Lions Fan Dreams Up Fascinating Matthew Stafford Return Scenario

Matthew Stafford

Getty Matthew Stafford throws a pass during the 2022 Super Bowl.

Detroit Lions fans have been forced to watch their former quarterback Matthew Stafford go on to have major success and win a Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams.

Could Stafford end up returning to the Lions one day, however? That is a notion that several fans are desperately clinging to in the days after watching their former quarterback achieve the kind of glory they can only dream about for their own team.

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As a result of this, there are plenty of folks who have been daydreaming about Stafford’s return. One potential plan for a return was laid out by Adam Duxter, a reporter for WCCO in Minneapolis and a self-proclaimed “Lions fan in Vikings territory.” Duxter tweeted on February 15 that the path to a Stafford return would not be all that complicated to dream up.

“Hear me out. Matthew Stafford is an unrestricted free agent in 2023. Lions spend next two years building roster. Stafford gets one more playoff run with Rams. Stafford comes back in ‘23 and looks to take a bolstered lions team to the Super Bowl, cementing his legacy as a great,” Duxter tweeted.

Naturally, this Stafford hypothetical is a pipe dream at this point. After the Super Bowl, the Rams spoke about their desire to bring back Stafford on a contract extension. If the extension happens, the possibility of a return would be firmly out the window. Los Angeles is also facing a cap crunch, which means it would be hard to do such a deal, but Stafford could be motivated to not hit the market whatsoever.

Either way, it’s obvious that Stafford’s winning the Super Bowl sparked complicated feelings for Lions fans. Some of those feelings include longing for him to return in the near future.

Braylon Edwards Wonders If Stafford Could Pull a LeBron James

Braylon Edwards, a former University of Michigan star who played in the NFL before becoming an analyst for Michigan-based Woodward Sports, talked through what a Stafford return could look like. In a February 16 appearance of “The Bottom Line,” Edwards said it might not be farfetched to see Stafford come back, given what the Lions roster looks like and how similar returns have played out.

“It’s perfectly set up for them not to draft a quarterback, get maybe a backup quarterback, maybe a guy who could challenge Jared Goff like Brad Holmes said down in Mobile at the Senior Bowl. They next year you won’t even be in position to get a quarterback which means ‘hey uh, number nine, you available for business?’ I’ve see crazier things happen. I mean, LeBron did it,” Edwards said.

James departed his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers in 2010 in a controversial move, won titles and then managed to come back in 2014 to deliver an eventual title to Cleveland in 2016. It did help in cementing his legacy in his hometown. If Stafford did the same thing, it would likely make him a Detroit legend forever.

Whether or not this could happen or Stafford would be interested is another story, but Edwards is right to say that stranger things have certainly happened in sports.

Lions Quarterback Situation in Flux for Future

Wondering if Stafford could come back is an interesting proposition for Lions fans. Detroit’s own quarterback situation is settled for now. Goff, 27, is under contract through the 2024 season, but the Lions have an out after the 2022 season.

At least one notable football website suggests it’s possible that the Lions would a select a quarterback with their second first-round pick. Pro Football Focus wrote on February 9 that Detroit could use its No. 31 pick (which the obtained in the Stafford-Goff trade) to select quarterback Desmond Ridder, whom PFF views as the top quarterback in a relatively weak draft class.

A Stafford return likely won’t happen, but it is a situation where one simply can never say never, especially given the special connection Stafford seems to share with Detroit and its fans.

It’s clear some folks just want to try and will him back to town in the future as much as they can.

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