How will the Lions choose the franchise’s next quarterback?

Matthew Stafford - Detroit Lions (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
Matthew Stafford - Detroit Lions (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /

When Reporter Tom Pellssero broke the news on Saturday evening signaling that the quarterback Matthew Stafford era with the Detroit Lions was coming to an end, it sent shock waves throughout the franchise’s assembly of fans and players, both former and present.

Former Lions star cornerback Darius Slay was quick to tweet about the potential departure telling folks to watch out for how quickly Stafford gets tossed into the elite conversation.

Withdrawing from the franchise as the all-time leader in yards, touchdowns, and wins; Stafford’s imprint on the organization has been substantial and appreciable. Reports indicated that the quarterback’s exiting from the squad was mutually welcomed by Stafford and the Lions’ recently appointed front office staff as he had made the request to be traded.

Because the Lions are holders of the seventh pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, questioners are deliberating on what the team’s next move should be concerning finding the upcoming candidate to lead the team at the quarterback position.

Will general manager Brad Holmes and company opt to use their forthcoming first-round pick in the draft on a young pass-thrower? Or will they hunt and scour the league’s available talent sources to secure a nominee through the offseason free agency wave?

Let’s assume that Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell make the joint decision to search for the franchise’s looming quarterback in the offseason free agency talent pool. Who are some of the leading candidates the team may lean towards signing? Here are my choices …

Cam Newton, QB – Patriots

Coming off an underwhelming season with the New England Patriots, the 31-year old finished the year with only eight touchdown passes and 10 interceptions. Although his presence as a runner seems to have not yet diminished, Newton left all potential suitors with a lot of questions regarding his ability to lead a franchise that is currently in rebuild mode.

Pairing Newton with the likes of D’Andre Swift and Kenny Golladay under a potential Anthony Lynn led offensive scheme could be an inherent recipe for success.

Jameis Winston, QB – Saints

As a former No. 1 overall pick, Winston had his ups and downs with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before heading over to the New Orleans Saints to shadow Drew Brees and Taysom Hill for the 2020 season. Serving as the team’s third option for the duration of the year allowed Winston to absorb some of the tendencies and tactical schematics deployed by offensive mastermind Sean Payton and future Hall of Famer, Brees.

Adding the knowledge gained from his experiences in NOLA and the newly acquired tools to his arsenal, alongside the familiarity between Detroit’s new head coach in Campbell and Winston being on the same team last season, make Jameis a probable interviewer for the position.

The downside of this potential acquisition rests in the high-risk factor involved in taking a historically turnover-prone quarterback and tasking him with bolstering a developing youthful offensive core.

Jacoby Brissett, QB – Colts

Philip Rivers’ retirement from football leaves the Indianapolis Colts with a similar impending question surrounding their quarterback position. Before suffering an MCL injury that ended his 2019 campaign as the starting passer for the Colts, Brissett threw for 14 touchdowns and three interceptions.

Another case point that has been presented is that the majority of Jacoby’s time in the NFL has been spent as back-up learning under the likes of legendary football minds such as Tom Brady, Andrew Luck, and Rivers.

A team like the Lions could be interested in bringing a somewhat fresh, yet polished, 28-year old football player like Brissett in to lead their squad based on the fact that he has served in the league for quite some time without the wear and tear on his body that others his age have undergone.

The bigger question mark in this situation is whether or not Detroit will in actuality be able to afford to lure him away from a team like the Colts that has already invested so much in his development.

Must Read. Detroit Lions: 5 trade scenarios for Matthew Stafford. light

League officials have already hinted towards the notion that the 2021 salary cap is set to decrease due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic this past season. As such, front-office executives throughout the league will be looking to explore more cost-beneficial options via roster acquisitions to better serve their team’s interests. The three on this list could really come at a bargained price if the Detroit Lions are willing to pull the trigger and take the risk.