The Detroit Lions have denied wanting to trade Matthew Stafford. They can’t even if they want to because of his future cap hits.
If you’re a Lions fan who loves Matthew Stafford, don’t worry. He’s not going anywhere.
A report surfaced on Thursday claiming general manager Bob Quinn was talking about dealing his starting quarterback in an effort to rebuild. While the notion is understandable — Stafford is 32 years old and the Lions won three games last year — it also makes no sense.
Stafford has three years remaining on his deal. His cap hits?
2020: $21.3 million
2021: $33 million
2022: $26 million
However, if Detroit trades Stafford, it eats a whopping $32 million this year alone in dead cap. No team is going to trade a good quarterback to add $10.7 million to its books.
If Detroit wants to move on from Stafford after 2020, it can do so. The Lions could trade him for a $14 million savings, or release him and do the same. If Quinn is still running the show this time next year, that’s a viable option depending on what the Lions look like.
Keeping in line with that thinking, Quinn could also draft a quarterback this year if he felt compelled. If no trades happen ahead of the Lions at No. 3, it’s incredibly likely Joe Burrow goes to the Cincinnati Bengals before Chase Young winds up with the Washington Redskins.
Last season, Stafford was enjoying a terrific campaign until a back injury come Week 9. The former Pro Bowler threw for 2,499 yards and 19 touchdowns against five interceptions in eight games.