At 6:09 PM EST, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero broke the news that former #1 overall pick Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions will part ways during the upcoming offseason. After many possible, but not concrete, rumors about the 13-year veteran cutting ties with Detroit, it will finally happen. Stafford, drafted by Detroit in 2008 after their 0-16 season, is entering a QB trade pool already loaded, with Deshaun Watson and Carson Wentz at the forefront. Stafford, 32, still performs on a high level, and any QB-less team would probably be dying for him to wear their colors next season. Teams like the Colts, Texans, 49ers, Saints, and many others could be in the running for him. However, does a team like the Patriots make sense for Stafford?
With the Patriots expected to end the Cam Newton experiment by not resigning him this upcoming offseason, they are certainly on the hunt for a new quarterback. There are couple QB moves that make sense for the Patriots. After finishing 7-9 this season, they hold the 15th pick in the upcoming draft. They could definitely use it on a quarterback like Justin Fields (unlikely), Mac Jones, or Trey Lance. There are other options such as Desmond Ridder, Ian Book, or Kellen Mond later in the draft.
Another option is to go after a veteran. The big fish, Deshaun Watson, probably isn’t an option, considering his two primary options are two division rivals, the Jets and Dolphins. Former Patriots backup Jimmy Garoppolo is certainly a favorite of Bill Belichick, but the 49ers’ might keep him. Then there’s Stafford. Using that pick, and probably a couple of other future picks and/or players, the Patriots could make a compelling offer to the Lions for the veteran QB. However, would Stafford want this? That is still up to question.
There certainly are some things that would affect Stafford’s opinion of the Patriots. First, Stafford has suffered through the era of Matt Patricia, whose record as Lions HC was 13-29-1. While tensions may be present between the two parties, Patricia will resume his role as an assistant in New England next season, where he had the most success, winning numerous Super Bowls. That would be Stafford’s first connection. However, the more important convincing factor is the Patriots’ defense. The root of New England’s troubles this season came from their offense, led by an unimpressive Cam Newton. Their defense is still top tier, with their secondary remaining as one of the best in the league. Stafford has not won mostly because of a faulty defense. If he comes to New England, he would be playing next to his best defensive attack yet.
While this news was only broken a couple of hours ago, the Patriots have to be interested in this situation. There is certainly some reason for Stafford to be enticed to play in New England. New Lions GM Brad Holmes and new HC Dan Campbell already have an important decision to make in Detroit. If you are a Patriots fan, there is no reason not to want Matthew Stafford on your team. Only time will tell though to see where he ends up.