Matthew Stafford is not expected to play another down for the Detroit Lions.
Stafford has only played for the Lions since being taken No. 1 overall out of the University of Georgia in the 2009 NFL Draft. Though he has never won a playoff game before in his life, Stafford brought stability to a perpetually chaotic situation in Detroit. Now firmly in his 30s, it is time for both parties to move on. What NFL teams could be in line to acquire his rocket right arm in 2021?
3 new NFL teams for Matthew Stafford in 2021
San Francisco 49ers
His good buddy Matt Ryan will have nice things to say about Kyle Shanahan
Though the San Francisco 49ers can claim they have a franchise quarterback, do they really have one in Jimmy Garoppolo? Outside of the 2019 campaign that saw the Niners win the NFC, Garoppolo has not proven he is one due to ongoing durability concerns. San Francisco feels like it is a quarterback away from contending. If they were to add Stafford at this time, look out, NFC West.
If Stafford wants to pick someone’s brain about playing for Kyle Shanahan, he may want to reach out to his quarterbacking buddy Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons. Ryan won NFL MVP with Shanahan as his offensive coordinator back in 2016. His younger cousin Mike McGlinchey was drafted by Shanahan’s team in 2018 and stars in the trenches along the 49ers’ offensive line.
Of course, a trade to get Stafford to San Francisco would require orchestrate some other deal to drop Garoppolo, but it might be what is necessary for the 49ers to get back to Super Bowl contention. At his best, Stafford is a top-tier passer in this league. At Garoppolo’s best he can be good enough to game manage a defensive-minded team to a rare Super Bowl appearance.
Overall, there are too many complications for the 49ers to be anything more than a really good dark horse landing spot for Stafford. Though there are other teams that may really want him and his howitzer of a right arm, few can offer him the strong organizational culture of winning that the 49ers possess. However, this is a trade worth getting one’s hands dirty in an effort to pull it off.