to have them both stidham it’s a great problem to have .

  51. He always leaned on his arm talent and never learned how to be a QB. Never learned how to throw consistently, as many have pointed out he’s hot or cold. Will throw into triple coverage because of his arm, which is going to be more and more of a problem as he gets older and still thinks he has the arm to get away with it. As for leadership, well Lions fans know his wife wears the pants in the family, he’s not an alpha dog. When you have Calvin Johnson to throw to and still go 0-16, you’re not a franchise QB.

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