The 2019 NFL Draft is just over a week away and the talk continues to heat up as to who the Detroit Lions should select with the No. 8 pick.
There has also been plenty of talk about the Lions trading back in the draft to acquire more picks.
But what about trading Matthew Stafford?
Well, that’s a topic that has cooled down lately not only because of comments by Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia insisting Stafford is their guy moving forward but because of the dead money hit the team would take if they were to trade him.
On Wednesday, ESPN published a piece by Bill Barnwell titled, “All-Trades 2019 NFL Mock Draft: Barnwell proposes 32 wild deals.”
In the piece, Barnwell includes a “made up” scenario which includes Stafford being dealt.
The trade includes Stafford and the Lions second-round pick being traded to the Oakland Raiders for the Raiders No. 4 overall pick.
Raiders get: QB Matthew Stafford, 2-43
Lions get: 1-4
If you’re Detroit decision-makers Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia, do you at least think about starting over with a young quarterback? They inherited Stafford from the prior regime, and over his 10-year career, the former first overall pick has taken home $178 million, the fourth-most of any player in the league. Stafford has made one Pro Bowl and delivered zero playoff victories over that time frame. While the latter isn’t entirely his fault, the Georgia product doesn’t appear to have the ceiling of a top-five quarterback. He has thrown 5,405 passes as a pro, and the Lions just moved on from the pass-happy attack of former offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter. This team doesn’t appear close to winning a Super Bowl as currently constructed.
Making this trade would give the Lions two of the top eight picks, which should be enough to draft a quarterback and add one stud defender. Moving up from No. 8 to No. 4 could give them a shot at either Josh Allen, Nick Bosa or Quinnen Williams. It also could push them ahead of the Bucs if they want to grab linebacker Devin White, whom ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has going to Tampa at No. 5 in his most recent mock draft. Detroit would incur a staggering $35.5 million in dead money on its 2019 cap, but given that Stafford’s cap hit is already a league-high $29.5 million, it’s not an enormous difference.
Jon Gruden, meanwhile, might very well prefer the 31-year-old Stafford to any of the rookies in this class. He has publicly backed Stafford in the past and never pulled the trigger on a highly drafted rookie at quarterback during his time as a head coach, instead preferring veterans such as Rich Gannon and Jeff Garcia or midround picks such as Chris Simms and Bruce Gradkowski.
With Stafford’s $50 million signing bonus already paid, the Raiders would be inheriting Stafford on what amounts to a four-year, $84 million deal, which would be a relative bargain for an average veteran starter. The Raiders would still lose their top pick in the process, but they would keep their other two first-rounders and get another second-round selection. Stafford throwing to Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams would sell some tickets in Las Vegas. This deal would render Derek Carr relatively null and void, but the Raiders might be able to find a trade market for him over the summer if they eat some of his $19.9 million base salary.
Nation, would you make this deal if it was on the table?