Detroit’s quarterback seemingly has plenty of quality years left and figures to be one of the best players at his position. Even such, rumors have persisted that the Lions could look to move on from Stafford and start over at the position this offseason.
Whether those rumors are true or more of a smokescreen for the Lions draft, the fact that trade rumors have arisen means it’s at least something for the Lions and their fans to think about.
So what teams could make the call on Stafford if a hypothetical trade were to be discussed this offseason? Here’s a look at the most obvious potential suitors.
New England Patriots
Many in the NFL media have wanted to see this move happen for weeks. The reason it comes up? Uncertainty regarding Tom Brady and his future in the NFL or at the very least, in New England. Many wonder if the Patriots could get aggressive for someone like Stafford. In the event he was available, the Patriots would be likely to be a team that would make the most sense in terms of needing a top line starter that could also dangle draft picks. The Lions have experience trading with New England, and sending Stafford to the AFC if the move was made would likely be the goal. It would arguably be the boldest move a team like the Patriots could make in order to try and fix things on offense moving forward.
Los Angeles Chargers
Recently, the Chargers were revealed to be moving on from Philip Rivers. That news means the team will be hunting for a quarterback on the open market, whether in free agency or via trade. Stafford could make sense for the Chargers, who could decide to move from one gunslinger to another. The Lions would probably command their first round pick and plenty of other selections, but like the Patriots, the Chargers are in the AFC, so it would be an appealing destination.
Matt Rhule took over in Carolina as coach, and now that he’s there, the Panthers will likely be aggressive as it relates to getting him his quarterback. Cam Newton could be on the way out, and Carolina owner David Tepper has been aggressive as it relates to getting his coach. It’s more than possible he could be just as aggressive in trades if the team decides they want to pursue a quarterback. If they liked Stafford, they’d likely have to step up with a massive offer to land him and keep him in the NFC.
It’s not wise to discount a team like Miami from getting in the fray. The Dolphins have plenty of picks they could dangle the Lions, both in 2020 and beyond. If the Lions were able to get picks No. 5 and 18 from Miami in a haul, that could go a long way toward helping them rebuild for now and the future. Miami could be looking for an established quarterback, and Stafford could be it. Would they deal tons of assets for a player in his 30s however? That’s the question worth wondering about. In terms of assets, though, the Dolphins could make the most sense for the Lions to deal with.
Las Vegas Raiders
If the Raiders lose out on Tom Brady should he leave New England, the team could be looking for a similar splash as it relates to getting their franchise on the right track heading to a new city. If they move on from Derek Carr, Stafford could be an interesting choice for the team to make. Compared to some of these teams, the Raiders would have to step up and make a huge offer to pry Stafford free. Teams moving to new cities can often be desperate, and the Raiders could be in order to get a super talent like Stafford to town.