Much like Barry Sanders and Calvin Johnson before him, Stafford is likely to leave the Lions in his prime. However, unlike those two legends, Stafford — who turns 33 on February 7 — is prepared to continue playing after parting ways with Detroit.
Stafford is expected to be a popular name on the quarterback trade market. Longtime NFL writer Peter King proposed that a team, one which recently made the Super Bowl, swap their starting quarterback for Stafford.
The Detroit Lions and Matthew Stafford are expected to part ways
Let the record show that Matthew Stafford gave everything he had to the Detroit Lions.
The No. 1 overall pick in 2009, Stafford arrived under much fanfare and spent much of 12 seasons carving up opposing defenses. In 165 starts from 2009-20, Stafford completed 62.6% of his passes for 45,109 yards, 282 touchdowns, and 144 interceptions.
Despite having Calvin Johnson for much of the first half of Stafford’s career, Detroit only went 74-90-1 in games that Stafford started. Stafford lost all three of his postseason starts from 2011-16.
Stafford did his part, especially after Detroit had long suffered through musical chairs of quarterbacks. The past decade has helped Lions fans forget about the Dan Orlovsky and Joey Harrington days at quarterback.
Matthew Stafford could be a hot name on the trade market
The Detroit Lions are expected to trade Matthew Stafford at some point in the coming months.
Quarterbacks like Stafford don’t come along often via trade. The 2014 Pro Bowl selection is durable — he has only missed eight starts since the 2011 season began, and all of those absences came in 2019 — and still playing solid football.
Stafford hasn’t thrown more than 13 interceptions in a season since 2013, when opposing defenses picked him off 19 times.
The Indianapolis Colts could pursue Stafford after Philip Rivers recently retired. Media reports have also linked Stafford to the Denver Broncos and Washington Football Team, among other teams.
Peter King suggested the San Francisco 49ers trade for Stafford
At least one credible NFL reporter believes Matthew Stafford could best benefit by trading winters in Michigan for those in California.
In the January 25 edition of his ‘Football Morning in America’ column for NBC Sports, longtime NFL writer Peter King listed the San Francisco 49ers among the seven teams he believes should try to acquire Stafford.
King called the 49ers an “intriguing” fit for Stafford.
“San Francisco talks a big game about loving Jimmy Garoppolo, and maybe the franchise does. We’ll see.”
King proposed the 49ers trade Garoppolo, their injury-plagued starting quarterback, and a 2022 second-round pick for Stafford. Although Garoppolo led the 49ers to a Super Bowl 54 appearance, he has struggled with injuries for much of his time in San Francisco.
Garoppolo, 29, completed 67.1% of his passes for 1,096 yards, seven touchdowns, and five interceptions in six starts this season. According to NBC Sports, Garoppolo will count $26.9 million against next year’s cap, including $25.5 million in salary and bonuses.
Garoppolo is a free agent after the 2022 season.