If Matthew Stafford wouldn't have landed with the Rams this offseason, he might've still ended up in the NFC West. That's according to ESPN's Seth Wickersham, who reports in a profile on the new Los Angeles quarterback that Stafford had three preferred destinations for his trade out of Detroit: The Rams, 49ers and Colts, in that order. The Rams ended up parting with two first-round picks, as well as former Pro Bowl QB Jared Goff, to acquire Stafford from the Lions, but Wickersham indicates Stafford was prepared for a move out of Motown regardless, pondering a potential trade request as early as the 2020 offseason.
"After last season, Stafford was ready to do something he and his wife, Kelly, had first discussed before the year began: Ask for a trade out of Detroit," Wickersham writes. "He met with the Lions brass and ownership for hours, shedding a few tears. He called Kelly on the drive home, telling her that the executives were surprised, but after listening to his rationale, they understood."
The 33-year-old Stafford, who spent the first 12 seasons of his career with the Lions, received permission to seek a trade almost immediately. Both sides, Wickersham reports, agreed to "keep the situation confidential and out of the headlines," committing to steer clear of leaks regarding Stafford's preferred destinations. But the QB informed Detroit at the time, per Wickersham, that he would ideally land with the Rams, Niners or Colts -- three prospective playoff teams believed to be pursuing QB upgrades.
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The Panthers offered a lucrative package to the Lions in an attempt to land Stafford, Wickersham adds, and Detroit could've taken the offer considering Stafford didn't have a no-trade clause in his contract. But Stafford "didn't want to go there, and so the team did him a solid and worked it out with the Rams." Weeks later, Stafford happened to be vacationing at the same Cabo resort as Rams coach Sean McVay, as well as L.A. left tackle Andrew Whitworth, spent a poolside visit getting to know the longtime Lions QB, and proceeded to negotiate Stafford's relocation.
What convinced Stafford, above all, that the Rams would be a good landing spot?
"I just want to play in big games, you know?" he told Wickersham. "I want to have opportunities to make big-time plays in the fourth quarter against really good teams, in big moments, rather than a 1 o'clock game on a Sunday somewhere."
What is Matthew Stafford's jersey number for the Rams
Stafford will wear No. 9 in L.A. If you're a Rams fan, you need a new jersey! Shop Stafford No. 9 jerseys now, including the all-new home and away gear. Click here to shop.
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