A roller coaster of a season is finally over. Now, it is time for reflection on what was and what will be.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford has been the cornerstone of the team since the infamous 0-16 season, pulling a franchise from the depths of football hell. He has put up historic numbers during his tenure in Detroit, and while the playoff success is, and probably will be, elusive for him as a Lion, there is no doubting that he has helped shape this team and fandom.
Despite enough injuries to warrant an Oxford comma when listing them, Stafford powered through them to not only play on Sunday, but thrive. In a battle between two teams with nothing to play for except draft position, both offenses came out flying. Stafford fell just shy of 300 passing yards, but made up for it with three touchdowns—four if the referees were competent—and many ridiculously tight throws at a multitude of arm angles. If it weren’t for an extremely controversial penalty, the Lions might have won that game.
However, the Lions are entering a fork in the road with their franchise, and the question arises: where to next? Does this team have enough talent for a quick turnaround post-Patricia? Will there be a total overhaul? It is hard to argue which path is best to take, but at the center of it is Matthew Stafford. There are talks about where he might end up—San Francisco, Pittsburgh, and more—should Detroit opt for a youth movement.
At this stage of his career, we know what Stafford is: a fantastic arm talent. Put him in the 49ers or Steelers teams with ridiculously talented defenses, and he could make the playoff run he has always deserved. He does not deserve this historically bad Lions defense. Dan Orlovsky, his former backup, thinks he should move on to greener pastures:
Today should be the final game for Matthew Stafford in a @Lions uniform. He goes down as one of the franchises best players, & certainly one that represented the city of Detroit & its people as well as anyone. He needs a new home-let him leave...The Lions need a full reboot.— Dan Orlovsky (@danorlovsky7) January 3, 2021
Was Sunday’s performance Stafford’s curtain call in Honolulu blue?
Today’s Question of the Day is:
Was this Matthew Stafford’s last game as a Detroit Lion?
My answer: I do not believe it was.
The current Detroit Lions, with free agents pending, are not in a position to compete next season. The offense has some pieces to build upon, as we saw on Sunday, but the defense requires a complete rework, and even with a defensive-minded coach like Robert Saleh, I do not expect even an average unit. This seems to indicate that you should move on from Stafford, right?
If Stafford demanded a trade—I don’t see this happening given his apparent love for the team—I think it would be fair to honor that request. With many teams boasting elite defenses but missing quarterbacks, the demand for a proven quarterback like Stafford could be high, perhaps enough to garner a late first round pick. If I were Detroit, I would take that deal. However, the question arises about value, and with a talented quarterback draft ahead, who knows what Stafford is truly worth and what you could get for him.
I think he has plenty of value to the Detroit Lions team going forward. As stated, this team will likely not compete for a few years. Why throw a rookie quarterback into the fray? Not only is Stafford an incredible talent and leader to learn from, but with Detroit picking seventh in the draft, the polished quarterback prospects might be gone. Contractually, you do not save much cap space by moving on from him either.
Drafting a quarterback makes sense for the Lions, but more akin to the Packers drafting Jordan Love. It is an insurance policy and building block for the future, but you shouldn’t be rushed into starting them. Best case scenario, the Lions turn their woes around in 2021. Worst case, the rebuild continues.
Either way, I am grateful to have been able to call Matthew Stafford my quarterback. He is a gem of a player and a person, and wherever the road takes him, he will have my full support.
Well, maybe not Chicago.
Was this Matthew Stafford’s last game as a Lion?
This poll is closed