The Broncos have reportedly jumped out to the lead in the Matthew Stafford sweepstakes, with a new report indicating that Denver is the most motivated team to snag the soon-to-be-former Lions signal-caller.
Reports this weekend indicated that Stafford had asked the franchise for a trade and that Detroit's front office agreed, setting the wheels in motion for what will likely be a blockbuster deal. While there have been a number of teams connected to him, Sports Illustrated's Mile High Huddle noted that sports betting outlets have already put the Broncos at the top of the list. The report added that the Broncos haven't committed on whether to move forward with Drew Lock, but could find a very affordable upgrade in Stafford."Even despite Drew Lock finishing the 2020 campaign on a statistical upward trend, there appears to be growing momentum for the Broncos landing Stafford this offseason," the report suggested. "Sporting an extremely palatable contract with a $20 million cap hit in 2021 and a $23 million dollar cap hit in 2022, Stafford will be just the seventeenth highest-paid quarterback next season on a short-term deal."
Stafford could have an easy transition to Denver given the coaching staff's familiarity with him, the outlet added. Vic Fangio and Ed Donatell have a history with the Chicago Bears, while Pat Shurmur and general manager George Paton worked with the Minnesota Vikings. And aside from the inconsistent play of Lock, Denver would already have quite a bit of young talent around Stafford in the receiving corps, including Jerry Jeudy, K.J. Hamler, Noah Fant, and Albert Okwuegbunam.
There would likely be high competition when he does hit the trade block. As The Inquisitr reported, the New England Patriots have also been pegged as a potential destination as there are indications that the team is ready to move on from Cam Newton and don't have an adequate replacement in Jarrett Stidham, who struggled in his limited opportunities. The Boston Herald's Andrew Callahan speculated that the Patriots could use their No. 15 overall pick in the upcoming draft along with All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore as part of a package that would entice the Lions into moving their franchise quarterback.
Stafford has not yet spoken publicly about his request, though his wife, Kelly, took to Instagram on Monday to write a post thanking the team's fans.
"Random tears come very often when I think about not being here," she wrote, via ESPN. "This place supported me during the toughest time of my life and during the happiest times and I want to thank y'all in the right way.