Based on his recent comments, it appears that a Matthew Stafford trade from the Detroit Lions could very well be coming after the 2020 NFL season.
Stafford, 32, likely wants no part of what promises to be a long-term rebuild with the Lions. They just fired head coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn.
Meanwhile, this team lacks the combination of young and proven talent to be seen as relevant on the broader NFL stage. It’s going to be years before Detroit contends. At that point, Matthew Stafford will be well past his prime.
Set to count a combined $63-plus million against the cap over the next two seasons, there’s a limited number of teams that would show interest in a Matthew Stafford trade. With that said, he’s still performing at a high clip and would be a major upgrade for multiple squads around the NFL.
It’s in this that we look at the four likeliest Matthew Stafford trade scenarios.
Matthew Stafford trade to the Las Vegas Raiders
It’s not a secret that head coach Jon Gruden and quarterback Derek Carr have had somewhat of a divisive relationship since the former began his second tenure with the Raiders back in 2018. While Carr has played pretty well for the 6-5 Raiders this season, there’s every reason to believe Gruden will be looking for an upgrade under center in Las Vegas.
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Statistically, Carr has been on par with Stafford over the past several seasons. However, he continues to struggle throwing the ball down the field. It’s something Gruden fancies in his offense and has made Carr an odd fit under the head coach. A Matthew Stafford trade would definitely make sense for these Raiders depending on how the remainder of the 2020 season plays out.
Matthew Stafford trade to the New England Patriots
Speaking of how the 2020 season plays out, former NFL MVP Cam Newton is treating this year like a road trip. He signed a prove-it, one-year deal late in the offseason and is no way a guarantee to return to the Patriots in 2021. While Newton has put up nine rushing touchdowns thus far this season, he’s been terrible tossing the rock to a less-than-stellar group of pass-catchers. The veteran has thrown four touchdowns compared to nine interceptions in 10 starts. That’s not going to cut it.
It’s in this that a Matthew Stafford trade to the Patriots makes a ton of sense. Head coach Bill Belichick is likely looking at a more traditional quarterback after seeing Tom Brady hold down the fort for the past two decades prior to 2020. At 68 years old, it’s also a belief that Belichick isn’t looking to go with a young quarterback.
Matthew Stafford trade to the Jacksonville Jaguars
Following the firing of general manager Dave Caldwell, everything appears to be up in the air for these Jaguars moving forward. Young quarterback Gardner Minshew looked great as a rookie last season. However, a combination of injuries and inconsistent play might have a long-term ramification on his future in Duval.
Again, we’re looking at teams who have both the financial ability to add a quarterback and a need at this position. Right now, Jacksonville could afford Stafford’s contract without much of an issue. It also likely will have a need under center. Whether Stafford wants to go to a team in rebuild mode, much like the Lions, remains to be seen.
Matthew Stafford trade to the Dallas Cowboys
Two words. Dak Prescott. While Dallas has said everything right publicly relating to the injured quarterback, it’s not yet known whether a long-term commitment is coming. After Prescott suffered that devastating ankle injury back in Week 5, reports surfaced that Dallas could place the franchise tag on him again. Given the split between these two this past offseason, I am not too sure how that would sit with Prescott.
What I do know is that Dallas is not going to sit back and rely on someone like Andy Dalton under center moving forward. Owner Jerry Jones is too proud. And after what we’ve seen thus far this season, Jones is going to do everything possible to make this organization relevant again. If that means trading Prescott and making a move for Stafford, so be it.