It’s no secret the Detroit Lions have committed to a huge amount of change in 2021 and beyond by hitting the reset button over the weekend, and one of the players that could figure prominently into that change is quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Stafford’s future would seem to be more up in the air than it’s ever been, and that’s something the quarterback seemed to grasp in a major way when he was speaking with reporters this week. Stafford was asked what’s next, and specifically declined to answer the question, saying he was more interested to talk about that later than right at the current moment.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 30, 2020
It’s clear Stafford could know the writing is on the wall, but also unfair to expect him to speak about changes specifically given it’s the middle of the season and the Lions still have another month left to play out. Stafford has long maintained he wants to stay in Detroit and that both he and his family are happy in the Motor City, but it’s clear there could be big changes coming in a ton of ways.
Matthew Stafford’s Future in Question
What happens next with Stafford from the standpoint of the organization? According to owner Sheila Ford Hamp, that’s a question for another day considering it will be something the new regime will have to decide on themselves after they are in place. Ford Hamp explained that when speaking with the media following the firings this past weekend.
Sheila Ford Hamp on Stafford: Since I’m not the coach I’m not the right person to ask that question to.
Said he’s extremely talented and tough as nails but it’s been tough for him.
Said it’ll be up to the next coach.
— Michael Rothstein (@mikerothstein) November 28, 2020
The comment is an interesting one considering most have felt the Ford family has stuck up for Stafford in the past far too often. Indeed, Ford Hamp said he’s a talented and tough player, but the fact she is not committing to anything until a new setup arrives in Detroit is fantastic news. Those decisions are for the front office and staff, and with sweeping change coming, someone else will have to evaluate Stafford and his future.
This isn’t to say the Lions couldn’t or shouldn’t stick with Stafford in the end, but merely that someone else will be taking an unbiased look at what to do next with the quarterback. That’s all fans could have hoped for at this point in time, and could point to some potential changes looming on the horizon if the new leadership doesn’t think Stafford should be part of the mix moving forward.
Timing Might Be Right for Lions’ Quarterback Change
Stafford punting on the question is not a surprise considering he is still playing out the season, but the quarterback is going to be 33 years old in 2021, and has struggled to win big in Detroit for the last decade since he was drafted. The situation is a paradox, because Stafford has been one of the most stable quarterbacks the Lions have had in decades as well. Knowing this, change can be tough, but the Lions might have to start thinking bold if they want to get their franchise over the hump. Stafford’s trade value will only decline in the next few seasons. Exciting young quarterbacks are coming into the league at a fast clip and have seemingly turned around franchises in Arizona, Buffalo, Kansas City, Baltimore, Miami and Los Angeles just to name a few spots. The Lions could need to get in on this in order to give their team a shot at keeping up moving forward.
No matter how good things are in the league, players always have a shelf life, and Detroit might be approaching theirs with Stafford. That’s something the parties at least seem aware of at this point in time.