Leon Halip/Getty Images
“[Head coach Matt] Patricia and [general manager Bob] Quinn both spent a long time in the Patriots‘ organization, where they watched Tom Brady very closely,” an insider said. “They are going to want somebody who prepares and manages the game more like Tom.”
A different executive also agreed with the prediction, noting the coach’s interest in self-preservation.
“Patricia is going to say, ‘This is not the guy that is going to get me fired,'” the second insider said.
Stafford has been with the Lions since being taken with the No. 1 overall pick in 2009, and he has started every game over the past eight seasons.
While he had at least 4,000 passing yards and 20 touchdowns in each of the last seven years, that stretch is in danger this season. He enters Week 17 with 3,511 passing yards and just 19 touchdowns.
The team is also just 5-10, while the Lions have failed to win a playoff game in three chances with Stafford at the helm.
He signed a five-year, $135 million extension last September, although there is now less confidence in his future with a new administration in charge in Detroit. With that said, the financial liability could prevent any deal.
“In 2019, he’s set to have a cap hit of $29.5 million, but also carries $30 million in dead money, tied to his $50 million signing bonus,” Justin Rogers of the Detroit News explained. “That means it would cost the Lions more cap space to trade him than to keep him, and that’s not even factoring in the cost of a potential replacement.”
Another team must also be willing to pay a high annual salary for the quarterback as well as likely deal away significant assets in a trade.
While the Lions might want to move in a different direction this offseason, they may not find a trade to their liking.