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Matthew Stafford trade talks: Lions asked for Aaron Donald, Panthers offered 8th and Bridgewater

Never hurts to ask.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Some new details dropped regarding the trade talks the Detroit Lions had when dealing Matthew Stafford last week, and they are fascinating. ESPN’s Adam Schefter dropped two nuggets, and they’re both very interesting to consider.

First, Schefter filled in the missing pieces to the Carolina Panthers’ offer to Detroit. Carolina reportedly offered their eighth overall pick, a fifth-round pick, and Teddy Bridgewater to Detroit. The addition of Bridgewater is consistent with reports that the Lions were seeking a quarterback in return for Stafford.

The value of the eighth overall pick compared to the two first-round picks the Los Angeles Rams ended up giving Detroit will be figured out later. Per the famous Jimmy Johnson draft trade chart, that eighth pick is worth the equivalent of two 26th overall picks. The Lions obviously got a third-round pick from the Rams, which would be better than the thrown-in fifth-round pick from the Panthers.

Then there’s the issue of Bridgewater vs. Jared Goff. The Lions probably like Goff better as a player, seeing as their new general manager Brad Holmes was pounding the table for him in the 2016 draft as the Rams’ director of college scouting. However, finances are important to consider. Goff will cost the Lions $27.825 million in cap space this year and $25.5 next year if they keep him ($15.5 million if they don’t). Bridgewater has competitive salaries in $17 and $20 million for the next two years, but his guarantees run out in 2021.

According to Albert Breer, the Lions nearly took this deal from the Panthers, with Carolina even going through the final steps of checking on Stafford’s medicals. There was a rumor that Stafford nixed the deal with the Panthers, but that remains unsubstantiated.

As for the other note from Schefter, this is a doozy. Early in negotiations, the Lions reportedly went after Aaron Donald from the Rams.

“When trade talks began between the Rams and Lions, the first player Detroit requested in a trade for QB Matthew Stafford was DT Aaron Donald, per sources,” Schefter tweeted. “Rams told Lions, that’s not happening, before the two sides later figured out the eventual compensation package.”

The Lions notoriously passed over Donald in the 2014 draft, choosing to take tight end Eric Ebron instead. Donald was chosen three picks later.

There likely wasn’t much chance the Rams were ever going to part ways with Donald, who just won his third Defensive Player of the Year award on Saturday. But good on general manager Brad Holmes for shooting his shot.

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