On this past Saturday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Detroit Lions and their longtime starting quarterback, Matthew Stafford, have decided to mutually part ways this off-season.
And this from Detroit: pic.twitter.com/M0L46PzCw2
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 23, 2021
Stafford was the number one overall pick of the Lions back in 2009 and has spent his entire career in Detroit. Over his 12 seasons in the Motor City, Stafford has accumulated a record of 74-90-1.
Of course that record looks less than desirable, but all of those losses can’t be put on the quarterback. Stafford may have been the focal point of the team, but he has dealt with a lot of coaching turnover, bad defenses, and plenty of uncertainty that comes with a Lions franchise that hasn’t reached the Super Bowl in its history.
Still, Stafford is as good as they come. That isn’t to say he is a once in a generation talent like Patrick Mahomes, but he is a great, talented NFL quarterback that can still help any team win. It isn’t his fault that he was drafted by the Lions way back when.
The only QBs in NFL history with 45,000+ passing yards and less than 150 INT:
• Aaron Rodgers
• Matthew Stafford
end of list pic.twitter.com/bqcBYtH4Ln
— NFLonCBS (@NFLonCBS) January 23, 2021
So with Stafford’s services reportedly available, what teams will pounce on the opportunity? Here are the five teams with the best chance to wind up with the former Georgia Bulldog:
The Broncos need a quarterback. Drew Lock is not the answer. If you believe in him, great, but he has not shown any level of consistency to prove to anyone that he is the guy you want leading your franchise.
So when you are the Denver Broncos-who have a good team as it stands today- you can’t let the most important position on the field drag you down. Inserting Stafford onto a team with a solid defense and explosive, young playmakers, the Broncos would be set up for success in 2021.
Is it crazy that I think Denver should consider trading pick #9? That roster can contend with a QB…. https://t.co/8oGy1aPrMC
— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) January 23, 2021
This is going to be a reoccurring theme on this list, but the Colts are ready to win now. Stafford is a win-now quarterback. He is a seasoned veteran that is ready to lead a team. And no, I don’t know Mr. Stafford personally, but I am sure he is sick of all of the losing that happened in Detroit.
With that being said, the Colts (like Denver) have a roster ready to compete at this very moment. In fact, they have an even better roster than Denver AND they have a clear gap at quarterback with Phillip Rivers retiring.
The Steelers are a fascinating case. They have a very strange situation with Ben Roethlisberger and his potential cap hit, they have a lot of pending free agents, but also have a lot of young talent across the board.
I see the Steelers as a less than likely fit (because of Big Ben and the salary cap), but they have that same roster. Strong defense, young playmakers. With a legit quarterback, and an increased emphasis on establishing the running game, Pittsburgh could be back in the mix for a Super Bowl run instead of being the fraudulent 11-0 team we saw this year.
Washington Football Team
Washington made it to the postseason this year despite all that was stacked against them. It helped that they were in the worst division in football, but that is besides the point. The Football Team played great this year on both sides of the ball; that is when they had an actual quarterback out there.
The Dwayne Haskins experiment failed horribly, but Alex Smith was able to step in and provide stability. Still, everyone knows what Alex Smith is. He isn’t going to take a team over the top, so Washington would continue to count on its defense to win its games in what is now an offensively driven league.
If Washington were to bring in Stafford, the sky could be the limit. An experienced head coach in Ron Rivera, an ferocious defense led by Chase Young, and Antonio Gibson/Terry McLaurin balling on the other side of the football. Put Stafford in that mix (and maybe another receiver) and Washington could grab a strangle hold on the NFC East for years to come.
New England Patriots
Bill Belichick is 68-years-old and not getting any younger. His former partner in crime Tom Brady played in the NFC Championship yesterday while Belichick was trying to figure out what went wrong this season for the Patriots. With that being the case, I am sure that Belichick wants to prove that he is greatest coach of all-time, and not just a product of his former quarterback before he heads into retirement.
The idea of Belichick drafting and developing a quarterback is nice, but does he have the patience for that? More likely than not he wants to bring in someone experienced to help the offense rebound sooner rather than later. The Patriots want to win, and bringing in a guy like Stafford makes that possible from the jump.
Now, the offense as a whole was a problem in 2020, but the quarterback under center, Cam Newton, was a big reason why. The Patriots need a lot of help at skill positions like wide receiver, but bringing in a quarterback that can actually throw the ball downfield consistently would be a good start to New England’s fast reset.
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– Jarrod Ribaudo (@jarrod_ribaudo on Twitter)