Lions, Stafford agree to separate in 2021 off-season

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

Detroit Lions and quarterback Matthew Stafford have agreed to part ways this off-season. Stafford has been the franchise quarterback since being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.

The Lions are under a new organization with first-year GM Brad Holmes and first-year head coach Dan Campbell. Detroit will begin trade talks with teams regarding Stafford this week.

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford attempts a pass in practice
Matthew Stafford attempts a pass in practice (Photo by the Detroit Lions/Instagram)

The Indianapolis Colts may be a candidate to make a deal for Stafford. Their former starter Philip Rivers retired at the end of the season.

Related: Steelers sign QB Haskins Jr. to a 2021 futures contract

Barring a restructuring of his contract, it’s going to be difficult to trade Stafford. It’ll take some sacrifice by the Lions to have a better future.

A trade will likely happen before the fifth day of the 2021 league year. That’s when the Lions are responsible for a $10 million roster bonus.

See, if the team releases or trades Stafford before June 1st, they’re going to be responsible for $19 million in a dead cap hit. But at the same time, they’ll also receive $14 million in cap savings.

Related: WFT adds Mayhew (GM), Hurney (high-ranking executive) to front office

If Holmes and his new front office wait until after June 1st, they’ll be responsible for a $23 million dead cap him in 2021. Also, the team will have a $6 million dead cap hit in 2022.

The Lions save $10 million if they wait several months. If a post-June 1st trade happens, the team will face the same ramifications as a post-June 1st release.

Plus, in September, the Lions voided all of Stafford’s guarantees for the 2023 season.

Related: Eagles hire 39-year-old Nick Sirianni as head coach

Stafford has appeared in 165 games — all starts — for the Lions. He has gone 74-90-1.

He has gone 3,898 of 6224 for 45,109 passing yards. He has thrown 282 touchdown passes and thrown 144 interceptions.

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