After 12 years, the Matthew Stafford era is coming to an end in Detroit.
Stafford and the Lions have 'mutually agreed to part ways this offseason,' according to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network. The Lions will 'begin exploring trade options in the coming weeks.'
According to Pelissero, Stafford "expressed a desire for a fresh start" after a series of meetings with team officials over the past few weeks:
With the Lions starting over again, hiring Dan Campbell as head coach and Brad Holmes as general manager, Stafford told the team he feels it's the right time to move on and team officials agreed.
Assuming the Lions complete a trade before the start of the new league year in March, Stafford's dead cap hit will be $19 million next season -- $14 million less than what it would cost to keep him. Detroit will save $20 million against the cap in 2022.
Stafford's most likely destinations include Indianapolis, Washington and New England.
The Lions could draft his successor with the seventh overall pick in the draft.