With the Lions clearing house yesterday, they have a conundrum facing whoever takes over the franchise:
What to do with Matthew Stafford?
Dave Birkett, the Lions Beat Writer for the Free Press does a great job breaking down the different options for Stafford’s future in the NFL.
One thing he notes, that is of the most importance, is that Stafford’s guaranteed money runs out after this season, allowing him to be traded very easily & is under team control for 2 more seasons with reasonable cap hits remaining (for a Quarterback in the NFL):
Stafford, whose current deal runs through 2017, would count $11 million against the cap if the Lions trade him. He has base salaries of $17 million and $16.5 million the next two years.
Those are not outrageous numbers for a cap hit for a starting QB in the NFL, especially with the cap expected to rise significantly in the coming years.
Those numbers & his lack of guaranteed money could make Stafford very expendable for the Lions new front office after they take over, netting multiple draft picks in return.
Could the Lions earn the 1st overall pick & draft Joey Bosa, DE from Ohio State or Laremy Tunsil, LT from Ole Miss at the top, providing the team an offensive line anchor or defensive line anchor for years?
Then the new management could deal their way to the 8th to 15th pick range to draft one of the three top QB options, Connor Cook from MSU, Paxton Lynch from Memphis or Jared Goff from Cal and have the future franchise QB all new front offices dream about.
If the new GM from the Lions believes in one of those QBs, then Stafford’s time in Detroit has probably run out.