Matthew Stafford is officially done with the Detroit Lions.
I don’t know who dumped who first, but in my mind, it doesn’t matter. Stafford was likely tired of not winning when it matters – ditto to the organization. Plus, I am sure BOTH sides have had many conversations about this very topic in the past couple weeks. Heck, I would argue the past year or two may have been just holding on by a string. It finally is coming undone. As per usual, Schefter has the scoop on all the goods…
Here are my main takeaways:
The division is only getting stronger. The NFC North is tough. We all know the Green Bay Packers are a threat every single season, no matter what all the clowns say in the pre-season. You will all see why Sunday afternoon when they attempt to reach yet another Super Bowl, not even mentioning yet another NFC Title game appearance for them with relative ease. Then you have the Chicago Bears, who made the playoffs and have always been hit or miss. That leaves the Minnesota Vikings, who can’t ever seem to put it all together but are kinda nearby as a rival. Good luck to the 5-11 Lions ever making noise in the NFC North. Even with Stafford, it wasn’t happening.
The age factor is a big deal to me. I know Stafford is only turning 33 years old, but he doesn’t have a Super Bowl appearance and certainly not a Super Bowl ring to his name as the starting quarterback. He has collected millions and millions of dollars but did so while playing for a losing team.He can’t play forever. Everybody knows the window is short for any star athlete. Get in, get your money, and get your legacy. You can argue Stafford has two of those…that big playoff run has still escaped him.
Finally, the huge obstacle with all of this is the new regime coming in. Any time a boss walks into a new company, guess what? They want to implement their own rules, their own culture, their own legacy. Screw whatever Stafford was building before. I would do it if I started up a new company, just as all of YOU would as well. You want to leave your mark on things, especially something as high profile as a sports team. Sorry to Stafford…but it was inevitable. At age 33 soon and in that division, both sides knew the breakup was going to happen.
As for what is next?
The 49ers make sense. Could be a deal there to be made.
My brother in law just texted the New England Patriots should trade a 1st round pick for him. Bill Belichick does not want his own legacy tied to Tom Brady, especially with how this season went. That would be horrible. He needs to make another playoff push, and that is not happening with Cam Newton as QB. I agree with that move and would love to see it. Gives Stafford a fresh start and an actual chance to make some noise in a not-so-competitive division, certainly easier than the NFC North. I like the idea personally.
Bottom line: I have always liked Matthew Stafford. Even being from Wisconsin (Go Pack Go!), he was always there, always reliable, always put up strong numbers and like JJ Watt, you knew he could do so much more on a better team. Watt is likely getting a new opportunity this off-season, just as Stafford will. I like it. Good luck to him.
By Justin Watry (TWIITER: @JustinWatry)