Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, quarterback Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions have decided to part ways this offseason. Stafford put up big numbers during his time in Detroit, including passing for over 4,000 yards in eight of his twelve seasons as Lions quarterback.
Now the focus shifts to where Stafford will be traded. Multiple teams seem to be interested in the soon to be 33-year-old quarterback. FanDuel has made the Indianapolis Colts the favorites, but teams like the New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers, and Chicago Bears are also in the mix.
Indianapolis Colts +210
The Colts being the favorites here comes as no surprise. With Philip Rivers retiring, Indianapolis is in the market for a starting quarterback. The Colts, who are coming off of an 11 win season, have talent on both sides of the football, which might also entice Stafford. He'll also get to play his home games in a dome, something he's done his entire career with the Lions.
Indy’s GM Chris Ballard acknowledged the team will explore all options for a QB and said "that position never leaves my mind." The former-Lion would be a great add for an Indianapolis team built to win now.
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New England Patriots +350
The Cam Newton experiment is officially over, so the Pats will definitely be looking to address the quarterback position before next season. New England has the 15th pick in the upcoming draft, but they also have nine other picks, including three compensatory selections in the third and fourth rounds. In addition to the draft capital, the Patriots have the salary cap room to easily absorb Stafford’s contract.
How does Bill Belichick feel about Stafford? Here are some comments Belichick made about Stafford before the Patriots faced the Lions in 2018.
“He does an excellent job of seeing down the field in all situations,” Belichick said. “No matter how much pressure he’s under, he seems to find guys down there. Sometimes it appears that they’re covered, but he can put the ball where (Marvin) Jones in particular, but also (Kenny) Golladay, can go up and make plays on the ball.
“He’s very accurate and he’s got a strong arm. He can stand in there and make those throws, with or without a rush, in or out of the pocket, stationary or on the run. He’s extremely dangerous – one of the very best in the league for sure.”
Seems like high praise to me. Stafford’s time in Detroit did not produce a ton of victories, but that could change if he teams up with Belichick.
San Francisco 49ers +350
The Niners are an intriguing landing spot for Stafford. A healthy version of the 49ers would be the best roster he has ever had around him, and head coach Kyle Shanahan would certainly get the most out of Stafford's talents.
While Shanahan and general manager John Lynch said they expect Jimmy Garoppolo to be their starting quarterback next season, they both seemed to leave some wiggle room in case other options pop-up. You know, like a guy going into his prime looking to win now.
Jimmy G is scheduled to count $26.9 million against the cap next year and SF would incur $2.8 million in dead money by trading or releasing him. If the Niners do go that route, the move would work out perfectly to bring in Stafford.
On paper, Stafford would be an upgrade over Garoppolo. Stafford has also proven to be more durable than Garoppolo, which is something else to keep in mind.
Chicago Bears +5000
While it is a longshot that the Lions trade Stafford within the division, the move is a no-brainer for the Bears, a team that has failed miserably at addressing the position over the years. The Lions are seeking a late first round pick, and the Bears have the No. 20 selection in the upcoming draft.
Multiple books are offering different odds for this Stafford bet, so make sure you shop around if you are sprinkling a little on a flier like him to the Bears.
Stafford’s next move will remain a juicy storyline for the entirety of the offseason, especially with so many teams needing a starter next season. But for now, the Colts are the favorites to land him.
Vikas Chokshi covers the gambling industry for BetQL and his written work can be found on the sports betting vertical of Radio.com. He has an extensive network of oddsmakers and appears frequently on podcasts, radio and television shows. His previous work can be found at The Action Network, VSiN, Gaming Today, Front Office Sports and The Big Lead.
You can find him at @docksquad33 on Twitter.