One of the biggest questions surrounding the Detroit Lions next season will be what to do with the quarterback position.
Current quarterback Matthew Stafford and the Lions have found minimal success in their 12 seasons together -- which isn’t necessarily Stafford's fault.
That leaves the possibility of a new general manager and head coach wanting to hit the reset button.
With two years remaining on Stafford’s deal, including a $24.8 million dead-cap hit if he's traded in the offseason, it’s not like the Lions will be forced into making a decision, though.
Unfortunately, the mess Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia made isn’t going to lead to a quick turnaround for a new regime.
Will the new decision-makers want to commit to Stafford long term, or instead look for alternative options for the future?
Obviously, that call depends on the strategic mindset of the new staff.
However, dragging Stafford through a rebuild may not be the best decision.
The thought of another high draft pick -- acquired in a trade of Stafford -- should be at least a bit tempting.
After years of high-level commitment to the 2009 No. 1 overall pick, it’s time to keep all options open.
The most traditional strategy would be for the Lions to draft a quarterback in 2021 and groom him behind Stafford.
However, if a new regime knows it has a three-year window to rebuild, it also shouldn’t feel the need to reach for a quarterback or draft one immediately, even if the Lions were to move on from Stafford.
There will be plenty of stop-gap options on the free-agency market.
Given that one of the biggest perks of a young quarterback is the individual's rookie contract, you still want to add talent around them, or it defeats the purpose of selecting the QB.
Looking at the current Lions roster, no rookie quarterback would instantly turn the Lions around.
Besides, it hasn’t solely been a quarterback holding the Lions back the last decade.
The recent examples include the Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs all making Super Bowl appearances with quarterbacks on rookie deals. It’s a strategy that has proven to be successful.
But, a big reason why those teams were able to make it to the big game is because the quarterback was one of the final pieces of the puzzle.
There was already talent in place and a well-rounded team around the developing quarterback.
The Lions aren’t there yet.
The situation for a young quarterback is vital.
Make no mistake, if the Lions continue to slide up the draft order and a can’t miss signal-caller falls into their lap, they should go ahead and make the selection.
From the looks of it, this year’s crop of eligible quarterbacks appears to be a strong one. Yet, draft rankings are far from solidified at this point.
It may be a hard pill to swallow, but it’s the reality of the situation. It’s highly unlikely the Lions are going to be a quick turnaround.
Being competitive for the division, let alone a Super Bowl, is not a realistic expectation for next season.
That means winning may not be the biggest priority in 2021.
Patience is required, and I understand that’s something that Lions fans don’t want to hear after years of futility.
All in all, putting a rookie quarterback into a bad situation, like the Lions would be in 2021, is wasting a year of a cheap contract, and creates a smaller window for success.
The new regime shouldn't be in a win-now mode, and must consider the long-term future of the organization.
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