Long-assumed as the runner up for Stafford, the Panthers were said to have made a bold offer for the quarterback centered around eighth overall pick in the 2021 draft. That selection was on the table in addition to a fifth-round selection as well as quarterback Teddy Bridgewater according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
During trade talks to try to acquire Matthew Stafford, the Carolina Panthers made a serious offer to the Lions of their eighth overall pick, a fifth-round pick and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, per league sources. Detroit opted to take the Rams offer. Carolina still looking.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 7, 2021
Obviously, the Lions had their reservation about the 28 year-old Bridgewater given his injury history and the up and down nature of his play since he came into the league. Bridgewater has bounced around a bit and has more miles on his tires than Jared Goff does, which no doubt played into Detroit’s thinking. Additionally, the Lions managed to get a pair of first-round picks in the Stafford trade with Los Angeles, something that Carolina did not come close to matching.
Was Carolina or Denver the real runner up? That is likely to remain a mystery, but it’s clear both teams presented the Lions with intriguing proposals to consider.
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Lions Offered Many Quarterbacks Within Matthew Stafford Trade
Not only did this Bridgewater deal supposedly exist, one did with the Denver Broncos as well for the ninth overall pick as well as Drew Lock. Obviously, the Lions were hunting for some type of signal caller in this deal to help in replacing Stafford, and the offers they did receive were centered mostly around that type of compensation package. In Jared Goff, the Lions did get a player who has been a big winner on the NFL level before and theoretically has plenty of good years left as a quarterback. This is no slight on Bridgewater, but he’s older and has not accomplished nearly as much in terms of playoff wins in his career as Goff has.
Clearly, the Lions got the quarterback when they wanted when all was said and done, but they did have plenty of offers.
Panthers Were Seen as Matthew Stafford ‘Dark Horse’
It’s not a shock to hear reports that a deal was close between Detroit and Carolina and that the Panthers made an interesting offer. As Gil Brandt said before the trades were even being discussed, the Lions could have found an easy suitor for Stafford in the form of the Panthers, who quietly need a quarterback as well and might be on the hunt for one starting this season. As a result, he saw them as quiet contenders for a deal all along.
I think Carolina is a darkhorse team to watch in any Matthew Stafford trade. Sweet spot for me is teams in the backend of the first round. Panthers are at No. 8, which would give Lions two in top 10. Teddy Bridgewater isn't answer in Carolina. Stafford has several good years left
— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) January 25, 2021
The Panthers did have a fit for Stafford, considering Teddy Bridgewater might not be the long-term solution for the team. They also had a high draft pick to dangle at number eight, which Detroit appeared to have enough interest in to consider a deal. With pick seven and eight, the Lions could have had plenty of ammunition to make moves in the 2021 NFL Draft to help their roster in plenty of ways. With Bridgewater, they could have also had another quarterback.
This deal wasn’t the one Detroit accepted, however intriguing it seems to be.