January 27, 2021
NFL Rumors: Washington Football Team Could Be Matthew Stafford's 'Strongest Suitor,' Per 'Sports Illustrated'

Although the Denver Broncos are supposedly the top favorite to land Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford in the upcoming 2021 offseason, a new report suggested a few other potential destinations for the veteran signal-caller, with the Washington Football Team looking like the best landing spot.

As explained on Tuesday by Sports Illustrated's Vito Chirco, Washington stands out as a top candidate for Stafford's services, given how the organization is one of the most "franchise QB-starved" in the entire league. During the 2020 campaign, several players took turns starting behind center, including Dwayne Haskins, Kyle Allen, Alex Smith, and Taylor Heinicke, but none were able to hold down the first-string job for an extended period of time due to various factors.

According to Chirco, it appears that Washington might be ready to "take the next step" by upgrading its quarterback rotation, but the team likely won't make much progress by sticking to some of the options it currently has.

"Would you rather attempt to do that with a soon-to-be 37-year-old Alex Smith, a career journeyman in Taylor Heinicke, who's made just two starts in his NFL career, or Stafford? I'm willing to put a good amount of money on [head coach Ron] Rivera opting for Stafford, out of those three options."

Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions walks off the field after a loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the 2017 Wild Card Round.
Getty Images | Otto Greule Jr.

In addition to how Stafford is still capable of producing on the field, Chirico noted that the 32-year-old has a connection to Washington's front office, as general manager Martin Mayhew was among the Lions officials who chose to select him first overall in the 2009 NFL Draft. Mayhew also remained with the Lions until 2015, which, as speculated, could push him to advise Rivera to make a move for Stafford.

Talking about potential trade packages for Stafford, the Sports Illustrated writer speculated that Washington could offer the 19th overall pick, as well as one of the third-rounders it has in this year's draft. He added that this could be enough to "seal the deal" and convince Lions general manager Brad Holmes to part ways with the club's longtime No. 1 signal-caller.

Although Washington was described as the "strongest suitor" in the Stafford sweepstakes, two other teams were mentioned as possible destinations. These include the Indianapolis Colts, whose starting quarterback, Philip Rivers, announced his retirement from professional football earlier this month, and the San Francisco 49ers, whose No. 1 option behind center, Jimmy Garoppolo, continued to deal with injuries and didn't play too well during the six games he suited up for in the 2020 campaign.