Why the Detroit Lions Should Keep Matthew Stafford

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In recent weeks, the national media and NFL fan base has run amok with speculation that the Detroit Lions could be moving on from Matthew Stafford as soon as this offseason. The most common arguments here are that the Lions could get high draft picks, that the new Lions general manager would want to start over, and that the team would save about $11.5 million from the 2016 NFL salary cap.

While it’s nigh impossible to project what the benefit would be regarding draft picks or general manager preferences,  it is not impossible to see what kind of players will be free agents in 2016 that could be signed with the kind of added financial freedom that releasing or trading Stafford would provide.

It is not likely the Lions are going to be able to get one player around the caliber of Stafford with that type of money, seeing as there are only going to be a few available this year. Premiere free agents such as Eric Berry, Jason Pierre-Paul, Russell Okung, Muhammad Wilkerson or Sean Smith may be too costly for the Lions’ cap situation or lack a work-life fit for the players. Thus, let’s look at a few lower-to-mid-tier free agents that would be available in the situation Stafford was cut or traded based on what kind of money they made in 2015.

Next: Which free agents would Stafford's money provide?