Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford deserves better.
Matthew Stafford is far and away the best quarterback in Detroit Lions history. It’s often said the toughest job in Detroit sports is the starting goaltender for the Detroit Red Wings, ask Curtis Joseph, and quarterback of the Detroit Lions.
It makes my stomach churn, understanding it’s another lost season for Stafford as the Lions sit with an underwhelming 5-10 record heading into the final week of the year.
The Detroit Lions are set to enter yet another rebuild, yes, confirming that moto people often quote, ‘rebuilding since 1957’ referring to the last time the organization won a championship. This was before the Super Bowl era. Since the beginning of the Super Bowl era in 1967, Detroit’s lone playoff win came back in 1991. It’s been quite bleak since, to say the least.
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Stafford will turn 33 in February, leaving the organization with a massive decision understanding they will need to hire a new general manager and head coach. According to Spotrac, Stafford’s contract has a team option after this season, but it will carry a dead cap number of nearly $25 million next season.
That dead cap number also applies if the organization decides to trade Stafford. Trading the franchise quarterback to a contender landing some draft capital is the more intelligent route than simply cutting him and carrying that dead cap number while getting nothing in return.
It’s been 12 infuriating years for Stafford since being selected first overall in the 2009 NFL Draft. Stafford tops basically every statistic in Detroit Lions history at the quarterback position. He’s amassed 44,816 passing yards totaling 279 touchdowns accompanied by 143 interceptions.
Saturday’s embarrassing 47-7 loss at the hands of Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers may be when Matthew finally returns home to ask his wife, Kelly, to start packing. Brady threw for 348 yards and four touchdowns in the first half. Brady didn’t play in the second half, yet the Lions defense made Blaine Gabbert look like a future Hall Of Fame quarterback.
There is no way Stafford looks at this roster Bob Quinn constructed and feels at 33-years old that he has time to win something. Sure the Lions have a few nice pieces on offense, including D’Andre Swift, T.J. Hockenson, Frank Ragnow, and Taylor Decker. Still, with the entire receiving corps aside from rookie Quintez Cephus is entering free agency, leaving us with a lot to question. How does a general manager piece together a roster having an entire position all set to become free agents at the same time? Thanks, Bob.
Will the Lions be willing to pay Golladay upwards of $20-million per season? Does Golladay want to remain in Detroit if the organization decides to move on from Stafford and draft a rookie thrower?
The Detroit Lions are not just a couple of free agents away from contending for a playoff spot.
The Lions need to overhaul their entire roster, especially on the ball’s defensive side, before they’d be ready to compete with Green Bay and Minnesota for the NFC North. Also, I shouldn’t overlook the pesky Chicago Bears, but they are equally dysfunctional at the moment.
Is it fair to ask a 33-year old quarterback to endure another wholesale rebuild, knowing he’d be able to latch on with a legitimate playoff contender like Indianapolis or New Orleans if Drew Brees retires or even the San Francisco 49ers if they decide to move off of Jimmy Garoppolo? The answer is no.
It also begs the question, how much does Stafford have left in the tank?
This is the third straight year Stafford is finishing the year seriously injured. After back-to-back seasons with a broken back, Stafford has a broken front. In addition to the ankle injury suffered Saturday, Stafford had been playing with a rib cage injury.
At this point in his career, Stafford needs to go somewhere with a strong rushing attack, an above-average offensive line, and a defense that has the ability actually to stop someone or create a turnover.
The Detroit Lions are expected to have yet another top-ten draft pick in 2021. After foolishly passing on Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert in 2020, the organization needs to use this upcoming premium draft choice on a young quarterback.
That being said, for those who can’t wait to see someone other than Stafford under center for the Detroit Lions, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Look no further than Dwayne Haskins, or Josh Rosen.