The Detroit Lions’ Matthew Stafford has asked to be traded, and it appears the club is going to honor his wishes.
While there are rumors suggesting the San Francisco 49ers will be suitors for Stafford and the Lions, according to radio show host Dan Sileo, the New England Patriots will be “involved” in trade talks with Detroit as well.
Let the speculation begin.
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What Patriots Would Get in Stafford?
Stafford turns 33 in February, so while he might be just a touch past his prime, he still has at least 3 years at a high level. The 12-year veteran has thrown for 45,109 yards, 282 TDs, and 144 INTs. In 2020, Stafford threw for 4,084 yards, 26 TDs, and 10 INTs.
Stafford still has a little better mobility than he’s generally given credit for, and the cannon arm still enables him to make all the throws. These gifts, his leadership, and toughness would give the Patriots an unquestioned presence under center. It would instantly elevate their aerial offense as offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels would likely remove the shackles from the offense he placed on Cam Newton in 2020.
Stafford still has two years remaining on a contract that is due to pay him a combined $43 million over the next two years. That would be a bargain for most teams considering Stafford is still a Top-10 QB in the NFL by most accounts.
What Would it Take to Get Stafford?
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Lions are expecting a first-round pick in return, and their new coach Dan Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes were already told Stafford would not be a part of the team moving forward.
It’s tough to say for sure, but there are some comparisons. NBC Sports’ Phil Perry used Alex Smith as a comp. In 2018 when Smith was 34 and had a comparable season the prior year, he commanded a third-round pick and a position player.
There are some differences and similarities. Both Smith and Stafford are former No. 1 overall draft picks, and the former was 34 and the latter will be 33 in February. With both being in the same age bracket, that is a significant similarity.
However, Stafford’s arm strength–which is still elite–might work to give him a little more value. Secondly, the competition for Stafford’s services might drive up the asking price for him. The 49ers figure to throw their hat in the ring, but you could consider just about every team that has a need at QB, who has other pieces in place as a potential suitor.
How Soon Could We See a Trade?
The exact date a trade could be completed hasn’t been shared. However, according to Schefter, talks have likely already begun. It would appear, the Lions might want to have this hammered out sooner rather than later.
A quarterback is obviously a huge piece of the team, and perspective wide receivers will want to know who is throwing them the ball, and free-agent defensive players will be interested in who’s leading the offense.
I wouldn’t expect this to last too long. If the Patriots are going to move to the next level of interest, we’ll know soon.
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