But where will he land and what’s the price of his services?
Start with a first-round pick
I don’t think it’s unreasonable for the Lions to set their asking price at a first-round pick, at minimum, in order to enter negotiations. Stafford is a very talented quarterback that can still play at a high level.
His contract is reasonable for a top-15 player at his position with cap hits of $33 million and $23 million in the next two years. Of course, he can renegotiate with a new team and potentially lower those numbers as well.
There are plenty of trade scenarios thrown around right now regarding Stafford and compensation depending on the team. Some of them are intriguing while others seem to be a little off base. The problem is, with a new general manager and front office, we don’t really know what they’d consider fair market value.
Being realistic and in tune with the football world, NBC Sports’ Peter King threw out some scenarios he thinks a team might offer. Five of the seven scenarios included a single first-round pick. Detroit should be thrilled with that possibility and hope for a bidding war. A couple of teams might emerge as serious suitors, including the Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers.
With the Colts and 49ers emerging on multiple lists, it would make sense one of the two ups their bid for Stafford’s services. The Colts potentially offering first and third-round compensation this year, maybe more, and the 49ers sweetening the pot with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and a first-round pick.
No matter the outcome of the trade, the Lions should have some extra first-round draft capital to work with come April. Whether they use that to trade up higher than the seventh overall pick to get a quarterback or sit tight and add more talent remains to be seen. There’s also a lot of movement that can happen in free agency before that point in time.
Detroit Lions fans are in for a wild ride in the coming months. It’s been years since the team had to worry about finding a suitable quarterback capable of keeping them competitive and able to strike at any time. Exciting as it could be to start over and look toward the future, many teams have tried to find a stable signal-caller for many years. Fingers crossed this isn’t the Lions’ future as well.