What would be the long-term effects if Matthew Stafford opted out?

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Matt Patricia, Detroit Lions (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Matt Patricia, Detroit Lions (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

Would it guarantee a free pass?

This is a big season for Lions’ general manager Bob Quinn as well as Matt Patricia. They have been given the edict to win now or pack their bags. Without Matthew Stafford, none could possibly believe this team has any chance to be competitive enough to make a play for the postseason.

It’s one of the first rules of football; lose your franchise quarterback and your season is lost. So if they lost Matthew before they were even able to get training camp underway, how would that change the expectations of the Lions’ new principal owner, Sheila Ford Hamp?

I mean unless Matthew said he was opting out because of Matt Patricia, then the Lions third-year head coach becomes as much a victim as the rest of the team and fans. Given Sheila’s comments about how important she believes continuity is, there is no doubt in my mind that both Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia would return in 2021 unless they went 0-16 this year.

Deciding Patricia’s fate would be difficult because of the unknown. Matthew was brilliant in Darrell Bevell’s offense last season. With an improved offense around him, he could very well be spectacular this year. Yet if he opted out, then who could truly say he wouldn’t be?

With Chase Daniel’s experience, he could still make this offense look alright. Especially given the talent it has, but there’s a big difference between opposing defenses facing a franchise quarterback and a career backup.

Face it, if Matthew opted out, basically the Lions will be married to Matt Patricia at least through the 2021 season.

If Matt Patricia can ever get the Lions defense figured out and playing at a truly competitive level, then maybe the long-term effects wouldn’t be a big deal. Matthew still has some quality years left in him and if the rest of this team can play up to his level, they would have a chance to survive a down season without Stafford, get a free high draft pick, and bounce-back with a vengeance in 2021.

But if Matt Patricia’s defense continues to stumble and this franchise cannot exhibit true improvement, then even one extra season under this regime would make the wholesale rebuild by the next general manager and head coach that much more time-consuming.

Next. Ranking the top 10 quarterbacks in Lions history. dark

Professional sports are about results. I think I can speak for all of us and say that we want to see Matthew on the field and Lions playing consistently like contenders. But if they don’t, then let the nature of the sports take their course.