January 24, 2021
NFL Rumors: Colts Could Acquire Matthew Stafford For No. 21 Pick In 2021 Draft, 'Sports Illustrated' Suggests

After 12 seasons with the team, it appears that Matthew Stafford will soon be on his way out of the Detroit Lions, as reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter on Saturday. Citing league sources, Schefter wrote that the Lions will start entertaining trade offers this week and are hoping to "at least" receive a first-round selection as compensation. As suggested by a separate report from Sports Illustrated, the Indianapolis Colts might be one of those teams willing to swing such a deal for the 32-year-old signal-caller.

In its list of top 10 trade destinations for Stafford, Sports Illustrated wrote that the Colts stand out as a landing spot because of the fact their starting quarterback in the 2020 season, Philip Rivers, recently announced his retirement after 17 pro seasons. The outlet added that since the Houston Texans likely won't think of moving Deshaun Watson to a divisional rival, the Colts should instead target Stafford, who could thrive under the coaching of the "quarterback-centric" Frank Reich.

Given how general manager Chris Ballard is now willing to "[spend] assets" in order to build a competitive lineup, the publication speculated that Indianapolis' No. 21 overall pick in this year's draft could be "more than adequate" compensation for Stafford. Alternately, it was suggested that the Colts could also offer a package of mid-round selections to the Lions in exchange for the former No. 1 overall choice.

"Stafford, who is departing the Lions due to his hesitation for enduring another rebuild, finds a comfortable situation with a great offensive line, running game and receiving corps, not to mention a defense that returns a lot of talent and its coordinator, Matt Eberflus. New offensive coordinator Marcus Brady, a former CFL standout at the position, is poised to be a rising star in coaching circles as well."

Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions looks to hand off the ball during a game against the Indianapolis Colts.
Getty Images | Nic Antaya

Despite consistently producing for the Lions since entering the NFL in 2009, Stafford has only compiled a 74-90-1 record as a starter and has been named to just one Pro Bowl, per Pro Football Reference. Playing for a 5-11 Lions team in 2020, he finished the year with 26 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 4,084 passing yards, and a 96.3 QB rating.

Aside from the Colts, the Denver Broncos were also mentioned on Saturday as a possible landing spot for Stafford. According to The Draft Network, this could make for a sensible move, depending on how Broncos president of football operations John Elway feels about second-year signal-caller Drew Lock, who has produced mixed results since he joined the team as a second-round pick in the 2019 campaign.