The Detroit Lions are starting over with a new coaching staff, and they will reportedly be making a change at quarterback as well. CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora confirmed the Lions and Matthew Stafford have mutually agreed to end their tenure together this offseason and the team will begin exploring trade options in the coming weeks for the former No. 1 overall pick, as first reported by Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network. According to Pelissero, Stafford expressed a desire for a fresh start in recent weeks, and the Lions agreed to put him on the trade block. The two sides have had "open and healthy" discussions since the regular season ended, and with a new head coach in Dan Campbell and a new offensive coordinator, this certainly appears to be the right time to make a change.
Stafford, who was taken with the top pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, has spent his entire career in Detroit. He likely finishes his time in Detroit with 45,109 yards and 282 passing touchdowns -- both are franchise records. Stafford turns 33 this offseason, but he is still playing at a high level and has done so through multiple injuries. In 16 games this past season, he passed for 4,084 yards, 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions as the Lions went 5-11. A move could happen relatively soon, as Pelissero notes that on the fifth day of the 2021 league year in March, Stafford is due a $10 million roster bonus. The veteran signal-caller has two years and $43 million left on his contract.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Campbell and new general manager Brad Holmes were told that Stafford was not expected to be with the team before they were hired, so no one within the organization was blindsided by this development. According to Schefter, the Lions are expected to receive at least a first-round pick in return for Stafford. There are plenty of teams who could be interested in acquiring the services of a big-armed veteran, such as Washington or the Indianapolis Colts. We broke down the five NFL teams most likely to complete a deal with the Lions, here.
The Lions own the No. 7 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, so it's possible that Detroit could now be targeting a quarterback with its top pick. Then again, there are plenty of quarterbacks that are available on the market this offseason -- a group that Stafford now joins.