Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford believes the Los Angeles Rams are a serious contender on the trade market, sources told ESPN on Friday.
While it’s unclear what the Rams can do with a long-term deal for quarterback Jared Goff, they have asked for Stafford’s services and are considering what they think should happen with Detroit, according to some sources.
Goff’s dismissal would have cost the Rams $65.2 million in dead money; his trade would have cost $22.2 million. After Goff and the Rams reached the Super Bowl, he signed a four-year, $134 million extension, including $110 million guaranteed for the 2019 season.
The Lions secretary is aware of the Rams’ salary situation. CEO Brad Holmes was a longtime Rams executive before taking over the Detroit job this month.
Earlier this week, Rams director general Les Snead said it won’t be easy to top the amount invested in Goff, but added that anything is possible in the salary cap system when asked about parting with the old No. 1 pick. Coach Sean McVay has also been cautious in his public support for Goff. He said he is currently the quarterback when asked recently what Goff’s status would be as the starting linebacker for 2021 in Los Angeles.
And Goff knew the Rams would likely consider quarterback options this season, and some people in the league think Goff would be happy to get a fresh start elsewhere. Since joining the league in 2016, Goff has 18,171 passing yards, 107 touchdown passes, 55 steals and 42 regular season wins.
The Rams will have to get creative if they want to make a trade for Stafford. They don’t have the first pick in this year’s draft because they acquired Jalen Ramsey last year. This year is their second election and the first in 2022.
Last week, the Lions and Stafford agreed to a mutually agreeable release. A source familiar with the situation told ESPN Saturday night that the Lions will seek fair market value for Stafford, who leads the franchise in all major passing categories.
NFL teams began approaching the Lions about Stafford earlier this week, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Several teams are interested in Stafford, and many league officials think the Indianapolis Colts and the San Francisco 49ers, among others, will be involved.
Stafford is prioritizing the chance to compete for a championship while looking for a new home for the NFL, according to some sources.
Stafford’s swap would mean $19 million in dead money for the Lions in 2021, saving Detroit $14 million in catching space for next season. There is also a deadline, as Stafford is the fifth day of the new championship year, which begins on the 17th. Mars starts will receive a $10 million bonus.
Potential teams could try to extend Stafford’s contract to make a long-term commitment.
Stafford will leave Detroit if he is traded. He threw for 45,109 yards and 282 touchdowns with 144 interceptions. With Stafford, the Lions have made the playoffs three times and lost three times in the wild cards.
Michael Rothstein and Lindsay Tyrie of ESPN contributed to this report.
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