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New England Patriots: Matthew Stafford traded to the Rams, said no to New England, did Matt Patricia play a role in his decision?

The Rams and Lions swung a blockbuster deal on Saturday night. The Lions traded quarterback Matthew Stafford to the Rams for quarterback Jared Goff and three draft picks. This is potentially the first of many quarterback changes in the NFL for next season. 

Stafford threw for 4,084 passing yards, 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions during the 2020 season. Goff threw for 3,952 yards, 20 TDs and 13 INTs, but the Rams season ended with an NFC Divisional Round loss to the Green Bay Packers.

First-year Lions general manager Brad Holmes made his first move swapping quarterbacks and acquiring multiple premium draft picks. After the dust was settled, the Lions netted two first-round picks and a third-rounder. The Lions will assume the remainder of Goff’s contract, the former no.1 overall pick has four years, $106.6 million remaining on his deal.

The Stafford-Goff trade has implications for the New England Patriots. Head coach Bill Belichick is looking to potentially replace Cam Newton who is a free agent this offseason. The Patriots would have been a clear fit for the soon to be 33-year-old Stafford as their next quarterback. However reports circulating around social media on Sunday that Stafford had no interest in playing for the Patriots.

According to Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston, Stafford reportedly told the Lions they could trade him to any team except New England. However, it’s unknown what the major deciding factor was behind Stafford’s decision to not want to play for New England. The team is rebuilding, they lack depth at wide receiver, tight end and other area’s on the roster. 

The Matt Patricia Factor?

One possible factor in his decision could have to do with former head coach Matt Patricia. The Patriots brought back Patricia after he was fired by the Lions. He was fired following the Lions loss to the Texans on Thanksgiving.

Prior to his termination, reporters asked Stafford his opinion on Patricia’s job security and he commented, “It’s not my decision. That’s for somebody else. If you want to ask me about the game, you ask me about the game.” The Lions former head coach tried to implement the Patriot Way with the Lions. Patricia struggled to bring that mindset to the Lions locker room and received backlash from his players.

Belichick has thought highly of Stafford in the past, “He’s very accurate and he’s got a strong arm. He can stand in there and make those throws, with or without a rush, in or out of the pocket, stationary or on the run. He’s extremely dangerous — one of the very best in the league for sure.”

The Successor

The Patriots will be heading into their second offseason looking for a quarterback to replace Tom Brady. Stafford reportedly informing the Lions he didn’t want to play in New England comes as a blow to the rebuilding Patriots.

Belichick will have no shortage of options to replace Brady and Newton this offseason. Stafford would have been a viable replacement for the next few seasons at quarterback. The NFL offseason doesn’t begin for a few months and other names will emerge as potential options.

The allure of playing in New England has taken a hit since the departure of Brady. Despite the abundance of cap space heading into this offseason, the Patriots will need to look elsewhere to replace Newton. 

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– Chris Henrique (@ChrisHenrique on Twitter)

 

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