Analyst Wonders if Lions Have ‘Fractured’ Matthew Stafford Relationship

Jeff Driskel Matthew Stafford

Getty Jeff Driskel and Matthew Stafford.

This offseason, rumors swirled regarding the Detroit Lions and Matthew Stafford. For a while, it seemed as if the team was a lock to move on but the quarterback is staying and seemingly was never close to leaving.

Tea leaves as well as the rumor mill seemed to point to the team making the move and perhaps drafting a young quarterback early on. That conjecture was dispelled nearly at every turn, but that doesn’t change the fact that plenty of folks believe the relationship may have sustained some long term damage as a result.

Recently, Bleacher Report put together a list of their biggest risks of the 2020 season for every team, and Detroit’s was the potential of going into the season with a messy relationship with Stafford. Writer Kristopher Knox thinks that could be the case, and even hints the team should re-commit to Stafford in order to keep him happy.

Knox wrote:

“The Detroit Lions may move on from quarterback Matthew Stafford in the near future, but it isn’t likely to happen this season. Still, the Lions have allowed questions about Stafford’s future to linger, which could cause major chemistry issues in 2020.

There were rumors that the Lions put Stafford on the trade block before the draft, but according to NFL Network’s Michael Silver, it’s rumored that Stafford was the one who wanted to be dealt. The quarterback has since put his Detroit-area home up for sale and could be eyeing an exit from his current franchise.

Part of the issue is that Detroit is not financially committed to Stafford for the long term.

Giving Stafford an extension and a raise—he’s due to earn just $21.3 million this season—could help settle the situation. As things stand, the Lions risk having an unhappy and possibly a lame-duck Stafford under center for what is a pivotal year for GM Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia.”

Publicly, little has been said about the relationship minus the fact Stafford is staying and wasn’t close to being traded, but Matt Patricia has flatly rejected the notion there is any animosity between the parties behind the scenes and has even gone so far as to say the team is building around him. Following a draft where the Lions selected a pair of offensive lineman, a running back and a wide receiver that seems to be the case.

Stafford will remain the Lions quarterback in 2020, and certainly, the hope for most fans is that the team does enough winning that these issues don’t have to keep coming up in the future. If the team struggles, all bets are off as it relates to what happens in multiple levels within the organization.

Still, it’s a good bet Stafford hasn’t taken anything too personally.

Matthew Stafford Addressed Trade Rumors Himself

It’s long been assumed if not confirmed Stafford isn’t going anywhere and doesn’t want to. Speaking at the NFL Combine months ago, Lions general manager Bob Quinn addressed the trade rumors regarding Stafford and once again admitted the rumors of the Lions dangling their quarterback were false. Additionally, Quinn explained that he has connected with Stafford, and the quarterback wants to stay with the Lions in Detroit.

Stafford’s commitment to the Lions makes sense given how much time and effort he has put into quarterbacking the team since he was selected by the team in 2009. Stafford would likely be the last to ask for a trade and would likely want to stick and try to win in Detroit. That much has been confirmed by his wife and family before.

Kelly Stafford: Matthew Stafford Will Stay

Rumors of a trade are not true, according to Stafford’s wife Kelly a few months back as well. Asked a question on her Instagram then by a fan regarding if Stafford would ever demand a trade so that he might win a ring somewhere else, the answer provided was unequivocally no. Stafford is committed to the city where he started, and wants to win for the fans there according to his wife.

In a response that was screen shotted by a fan on Twitter, Stafford shows how motivated she and her husband are to stick in Detroit for the long haul to win:

“He wants a championship for this city as much as y’all do. This is our home too. They’ll have to ship him out if they don’t want him. He isn’t going anywhere by choice,” Stafford wrote.

That certainly fits the narrative. He signed a massive contract extension a few years back and continues to love Detroit. His family has also made the city a home and been embraced by Lions fans. The hope is the team can build around him properly so that the quarterback spot isn’t the lightning rod for criticism it has been through the years in Detroit.

The bet is the Lions will remain committed to Stafford, because he’s got plenty of talent to work with, even if he doesn’t yet have the jewelry needed to prove it. Obviously, Stafford believes in the plan just as much to stay loyal.

The team has stayed by his side and regardless of the rumor mill, that’s likely to be the case on both ends. Still, it doesn’t stop some folks from wondering.

READ NEXT: Matt Patricia Explains Why Lions Love Matthew Stafford

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