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What are the Lions up to?

The news broke this evening that the Lions and Matt Stafford will be parting ways in the off season, but what does it mean for the franchise?

Less than an hour after Anthony Lynn was confirmed as the new offensive coordinator in Detroit, the above news broke that they’d be moving forward without star QB Matt Stafford.

We mentioned in a podcast this week that for the Dan Campbell experiment to work he would need to hire strong coordinators. Bringing Anthony Lynn on board is a pretty good start, after his recent stint as the head coach of the Chargers.

All routes lead to the Lions having a plan to draft a new franchise quarterback, and turn the franchise over entirely, starting again from scratch.

Cleaning House

I’d imagine we’ll see an overhaul of trades and contract dumps in the coming off season, as the Lions will scrape around trying to resign their receivers. Moving Matt Stafford on will certainly help the cap situation, as he was due $33 million in the upcoming 2021 season.

Interestingly, $13 million of Staffords contract will remain with the Lions in the way of dead cap. So what that means is, whoever makes a trade for Stafford will only need to pay him $20 million dollars in the first season, rising to $23 million dollars in 2022. $43 million dollars for Matt Stafford for two seasons is not a bad deal. He’s a very capable quarterback. One which would be perfectly suited to a team with a strong roster, playoff hopes, and the simple need to plug the QB position.

Two names spring to mind. The Colts. And the Saints. I would argue three, if the 49ers really decide they’re not set on Jimmy G. But the Lions are unlikely to take Garoppolo in return, as that will just negate the benefit of trading Stafford in the first place.

The Colts and the Saints however, are both playoff teams who suddenly find themselves without a starting quarterback, as Rivers and Brees rode off into the sunset at the seasons end for their respective teams.

New Face of the Franchise

It’ll be very interesting to see what the Lions can fetch for Stafford. If they can accumulate some strong draft capital, who’s to say they can’t jump up in the draft and grab themselves a Justin Fields, or Zach Wilson. Or maybe they feel comfortable at number 7, where they currently sit. Depending on how things play out in the draft, and where Deshaun Watson lands, the Lions might be able to get their guy without giving up anything at all.

Trey Lance should be available at 7. Justin Fields and Zach Wilson i’m not so sure. But again, if Deshaun ends up with the Jets, which seems to be becoming something of a possibility, then that’s one less team above Detroit in need of a QB.

One things for sure in my mind. Considering the cap situation, and need for total rebuild, a rookie QB on a rookie deal for 5 years makes perfect sense. There’ll be a rookie signal caller in Detroit come end of April. One thing to look out for, is the Lions acquiring the services of veteran professional Tyrod Taylor. Taylor and new OC Anthony Lynn spent two years together in Buffalo, and another two in LA with the Chargers. He would be a good option to play a few games and help a young quarterback develop behind him. Something he’s already done for both Baker Mayfield, and Justin Herbert.

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