In an arrangement the two sides have discussed and mutually agreed upon, quarterback Matthew Stafford is expected to not return to the Lions this offseason, with Detroit listening to trade offers for its former No. 1 overall pick starting this week, league sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Saturday.
With new general manager Brad Holmes and new head coach Dan Campbell now in place, the Lions will soon begin trade discussions that most likely will result in a new quarterback — largely influenced by what and who the Lions will receive in a trade for Stafford, sources told ESPN.
The Lions are expected to receive at least a first-round pick, league sources said.
Stafford, the former No. 1 overall pick who has not had a playoff win in his 12 seasons with the Lions, is expected to bring back a handsome return for multiple reasons. He turns 33 in March, has two years remaining on a team-friendly contract that is due to pay him a combined $43 million — $20 million this year and $23 million next year — and he still is one of the most talented quarterbacks in the league.
He becomes the latest in a long line of quarterbacks expected to be available this offseason.
Indianapolis needs to replace the recently retired Philip Rivers, and New Orleans, Pittsburgh and Washington may be facing similar situations with Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger and Alex Smith, respectively.
The free agent class is scheduled to include quarterbacks Dak Prescott, Andy Dalton, Cam Newton, Mitchell Trubisky, Jameis Winston, Tyrod Taylor, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jacoby Brissett, Colt McCoy and Nate Sudfeld.
Stafford is from Texas and could be interested in being traded back home, but there is expected to be significant interest in Detroit’s long-time quarterback, sources told ESPN.
What Detroit can get back will help define the direction the franchise goes in trying to replace Stafford.
The two sides are expected to part ways on good terms, with both sides recognizing that it’s best to go in a different direction, sources told ESPN.
Stafford spent 12 seasons with the Lions, failing to win a playoff game in three trips — joining a list that includes Jim Hart, Kenny Anderson and Archie Manning as the only quarterbacks to spend 10 seasons in one city without a playoff win.