Matthew Stafford Trade Rumors: A Third of NFL Teams Have Called About Lions QB

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJanuary 27, 2021

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford passes during the first half of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Saturday, Dec. 26, 2020, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Lon Horwedel)
Lon Horwedel/Associated Press

The Detroit Lions aren't going to have a hard time finding suitors for veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford.

According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network: "The Lions, of course, immediately began fielding calls from teams interested. From what I understand, about a third of the league—almost a third of the league—has called the Lions. Significant interest in Matthew Stafford. Should be able to get at least a first-rounder there from wherever he goes." 

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

From @GMFB: A look at QBs who could be on the move, with #Rams QB Jared Goff entering the fray, the #Lions getting immediate and significant interest and calls on Matthew Stafford over the weekend, and teams still calling the #Texans on Deshaun Watson. https://t.co/ttLc7iFXHq

Stafford and the Lions "mutually agreed" on Saturday to part ways this offseason, per ESPN's Adam Schefter, with the Lions "listening to trade offers starting this week." Per that report, the Lions are "expected to receive at least a first-round pick."

With the Lions bringing in both a new general manager (Brad Holmes) and head coach (Dan Campbell), it was a logical time for a full rebuild and an opportunity for Stafford to get a fresh start elsewhere.

It also could be a very good offseason to move on from a veteran quarterback, with a number of teams with potentially playoff-ready rosters (Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots, Washington Football Team) likely in the market for a quarterback. 

Indianapolis might make the most sense after reaching the playoffs this past season with Philip Rivers under center. Rivers is retiring, but adding Stafford would keep the Colts on their current trajectory. 

Much of what happens with Stafford may depend on whether the Houston Texans decide to trade Deshaun Watson. Given that Watson will likely cost a small fortune's worth of future draft picks, however, the two players might attract different markets. 

Watson seems more likely to be pursued by teams with an excess of first- and second-round picks in the coming years like the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins. If Watson isn't on the market, however, the Lions may end up with even more potential suitors for Stafford. 

The 2009 top overall pick threw for 45,109 yards, 282 touchdowns and 144 interceptions in his time with the Lions, leading them to the postseason three times, though zero playoff wins.  

"It will be tough to replace a guy like Matt Stafford, who I feel like in a lot of ways carried the franchise for the last decade," Lions legend Barry Sanders said on the NFL Network's Good Morning Football. "A guy who showed up every day. You felt like you always had a chance with Matt. Maybe because of the new regime coming in and just seeing things different, sometimes things like this just happen."