It is truly a new era in the Motor City as the Detroit Lions have hired new head coach Dan Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes. Continuing into that new era, the Lions and longtime quarterback Matthew Stafford are expected to part ways after 11 years together.
The first overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, Stafford has carried the Lions for more than a decade, only to be let down time and time again. In his 11 seasons in the NFL, all with the Lions, Stafford played in only three playoff games without a single victory. Given the number of teams in need of a new quarterback versus the limited amount of high ceilinged gunslingers in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Lions will have plenty of suitors for Stafford this offseason on the trade block.
Among those teams, look for the Washington Football Team, San Francisco 49ers, New Orleans Saints, and Pittsburgh Steelers to lead the race for Stafford. As for the Lions, they could potentially (and likely) land a first round pick for their quarterback, but may have to use their first rounder to land a new franchise face this upcoming April.
What are Lions options at quarterback?
With the sixth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Lions will undoubtedly find themselves in the range of one of the top-four quarterbacks. With Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State’s Justin Fields off the board more than likely, that will leave one of (or both) Zach Wilson from BYU or Trey Lance from North Dakota State.
Both of these players have a world of arm talent with plus mobility, making them dangerous weapons both in fantasy football and on the field in real life. Both have inexperience as starting quarterbacks, but Wilson has more. However, Wilson may be the more raw prospect both between the ears in processing, and with his footwork and mechanics.
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There is a world where Fields could slip all the way to six and into the laps of the Lions, but this seems highly unlikely. Waiting until the second round would likely be a mistake for Detroit, as they would then have to settle for a low-ceilinged and limited arm quarterback in the form of Alabama’s Mac Jones or Florida’s Kyle Trask.
What other options do they have?
If the Lions were to opt for a wide receiver in the first round to fill that void, there is a world where they could look for a new quarterback on the trade market and in free agency. While Houston Texans’ disgruntled quarterback Deshaun Watson is probably priced out of Detroit’s range, Cam Newton would make a great deal of sense on the open market, or potentially Sam Darnold or Jimmy Garoppolo could find their way to the Lions.
Buckle up, Detroit.
This offseason is going to be a long one. We have reached the end of only the first phase, a phase where they hired their new leaders. Now we look to see just how much roster turnover there will be in the Motor City. We know for sure, however, that Stafford’s time in Detroit is coming to a close.