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Latest Matthew Stafford trade rumors: A lot of smoke coming from 49ers, Colts

There’s a lot of smoke, and not a lot of clarity.

NFL: Detroit Lions at San Francisco 49ers Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a lot of buzz around the Matthew Stafford trade talks this week, and it only seems to be rising in intensity as the week goes on. With many coaches and general managers down in Alabama for the Senior Bowl, it would only make sense for talks to advance at this stage. And while it’s important to remember that a Stafford trade can’t become official until the new league year in mid-March, terms can be agreed upon—and subsequently leaked to the media—as early as the end of this sentence.

At this point, it’s hard to separate fact from fiction, as many “insiders” out there attempt to make a name for themselves by putting out false reports, but let’s do our best to lean on trusted sources and see where the latest rumors about Stafford’s next destination current stand.

The Colts are QB hungry

Colts owner Jim Irsay didn’t come right out and say that he wants Matthew Stafford, but he sure as hell sounded like someone prepared to go out and get him. Here’s what he told Zak Keefer of the The Athletic about their quarterback situation:

“Our belief is we’re close, that we have a tremendous nucleus of players that are capable of competing for the Super Bowl very soon. Ideally if you can get someone to come in this year who’s ready to go, it gives you your best opportunity.”

The Colts aren’t going to be in the Deshaun Watson race, seeing as that would require the Texans to trade within the division, so naturally, people are speculating that Indianapolis is where Stafford eventually lands.

But compensation could be a hangup. NBC Sports’ Peter King joined The Junkies and speculated that Indy’s first-round pick may not be enough to get it done.

“(Colts GM) Chris Ballard, to me, is one of the 1-2-3 best young GMs in football. But it’s probably gonna take more than the 21st pick in the draft to get Stafford and that’s what Indianapolis has right now,”

49ers have emerged as Vegas favorites

Over the past 48 hours, the 49ers have overtaken the Colts as the team with the most favorable Vegas odds to win the Stafford sweepstakes. There has been a ton of smoke specifically pointing to San Francisco as a team already pitching deals to the Lions. I’m not going to bother signal boosting those as they’re coming from wishy-washy sources.

Most of it is probably just noise, but if there’s enough noise, sometimes there’s actual truth behind it. The most reputable source that’s mentioned the connection is that of NFL insider Benjamin Allbright:

It’s worth mentioning that Allbright also believes the Colts are in the mix.

Lions probably getting at least one first-round pick

Unless some creative deals work around a first-round pick, it’s becoming pretty clear that’s the starting point for most negotiations. According to Peter King, he believe five teams will offer at least a first-round pick. Combine that with Ian Rapoport’s report that nearly one-third of the NFL has contacted the Lions about a potential trade, and it appears that price will be driven up.

Something coming soon?

Again, there seems to be a lot of buzz about things heating up, but none of it seems particularly reliable at the moment.

Then there’s this now-deleted tweet from Dan Orlovsky on Friday morning:

Of course, this could be about anything—from the stock market to Deshaun Watson news. But given Orlovsky’s proximity to Stafford’s situation, it’s worth taking seriously and pondering why he may have deleted the tweet.

Buckle up.

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