As a result of that, Stafford’s future has been open to interpretation with rumors swirling that the team could draft someone else or move on entirely. Quinn, however, joined SiriusXM NFL Radio and explained why none of that could be the case at all.
“I’m totally comfortable and happy Matthew Stafford’s our quarterback. He’s going to be in full health once the offseason program starts its course. He’s pretty much at full health right now. Talked to him about 10 days ago,” Quinn said in the interview. “He was in the office so he’s feeling great. He’s in a good mindset, he’s excited. Obviously he’s a competitor so to miss half the season was hard on him. But he did a great job with our backup quarterbacks.”
Specifically, Quinn admitted he liked watching Stafford work with the backups and prepare them. That let him know the team is in good hands moving forward.
“Just behind the scenes, seeing him in a different light,” he said. “Since I’ve been there he’s been at every practice and every game. To see him in coach mode was pretty cool to see. He really cares about not only our team and his teammates and his leadership, really helping those other quarterbacks learn our system on the fly when he went down.”
That leads Quinn to feel positively about Stafford moving forward and the impact he might have on the team.
“I feel great about Matthew. He’s going to come back strong and we’re ready to go for next year,” he said.
These quotes would seem to throw cold water on the notion that the Lions would draft a quarterback early or decide to deal Stafford this offseason, a couple of things that have been rumored so far.
No matter how many of those rumors surfaced, it always made sense that Stafford would be more likely to return.
Lions Rumored to be Interested in Tua Tagovailoa
Could the Lions take the plunge for the pick when all is said and done? According to one top NFL analyst, the answer was yes. According to ESPN’s Mel Kiper, if everything checks out health wise with Tagovailoa, the Lions could decide to select the quarterback with their pick.
Naturally, this could be a smokescreen given draft season is typically lying season. Still, there is no discounting the teams potential need for a quarterback.
Detroit was forced to go with Jeff Driskel and later David Blough as quarterbacks after Matthew Stafford’s injury. Drafting a young quarterback could be considered an important step for the team, but the Lions could also sign a veteran backup instead of drafting a talent like Tagovailoa who could make a case to start faster.
Stafford is still entrenched, so it will be fascinating to see what path Detroit decides to take.
Writer on why Lions Won’t Draft Tua Tagovailoa
Regardless of their interest or not, news of Tagovailoa declaring seems to be positive for the Lions, who have the No. 3 pick in the draft and could now be in the drivers seat to have some major decisions impacted by the quarterback. Namely, the Lions could draft Tagovailoa or they could hold their pick for a kings ransom for teams that are interested in his services.
Would the Lions take Tagovailoa though? It might not be the worst idea, but it might not be something that is on tap, either.
According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, while Tagovailoa offers something tantalizing, the expectation is Detroit will not draft him but hope to use him as leverage. Here’s a look at what he wrote:
“Under different circumstances, the chance to add a player like Tagovailoa might be too appealing for the Lions to pass up. Tagovailoa could spend 2020 apprenticing under Stafford, much like Patrick Mahomes did with the Kansas City Chiefs for a season, and be healthy and ready to take over before the Lions have to pay Stafford a $10 million roster bonus in March of 2021.
But Tagovailoa’s extensive injury history – his ability to work out for teams in the pre-draft process remains in doubt as he recovers from his dislocated hip – and the team’s other needs make that an unlikely option for the Lions.
More feasible is that Quinn makes the pick at No. 3 or trades out of the Lions’ draft spot, something he’s never done in the first round in his four previous drafts as general manager.”
Even such, the specter of Tagovailoa will loom large over Detroit when they pick. The decision to auction the pick, make it or monitor what happens above them or below them will be huge for the Lions and their overall options for 2020.
The Lions won’t be likely to move on from Stafford with this considered, but that doesn’t mean a quarterback won’t play a big role in their decision making.