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Notes: Experts speculate on Matthew Stafford’s future in Detroit

Should he stay or should he go?

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Houston Texans v Detroit Lions Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

With the future in focus now that the Detroit Lions have moved on from head coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn, the next chess piece is that of quarterback Matthew Stafford. Team owner Sheila Ford Hamp said his future will be decided not by her, but the team’s next head coach. But that hasn’t stopped just about everyone from speculating on what will happen with the Lions’ franchise quarterback of the past 12 years.

Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press wrote a thoughtful piece on the topic, noting that Detroit’s current position in the draft—well behind two quarterback-needy teams in the Jets and Jaguars—could complicate things.

“The Lions will be jockeying with several other quarterback-needy teams – Washington, the Carolina Panthers and maybe the Atlanta Falcons – for draft position,” Birkett wrote.

Ultimately, Birkett notes that the most logical option may simply be keeping Stafford for a year to help a rookie in 2021, a la the Packers.

Sam Monson threw his hat into the ring on Tuesday, saying it’s time the Lions move on from their franchise quarterback.

“Everybody’s chasing that one season where he puts it all together, where he realizes that immense potential for an entire 16-game slate, and it’s just never going to come,” Monson said. Monson also dramatically called Stafford a “coach-killer,” which, I guess, is one way you could explain the last 12 years of Lions football.

Earlier in the week friend and former teammate of Matthew Stafford, Dan Orlovsky, tweeted out that now was the best time for the two sides to split.

“Real next impactful move is full start over and move on from Stafford,” Orlovsky said. “It’s time from both the organization standpoint and the players position as well. It didn’t work out.”

Of course, the elephant in the room—as it has been for several years—is Stafford’s contract. Next year, he’s due to cost the Lions a whopping $33 million in cap space, and Detroit would have to eat around $19 million of that if they decided to move on from Stafford, whether it be through a release or trade.

The fellas over at The Athletic also discussed Stafford’s future, making several good points. Here’s a taste from Nick Baumgardner:

As we’ve discussed, there are ways to transition from Stafford to a younger quarterback (we have a lot of college tape to watch in the coming months) that doesn’t include trading him immediately. Stafford’s been here 12 years and has been a soldier for the Fords, though. If he wants to leave, they should listen to him.

Stafford himself was asked about his future on Monday, but chose to hold off those conversations until the end of the year. That being said, Stafford was asked if he still has the patience to go through another regime change, and he gave a someone enlightening answer.

“I’m not going to limit myself to anything.”

And now, we wait.

  • Pro Bowl voting is open, if you haven’t noticed yet. You can also vote on Twitter using the hashtag #ProBowlVote, and two Lions offensive linemen have done just that, gassing each other up:

  • Matthew Stafford continues to get little help from his receivers:

  • November was a good month for tight end T.J. Hockenson:

  • Former Lions head coach Jim Caldwell joined the Adam Schefter podcast recently, and spoke about his health and his head coaching philosophies. If you don’t have time to listen, Meinke has a good chunk of the interview transcribed in the Twitter thread below:

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