A few days ago, an NFL team chasing a new QB might've been picked from a crop that includes Jameis Winston, Andy Dalton, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jacoby Brissett.
However, that equation has changed. The speculative list includes Aaron Rodgers and Deshaun Watson. And the truly-on-the-block list includes the Detroit Lions' Matthew Stafford, who have bowed to his request to seek a trade.
What will be the cost? Nobody knows how the Washington Football Team might view Stafford than our Chris Russell; see his view below.
Meanwhile, few NFL execs outside of Detroit have an insider's view on Stafford that's better than Martin Mayhew's, given that the WFT's new GM just left Detroit's front office - where he was a vocal supporter of Stafford's talents.
So ... anybody's guess at the price?
Over the weekend, some NFL speculation had it that in order to land Stafford, a team would have to give up a first-rounder, at least a second-rounder, and a starting player. Our man in Denver, Chad Jensen, relays that for the Broncos, that would mean having to give up the No. 9 overall pick in the 2021 draft, plus another high pick, plus and/or young QB Drew Lock or a wide receiver.
That's ... a lot.
But on Monday, NBC Sports' Peter King floated a less prohibitive possibility.
King lists the Broncos among three top suitors in the Stafford sweepstakes, ranking Denver No. 2 behind the Indianapolis Colts and in front of the New England Patriots. He does not mention Washington. (Our friend, NFL.com's Tom Pelissero, does.) But that doesn't impact our point here. King writes that the Broncos' predicted (by him) compensation:
Two second-round picks ... Or Lock plus this year’s second-rounder.
As we have illustrated before, Stafford's talent is not much in question and his contract calls for him to make around only $20 million APY for the next two seasons.
The former No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 draft, Stafford has put up big numbers (he's the fastest QB in NFL history to get to 45,000 passing yards and has totaled 282 touchdowns) but not big wins. Put him in the middle of a quality team? At age 32, we think he's likely to put up both.
As Pelissero notes, any trade would surely happen prior to the fifth day of the 2021 league year in March, so Detroit can avoid paying him a large roster bonus. The Lions, in fact, will save on cap room in a big way with a trade. ... And while we think including a first-rounder surely is more what Detroit has in mind, if the Lions are willing to accept a pair of second-round picks in exchange for Stafford, that seems like a WFT no-brainer.