It seems trade rumors regarding Detroit Lions’ quarterback Matthew Stafford have been swirling all offseason, and that continued again with an overnight report stating the team was in talks over their star.
According to Local 4 WDIV Detroit, the Lions were said to be in negotiations for a Stafford deal with teams for a few weeks. The report was revealed late at night, and was shared on the station’s website. Here’s the key details it presented:
“Sources close to the Detroit Lions have confirmed to Local 4′s Bernie Smilovitz that trade talks concerning quarterback Matthew Stafford have been underway for a couple of weeks.
Stafford’s wife Kelly posted on her Instagram account saying if her husband were to be traded, one destination she would be interested in is California.”
In spite of that, however, it didn’t take Lions’ general manager Bob Quinn long to refute the report. In a text to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Quinn shot down any potential Stafford rumors as completely false. Here’s what Birkett wrote after connecting with him:
“Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn refuted a late-night report that the team is in talks to trade quarterback Matthew Stafford.
“100% False!!” Quinn wrote in a text message to the Free Press.”
Stafford rumors continue to swirl around the team and the reasoning is obvious. The Lions have a powerful chip in the form of Tua Tagovailoa hanging around near the top of the NFL Draft. It’s likely the team is trying to bluff someone into either trading ahead of their pick, or trying to make sure that folks know they could be open for business at quarterback with the No. 3 pick this April.
Both outcomes could assure the Lions a better chance at drafting players they’re interested in or acquiring picks. Stafford himself might be collateral damage for the time being, but it’s tough to envision the Lions completely moving on from their quarterback in such a vital season.
For now, that continues to be the case.
Bob Quinn Comments About Matthew Stafford Trade Rumors
Stafford’s future has been open to interpretation with earlier rumors swirling that the team could draft someone else or move on entirely. Quinn, however, joined SiriusXM NFL Radio over a month ago 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 makes 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. For now, it sure seems as if they are planning to stick with Stafford despite another round of rumors.