This NFL team apparently went fishing for Lions' Matthew Stafford last year

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
The Dolphins reportedly had interest in Matthew Stafford last year.

Phoenix — While the great Matthew Stafford debate continues to be waged on Twitter, talk radio and at water coolers, there still are plenty of people out there who believe the Detroit Lions quarterback has the necessary tools to build a franchise around.

From all observable evidence, Lions' leadership remains strongly in Stafford's corner. But at least one team reportedly called to gauge Detroit's sincerity last year. 

According to the Miami Herald, then-Dolphins head coach Adam Gase put out feelers to colleague Matt Patricia about trading for Stafford last season. The Lions haven't publicly responded to the report.

"Gase, in fact, reached out personally to Lions coach Matt Patricia to try to pry Stafford away from the Lions," the Herald reported Tuesday. "Gase and Patricia are friends and the Lions coach was new to the Lions at the time and considering all options on how to improve his new team.

"Although it’s not believed the talks reached a point where the Dolphins were asked what they were willing to give for Stafford, it is believed Gase would have offered at minimum Miami’s 2018 first-round pick and probably more."

Gase, a Ypsilanti native and Michigan State alum, now coaches the New York Jets.

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With Ryan Tannehill and Brock Osweiller splitting time under center, the Dolphins went on to finish 7-9. Gase was dismissed at the end of the year. Stafford, meanwhile, also struggled, throwing for 3,777 yards, 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. 

What was not covered in the Herald's reporting is how a trade, had it been seriously considered, would have worked from a salary cap perspective. In 2018, Stafford was in the first season of a five-year extension he signed with the Lions.

Trading the quarterback would have carried a massive $47-million cap hit, nearly double the $26.5 million hit he actually carried last season.

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers