Matthew Stafford will be traded to the Los Angeles Rams from the Detroit Lions as soon as the league will allow the deal to be made official. This per a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter late last week.
Shortly after news of the Stafford trade reached the rest of the media, there were reports the New England Patriots were interested in the former No. 1 pick, but the feelings weren’t mutual. Stafford reportedly told the Lions they could trade him anywhere but the Patriots.
That’s pretty cold and a slap in the face to a once proud and dominant organization that has suddenly been the butt of jokes and disrespect in a whirlwind 2020 season that saw the exit of an icon and the first campaign that didn’t end in a postseason appearance since 2008.
As much weight as Stafford’s refusal to come to Foxborough might have had, perhaps a bigger impediment was the measly package the Patriots are reported to have offered the Lions in exchange for Stafford.
According to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, here’s his breakdown of what the Patriots offered the Lions, and how that further eliminated New England from the conversation.
The Patriots and Bears both checked in. New England was willing to package a second-rounder with a player to get Stafford, which, when added to the Patriots’ absence on a list of preferred destinations (something my buddy Tom Curran reported on Sunday) quickly eliminated Bill Belichick & Co. from the chase.
Needless to say, that offer pales in comparison to what the Lions got from the Rams.
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What The Lions Got From the Rams
The Lions couldn’t have gotten a better return for Stafford at any other point in his career. When you consider he’s about to turn 33, getting two first-round picks, a third-round pick and Jared Goff is pretty amazing, and it puts Detroit in a position to hit reset with some solid assets.
Goff may never be Joe Montana, but he’s also not a complete bust. He’s good enough to keep the Lions competitive while they establish better culture on their roster, and perhaps look for an upgrade at the position down the road. There isn’t much that the Patriots offered that could compare to this kind of a haul.
What’s Happening to the Patriots’ Mystique?
The NFL is transforming into a player’s league, and that simply isn’t the Patriot Way. No matter how hard they attempt to prance the success of the past in front of today’s players, the further the team gets from its’ most recent examples of glory, the more hollow those recruiting pitches will ring in the ears of top talent.
Tom Brady’s exit and success in 2020 has only compounded and expedited this shift. Apparently, with Brady went a lot of respect for the organization. Whether you agree or disagree with this concept, it’s clear it is a reality. Former Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola even said “Tom Brady is the Patriot Way,” on an episode of FS1’s First Things First.
That should tell you all you need to know about how players on the outside have started to feel about the organization.
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