Sure, I’m the guy who wanted the Lions to trade Stafford to the New England Patriots for Tom Brady three years ago. How foolish of me. Stafford was nonetheless a spry 30-year-old with a lot nice soccer left in him, whereas Brady was a fading, 40-year-old quarterback taking part in on his final legs. Foolish, foolish me.
However that is completely different.
I recently advocated trading Stafford, and I nonetheless do. However that motion, and that call, wanted to return from the workforce, not the participant. Why? It hurts the Lions’ negotiating energy as a result of there’s an enormous distinction between a workforce placing out feelers about buying and selling their star quarterback and the star quarterback basically demanding a commerce.
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Each potential buying and selling associate now is aware of the Lions should eliminate Stafford, as a result of the Lions can’t have a disgruntled QB main their workforce, particularly as a brand new regime embarks on establishing a kumbaya, all-for-one, new tradition.
Right here’s how the commerce course of ought to have occurred. The Lions ought to have quietly explored choices for buying and selling Stafford whereas indicating they’d be glad to maintain Stafford round as a bridge to a youthful quarterback throughout this rebuild. Not solely would that be believable, it might even be a good suggestion. It might give the Lions higher leverage, making it appear to be they don’t need to commerce Stafford.
Now? Now they have to commerce Stafford, and that kills their leverage.
The large deadline comes 5 days after the brand new league 12 months begins, tentatively set for March 17. That’s when Stafford is owed a $10 million roster bonus. If I’m an workforce, I don’t make a critical supply till the day earlier than the deadline, when the Lions are in panic mode.
The opposite downside with Stafford asking for the commerce is that it’s a completely egocentric determination. He approached the Lions after the season ended and requested to be traded, even earlier than the workforce employed normal supervisor Brad Holmes and coach Dan Campbell. He didn’t even give the brand new regime an opportunity. He simply wished out as a result of he didn’t wish to be a part of a rebuild at age 33.
From Stafford’s perspective, it is smart. The accidents are piling up, he’s having a more durable time getting by an entire season and he desires to money in on no less than yet another contract extension. That wasn’t going to occur with the Lions, who could possibly be drafting his alternative in April. (And by the best way, now the Lions have to draft a quarterback with the No. 7 choose.)
It make sense. But it surely doesn’t make Stafford a superb teammate; he’s leaving different established veterans to undergo the sluggish and painful rebuild with out him. I’m wondering how left sort out Taylor Decker feels. He said, after the season, he would lobby team president Rod Wood to keep Stafford, solely to seek out out Stafford already had one foot out the door. Fellow offensive lineman Tyrell Crosby tweeted crying emojis when the trade news broke.
And this isn’t just like the Barry Sanders and Calvin Johnson retirements. Say what you’ll about them, however no less than that they had the decency to offer us the “it’s not you, it’s me” speech once they filed for divorce. Stafford is asking for a divorce and the ring again with a draft of the wedding proposal for his new fiancée protruding of his entrance pocket. Even the staunchest Stafford supporter should admit it’s going to be exhausting watching him win elsewhere.
Sure, I do know it’s a enterprise. Everybody is aware of it’s a enterprise. However there’s no different method to describe Stafford’s actions than to name them a me-first transfer. And possibly you suppose he’s earned that over 12 years. But it surely’s nonetheless a egocentric transfer, and one that might harm commerce negotiations; suitors should take into account Stafford’s motivations.
Do not forget that is isn’t a Deshaun Watson state of affairs — or perhaps a Carson Wentz. The Lions didn’t deal with Stafford poorly. They didn’t lowball him on contracts. They didn’t bench him or commerce away his greatest receiver or retain a shedding regime. The Lions accommodated Stafford at each flip.
Any workforce that is considering buying and selling worthwhile capital for Stafford must know the place he stands. What was his large downside with the Lions? Does he actually wish to construct one thing? Or did he simply wish to abandon ship and money in on one final contract earlier than his physique breaks down?
If nothing else, it might have been higher for his personal worth — and for the Lions’ commerce potential — if he had stored his mouth shut and let the Lions do the speaking.
Right here’s what I imagine about Stafford. He has been a superb participant and a superb teammate who has given loads to the Lions, who, in flip, have compensated him very nicely for that effort. However I don’t agree that the Lions wasted Stafford’s profession by failing to encompass him with good gamers.
A star quarterback is meant to make gamers round him higher, not the opposite method round. In Stafford’s 12 seasons, the Lions surrounded him with teammates who have been chosen to the Professional Bowl 24 occasions, together with a possible first-ballot Corridor of Fame receiver and a possible Corridor of Fame defensive sort out. It wasn’t an ideal roster, but when that’s what Stafford must win one measly playoff recreation, then possibly this isn’t the game for him.
As I’ve stated, I believe it’s time for Stafford, the Lions and their followers to maneuver on. I hope the Lions are in a position to commerce Stafford and get truthful worth for him, in order that this regime has each likelihood to achieve success. However don’t be stunned if the return for Stafford is much from the bonanza of draft picks you hope will probably be.
Contact Carlos Monarrez at email@example.com and comply with him on Twitter @cmonarrez.
This text initially appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Lions’ trade talks could be hurt by Matthew Stafford’s request