One of the more puzzling quarterback situations out there of late is the Detroit Lions. Last season became a major disappointment after longtime starter Matthew Stafford suffered fractures in his back, killing the team’s hopes of a push for the playoffs in the second half of the season. Now they’re positioned well with the #3 pick in the raft. This virtually guarantees them a shot at Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, whom a lot of people believe is a superior prospect to LSU’s Joe Burrow if not for the hip injury he suffered last year.
Some feel this would be the perfect time for Detroit to make a change at quarterback. That is exactly what Bill Smilovitz of WDIV-TV in Detroit, revealed on ClickonDetroit.com that the Lions are indeed involved in trade talks regarding the 32-year old Stafford.
“Sources close to the Detroit Lions have confirmed to Local 4′s Bernie Smilovitz that trade talks concerning quarterback Matthew Stafford have been underway for a couple of weeks.
Stafford’s wife Kelly posted on her Instagram account saying if her husband were to be traded, one destination she would be interested in is California.”
Odds of Matthew Stafford trade are remote at this point
Not long after the report surfaced, others in the Lions media reached out to sources requesting clarification. GM Bob Quinn himself swiftly denied the rumor, calling it “100% False!!” in a text message to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. Now naturally he’s going to deny such a thing whether it’s true or not. The bigger reason people don’t think it is legitimate is two-fol.
For one, Detroit just restructured Stafford’s contract last December to free up $9 million of their 2020 salary cap. Trading him now would saddle the team with a staggering $30 million in dead cap. Secondly, ownership made it clear that expectations for this coming season are playoffs or bust for Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia. Why then would they put their jobs on the line with a rookie quarterback?
The reality is Stafford’s trade value is low, both because of his health status along with the strength of the upcoming free agent class of quarterbacks. It is the worst time ever for them to think about dealing him.