Detroit Lions to part ways with QB Matthew Stafford
After months of speculation, it appears the Detroit Lions and Matthew Stafford are on the cusp of a divorce. The quarterback and team have agreed to mutually parts ways and the Lions will immediately begin fielding trade offers.
According to a source with knowledge of the conversations, Stafford initially proposed the break with team ownership shortly after the season, but the conversation was temporarily tabled while the team searched for its new general manager and head coach.
As the Lions zeroed in on finalist for those leadership positions, both Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell were informed of Stafford's request. After the hires were made, Stafford spoke to both Holmes and Campbell and the decision was made to move forward with a trade.
While a deal now appears likely, there remains a possibility Stafford sticks in Detroit if the team does not get "fair market value," according to the source.
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Stafford, the No. 1 pick in the 2009 draft, has smashed nearly every conceivable passing mark in franchise history and the 12-year veteran has been rapidly climbing the league's all-time charts in passing yards, completions and touchdowns.
Starting immediate as a rookie, Stafford battled injuries as a young player, missing extensive time his first two seasons. But beginning in 2011, he embarked on one of the longest ironman streaks at the quarterback position, starting 136 consecutive games.
That streak ended in 2019, when a broken bone in Stafford's back sidelined him the final eight games of the season.
Stafford carries a $33 million cap hit in 2021, but the Lions will shave approximately $14 million off the cap, whether they trade or release him. Several teams, including the Colts, 49ers, Saints and Patriots could be among the potential suitors.