The Lions and Matthew Stafford are reportedly parting ways this offseason.
The Detroit Lions were awarded the No. 1 overall pick in 2009 after an embarrassing 0-16 campaign in 2008. That top pick was used on Matthew Stafford, who was supposed to come in and turn the franchise around.
Stafford did end up taking the Lions to the postseason in his third year, but it is 2021 and he still doesn’t have a postseason victory to his name. The franchise has been mediocre for much of its existence and Stafford alone could not change that.
Changes are being made in Detroit and perhaps the most notable so far is the bombshell report that the team and Stafford are parting ways after so much time together.
Stafford now in trade talks
A Lions team without Stafford at quarterback will be a weird sight in 2021. The focus now turns to where he will play in 2021 and beyond.
The Washington Football Team, New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts, San Francisco 49ers, and Denver Broncos are all teams who may be immediately interested in the veteran. Stafford still has two years remaining on his current deal. He turns 33 years old in February and may want his next destination to be his last if he shows success early on and can land an extension.
His contract is what puts so many teams in the running. A cap hit of only $20 million in 2021 is a bargain for such an accomplished quarterback. Putting him on a team with a competent and stable front office could make the ultimate difference.
A split makes sense for Stafford and the Lions at this time. They have a new head coach in Dan Campbell and can begin a new era after three straight losing seasons. The franchise can now bring in a new young quarterback who can hopefully be a part of the turnaround fans have been waiting on for decades.
To be clear, Stafford was not a part of the problem. This appears to be a move of goodwill to let him go to a contender, or make a team a contender, while more changes takes place in Detroit.
Stafford led the Lions to four winning seasons and three playoff appearances during his time in Detroit. Losing Calvin Johnson to an early retirement was a tough blow and arguably changed the potential rise of the franchise over the past half-decade.
The Lions are not going to have a shortage of calls and can seek out a great offer for the quarterback that involves plenty of draft capital in return. Rebuilding in 2021 may not be what fans had in mind, but the Matt Patricia era went so poorly it is now a necessity.