The future of Matthew Stafford with the Detroit Lions has become a big talking point lately, with seemingly everyone having a take on whether or not the quarterback should stay or go later on this offseason.
A take hadn’t come from this point from someone close to the organization, but Barry Sanders changed that more than a bit while making the media rounds. Speaking with the Rich Eisen Show, Sanders was asked if he thought the Lions’ future should be with Stafford. As he said, in his opinion, that should be the case.
— Rich Eisen Show (@RichEisenShow) January 13, 2021
“I would assume that it does involve Matthew, but that’s me. I don’t know how some other coach may see that situation, but I think he’s still playing at a tremendously high level. Good to see him stay healthy last year. You know, he’s carried the franchise for many years. Just me looking at it, I would assume he would fit into someone’s plan. But you can never say for sure.”
Sanders was quick to point out that just because he believes Stafford should come back does not mean it will happen, but his blessing could be a big one the rest of the offseason. To this point, it sounds as if Stafford’s fate will be determined by Detroit’s next general manager and coach tandem.
Barry Sanders’ Parallels With Matthew Stafford
Many have pointed out in recent months the parallels that Stafford and Sanders have, with both players never going to a Super Bowl or tasting much playoff success in Detroit. Many have contended this is why Stafford should want out, and why the Lions should let him go. Even such, a split isn’t guaranteed as Stafford could be the best option the Lions currently have.
Sanders won a single playoff game in his career, but Stafford has yet to do that to this point in time. Whether he should go is up for debate, but it’s clear many consider him next in line in terms of legendary Lions players who struggle thanks to the organizational dysfunction much like Sanders and Calvin Johnson.
Why Matthew Stafford’s Future in Question
The future of Stafford will become a big talking point for the Lions in the weeks and months ahead given the changes within the front office and at head coach. Why? A team could prefer their own quarterback to build around for the future. The past regime, led by Bob Quinn, remained loyal to Stafford but the shakeup the team has undergone could leave his future firmly up in the air. That’s especially true given the fact that ownership has essentially deferred the decision to the new staff once they come to town.
During the 2020 season, Stafford didn’t have the type of statistical year that will wow many folks. He threw 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions with 4,084 passing yards. He had good games and average games, but has shown the toughness that has come to define his tenure, especially late in the season when he played through pain in order to lead the Lions through the tough stretch. There’s a thought in the mind of some that the Lions could need to cut bait and move on with a new quarterback, but Stafford still has plenty of the goods to be a success which Sanders hints with this interview.
Clearly, Sanders thinks that Stafford could be poised to stick around, but whether or not that actually happens when the offseason gets going is anyone’s guess.