The Lions were inclined to do right by Matthew Stafford when they moved him, so it’s not too surprising he stopped a trade.
Once it became inevitable they would trade him, the Detroit Lions were surely inclined to do right by Matthew Stafford. Any team with a level of need for a quarterback, possibly as the piece to get them to a higher level, could have been tabbed with some level of interest.
Ultimately, the Los Angeles Rams acquired Stafford in a deal that sent Jared Goff to the Lions.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, albeit with an open mind, Stafford initially spotlighted three options as he sought a new team–the Rams, the Indianapolis Colts and the San Francisco 49ers.
Matthew Stafford voided a deal the Lions had done with a team
According to Rapoport the Carolina Panthers jumped to the forefront to get Stafford in late January, around the time of the Senior Bowl. Several people involved thought Carolina would get the former No. 1 overall pick.
In a broader sense, Panthers owner David Tepper has made it clear the priority he wants put on getting a franchise quarterback. So the team’s interest in Stafford was not surprising, and an aggressive offer could have been shaped around a top-10 pick in the 2021 draft.
“Sources say that’s when Stafford — who makes his first start for the Rams on Sunday night versus the Bears — stepped in. After consulting with his family, he made clear that he wanted to go to the Rams and so did his family. Stafford made his voice heard, and the Lions brass listened.
Suddenly, the Panthers — despite offering a prime first-round pick and Teddy Bridgewater — were out.”
When it got down to it, the 33-year-old Stafford steered himself to a team that was on his initial radar and is closer to winning a Super Bowl this year than the Panthers are. Whether the Lions should’ve given him that power is a different question, but they were always going to give him say in where he landed. Detroit came out nicely in the deal, essentially acquiring an extra first-round pick to take on Goff’s contract rather than get Teddy Bridgewater and one first.