The New England Patriots have been linked to almost every big-name quarterback who is assured or even rumored to be available this offseason.
After a disappointing 7-9 campaign in 2020, Bill Belichick and company are expected to be looking to rebound in a major way. One way to accelerate the process of returning to the postseason could be the acquisition of an established signal-caller like Matthew Stafford.
According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero on Saturday, the former No. 1 overall pick and Pro Bowler will be parting ways with the Detroit Lions in the coming weeks, and the Patriots have been mentioned as one of the top trade suitors.
In fact, one NFL insider believes the Patriots are among the three most likely landing spots for the 12-year veteran — and he has revealed an offer that could entice Detroit to pull the trigger on a deal with New England.
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Peter King Pegs Patriots’ No. 15 Pick as Trade Centerpiece
In his most recent Football Morning in America column on Monday, longtime football scribe Peter King of NBC Sports broke down his top potential landing spots for Stafford. King listed only the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos ahead of the Patriots on his list.
1. Colts. Easy pick. Frank Reich needs a quarterback and with the likelihood that Carson Wentz will stay in Philly, Stafford is the best option for a cap-rich team. Compensation: 21st overall pick in the 2021 draft.
2. Broncos. Doubt new GM George Paton, who has watched Stafford closely for 12 years while in Minnesota, would be sold on Drew Lock. Competition needed. Compensation: Two second-round picks (including 39th overall this year). Or Lock plus this year’s second-rounder.
3. Patriots. Bill Belichick, as he did when he first got to New England, got his cap in decent shape with one lousy year as payment. But would he be willing to pay the 15th overall pick for Stafford? He should be. Compensation: 15th overall pick.
A first-round pick is a hefty price to pay, but when you consider how difficult it is to quantify the value of a top-end starting quarterback in the NFL, that would seemingly be a permissible asking price. Or at the very least a starting point. Having 10 picks in April’s NFL Draft, including a trio of additional mid-round compensatory selections, could also help New England’s case.
If the Patriots could upgrade from Cam Newton under center and get back to the postseason for the next three years in the process, you’d have to believe it would be worth a 15th overall pick. After all, that would be the minimum expectation if New England can swing a deal for Stafford.
Lions Writer Cannot Deny the Patriots’ Possibilities
How does the more Lions-centric media feel about Stafford landing in New England?
Judging by Pride of the Lions writer Chris Perfett, the thought of Stafford in a Patriots uniform is uncomfortable, but an undeniably practical possibility. Perfett offered this as a “pro:”
As for Stafford, there’s no better sales pitch than Patriots coach Bill Belichick. The divinity of the coach may have suffered this year given his team’s record, but it’s not hard to see how Belichick could get him on board with being the next king of Foxborough, the next scion to return the Patriots yet again to the playoffs; all the better, Stafford would feast on a still impotent AFC East Division for six games.
He followed that up with the “cons” of life in Foxborough:
God, you just want to get in bed with the most evil place on earth, don’t you? As if it wasn’t bad enough that we have to put up with all you Michigan poseurs pretending that you knew who Tom Brady was in Ann Arbor.
If you do root for success for Stafford, then New England isn’t your prime choice. There’s been a lot of ink spilled over who won the “divorce” between Brady and Belichick, but it misses the point that this Patriots team was set to be overhauled. The offense possesses little to no weaponry worth speaking of. It would take some premium Belichick magic to install an offense worth Stafford’s time and turn the Patriots into a playoff contender.
Apparently, Patriots Nation still gets the hate — even after its first losing season in 20 years.
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