Matthew Stafford’s time with the Detroit Lions is coming to an end. Both he and the organization have signaled that it is time for all parties involved to move on, and that is precisely what will happen over the next few months.
This week NFL insider Michael Lombardi appeared on The GM Shuffle with Michael Lombardi & Adnan Virk podcast and offered his thoughts on the three likeliest landing spots for Stafford.
“The [Indianapolis] Colts have $64 million (in cap room), count them in… The [New England] Patriots, $57 million, count them in on Matthew Stafford… The [Denver] Broncos, maybe? They have $14 million, but they have to clean up their cap… So I think it’s a three-team race, I think it’s the Colts, the Patriots, and the Broncos will linger. That’s it.”
All three of the aforementioned squads make a ton of sense. The Patriots have made it clear that they are moving on from Cam Newton. Stafford would be a perfect fit in Bill Belichick’s offense.
Now we know what motivates Gronk to play so hard. https://t.co/xFnKnjoXQ4
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 24, 2021
Similarly, Philip Rivers’ retirement has left a gaping hole at quarterback for Indianapolis. Clearly the organization hates Jacoby Brissett for some inexplicable reason, so a mid-to-long term solution needs be identified. Stafford could be it.
Finally, Drew Lock has hardly proven himself as a reliable franchise piece for the Broncos. Packaging him, a first round pick, and second round pick for Stafford seems like a no-brainer at this juncture.
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— Game 7 (@game7__) January 26, 2021
Stafford, at age 32, is still an incredible talent when he is healthy. He has thrown for at least 4,000 yards and 20-plus touchdowns in eight of his 12 seasons with the Lions, and just this year recorded 4,084 yards, 26 touchdowns, 10 picks and a QBR of 68.4.
Deshaun Watson is obviously seven years younger and has a longer career ahead of him, but skill for skill, the two are very even (albeit in different ways). And given that both are seemingly available this offseason, it will be interesting to see which teams ultimately make a push for which player.
Currently, there are two very legitimate suitors for Watson’s services, and three potential sleepers. Between that, and the six squads in the running for Aaron Rodgers’ services, and the three teams interested in Stafford, NFL fans should mentally prepare for a very actioned-packed next few weeks.