Matthew Stafford was pleased with the Lions for holding up their end of the bargain in trade talks.
Stafford wanted to go to a winner and offers surely came in from teams hoping Stafford could turn them around. Instead, the Lions sent him to the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams needed an upgrade at quarterback and are instantly in the Super Bowl conversation with the veteran under center.
NFL.com shared parts of an interview Stafford conducted recently with author and journalist Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press. The quarterback explained how the team listened to his top request.
Stafford appreciates the Lions
“What’s accurate is — and this is an incredible thing by (the Lions) — I asked to go to a team that was ready to win a championship,” Stafford said in the interview. “And, you know, there were a few teams on that list. There were a few teams that were not on that list. And they were respectful of that and understood completely. I had thoughts and reasons for each one of them.”
A report did come out saying Stafford did not want to go to the New England Patriots. That would go along with his request to go to a contender and makes sense, even if he won’t offer up insight on that rumor.
Sean McVay took over in Los Angeles in 2017 and the team has not had a losing season under his leadership. They just made it to the Divisional Round of the 2020 postseason and did so with a mediocre Jared Goff at quarterback.
Both Stafford and the Rams likely believe he was the missing piece to lead the team to a championship. The front office has gone all-in by paying top defensive stars and Stafford showing up with two years left on his own contract extends the title window through the 2022 season.
Stafford gave it his all in Detroit and, unfortunately, his play was still not enough to turn around the dysfunctional franchise.
It was a great gesture to send him to a winner and the Lions even did so within the same conference. Not torching a relationship with Stafford means he will always be a Lion for life, even if things didn’t work out on the field.