Report: Matthew Stafford, Lions to Part Ways; Detroit to Actively Seek Trade for QB


The Detroit Lions and quarterback Matthew Stafford have mutually agreed to part ways after progressive talks, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.

Stafford expressed to the Lions he wanted out and the team is in the process of looking for trade destinations that will likely include a first-round pick, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Both sides started open discussions at the end of the season after Stafford expressed he wanted a fresh start. With the Lions in rebuild mode, team officials agreed with the veteran QB's sentiments, according to NFL Network.

Stafford originally approached Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp and president Roy Wood in early January and agreed to wait for a new coach and GM to be hired, per Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer. This offseason, the Lions hired Dan Campbell as their next head coach and tabbed Brad Holmes to be the franchise's general manager. Both new hires and all candidates being considered for the positions were aware of Stafford's trade request, according to ESPN.

Stafford has two years and $43 million remaining on his current contract and is due a $10 million roster bonus on March 5. He'll join Deshaun Watson and Carson Wentz as big-name quarterbacks who could be on the move this offseason.

Stafford, 32, finished 2020 with 4,084 passing yards and threw 26 touchdowns in his 16 games played. He has every meaningful quarterback franchise-record including passing yards (45,109), passes completed (3,898) and passing touchdowns (282). He played through rib, thumb, ankle and neck injuries during the 2020 season but is not expected to undergo offseason surgery, per NFL Network.  

Detroit holds the No. 7 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft and with Stafford departing, it's likely they'll look for a QB in this year's draft class.

The Lions finished the 2020 NFL season 5-11.