Should the Jets Consider Trading For Matthew Stafford?

Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions are parting ways this offseason. Should the New York Jets attempt to trade for the veteran quarterback?
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As the Lions start rebuilding in Detroit, it makes sense that they've agreed to part ways with Matthew Stafford.

Stafford has been with the organization for more than a decade—since he was drafted in 2009—but the window for the Lions to win with Stafford has evidently come and gone. He still has good years left in the tank, turning 33 next month, but it's time for Detroit to start fresh and get younger.

So, should the New York Jets attempt to trade for Stafford now that he's available this offseason?

It never hurts to have options and the Jets have plenty when it comes to their quarterback situation. 

New York can stick with Sam Darnold as he enters his fourth season in the league. They can use the No. 2 pick this spring to start over at the position with a prospect like Zach Wilson or Justin Fields. Or, New York could go for it all and try to trade for Houston's disgruntled star Deshaun Watson. 

MORE: This Deshaun Watson News Bodes Well For the Jets

Stafford would certainly be cheaper than Watson when it comes to a trade. Plus, the Jets would know exactly what they're getting in return rather than putting faith in Darnold (who hasn't been able to develop at this level) or a newly-drafted rookie. 

The problem is, the Jets aren't one piece away from contention. At least by adding Watson, your franchise quarterback is only beginning to settle into his prime and you can continue to surround him with weapons for years to come. Not to mention the fact that Watson is unquestionably one of the best quarterbacks in the league. 

Putting Stafford into a situation with the worst offense in football doesn't seem like it would be any sort of a solution for a team that needs to work toward playing in the postseason. 

To put it another way, here's a snippet of an article from Sports Illustrated's Conor Orr breaking down Stafford's top landing spots (one of which was the Jets). 

If you were Robert Saleh, Deshaun Watson makes a great deal more sense than Matthew Stafford. Stafford is leaving a rebuild and would be taking a gigantic chance on an unproven Jets roster and their first-time head coach. There could be a mutual unease, though the Jets merit consideration on any of these lists due to their massive stock of draft capital and their trove of cap space, which could go a long way toward negating some of the current talent deficiencies on the roster.

Stafford and New York's executives would be buying in on a roster that won two games last year, counting on a rookie head coach to build this team into a contender right away. That's not to say that would be impossible. The Jets can take a massive leap this offseason in free agency and in the draft, in addition to adding a reliable quarterback, but trading for Stafford is less of a long-term investment. 

From Stafford's perspective, it would make more sense to go to Indianapolis, San Francisco or New Orleans, for instance, where the roster is already strong enough to contend. That would give him a chance to play in the playoffs right away.

Besides, trading for Stafford would still cost New York a portion of their draft capital, a pick or two that could be used to address other weaknesses on their roster. Is shipping off a first-rounder for a 33-year-old quarterback worth it?

Stafford's availability could change the way teams seek out a quarterback this offseason. Teams that need a quarterback may end up preferring to trade with Detroit rather than New York if they want a proven asset instead of Darnold. 

Could that impact the type of return Gang Green would get back in a trade for their current quarterback, perhaps influencing them to hold onto Darnold another year?

Who knows, Stafford's presence on the market could even impact what it would take to trade for Watson too.


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