Yesterday was quite eventful as panic set in yesterday throughout Detroit with the rumors that the Detroit Lions were actively shopping quarterback Matthew Stafford.
It was a wild couple of hours as, like you, we searched for the best sources available, and compiled our own knowledge to make an educated opinion on if these rumors had any legs to them. It was WDIV local 4, Bernie Smilovitz that confirmed through his sources that the Detroit Lions were indeed shopping their franchise quarterback.
Later in the day, Bernie indicated that he confirmed this with AFTER, the wife of Matthew Stafford made a post on Instagram that had the caption “well if Detroit is done with us, I could live in Cali.” Kelly Stafford hasn’t been shy about speaking her mind throughout Matt’s career in Detroit. It seems like this was more of a reactionary post to something she saw on the internet rather than a calculated, well-informed post to me.
Detroit Lions general manager quickly squashed the idea, saying the Lions are NOT fielding offers on Matt Stafford.
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Bernie Smilovitz did once again mention last evening that he sticks behind his sources, saying he did expect the Detroit Lions to come out and deny these allegations. He doesn’t expect the organization to show their hand until a deal is reached if they are indeed talking to teams about moving Matthew Stafford leading up to the NFL draft.
Two things to take from this; it would be wise for the Lions’ brass to at least force other franchises to speculate they may select quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, just to build themselves some potential draft stock.
I don’t feel moving Matt Stafford makes any sense what so ever, looking at it from multiple angles. Financially, trading him this season would be very foolish because he’d be owed $32 million in ‘dead cap’ money. His cap hit if he remains in Detroit is $21.3 million, would the Lions be willing to pay $32 million for him to play elsewhere? I don’t think that would make much sense.
Just over a month ago, the Lions turned $6 million into a bonus, allowing extra cap space now only adding to the dead cap hit. Why would they do that and turn around and trade him shortly after?
The Lions are in a win-now mode, drafting a rookie quarterback to start would immediately set the franchise back a year or two on the field before they get better. Sure it opens financial flexibility if Detroit were to trade Stafford next season when his dead cap number is $19 million, and his team cap hit becomes $33 million, but not this season.