The Detroit Lions are sticking with Matthew Stafford, despite rumors that the longtime starter was on the trade block.
After reports emerged this week that the team was looking for a trade partner for Stafford and sparking an apparent rebuild, general manager Bob Quinn spoke up to quash the rumors. In a text message to the Detroit Free Press, he said the reports that the team was in talks to trade Stafford were “100% False!!” Those reports had picked up steam after Stafford’s wife, Kelly, took to Instagram to comment on a story about the potential trades, saying that “if detroit is done with us” then she could stay in California, as the Los Angeles Chargers had been listed as a potential destination.
As the report noted, the Staffords had purchased a home in Newport Coast, California, last year. That sparked speculation that they could be looking at a move to nearby Los Angeles.
There are other signs that the Lions would be standing pat with Stafford. As the contract-tracking website Sportstrac noted on Twitter, the Lions had already restructured the quarterback’s contract to relieve a cap hit.
“Trading Matthew Stafford would leave behind $32M of dead cap to the #Lions, a loss of $10.7M of space. Detroit has already restructured and paid out a $6M bonus for the season,” the tweet read. “He’s staying put in 2020.”
As the Free Press noted, Stafford is coming off one of his most efficient seasons in 2019, setting a career-high for passer rating in the eight games be played before suffering a season-ending back fracture. With Stafford’s history of injuries, there was some speculation that the Lions could use their No. 3 overall pick to snag Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and move into a rebuilding phase.
There had been mixed reports about the team’s intentions for Stafford. ClickOnDetroit had reported that sources close to the team confirmed trade talks, noting that the Lions had been working on a deal for Stafford for a few weeks.
The Lions would likely find an active trade market for Stafford due to the high turnover of quarterbacks this offseason. The Chargers have already announced that they are moving on from Philip Rivers and the New England Patriots could be losing Tom Brady as well. Other free agents include Drew Brees and Ryan Tannehill. Stafford would have been an attractive option for many of the teams that will be looking for quarterbacks for 2020, the Free Press noted.