Jan 3, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) passes the ball during the first quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

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New Lions GM Brad Holmes to evaluate everything, including Matthew Stafford

After taking over a team that finished 5-11 this season and hasn’t had a winning season since 2017, new Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes knows everything has to evaluated, and that includes quarterback Matthew Stafford.

In his introductory video conference Tuesday, Holmes lauded Stafford’s abilities but didn’t commit to the 32-year-old returning to the Lions in 2021.

“Matthew, great player. And what you really appreciate is, I think the talent level is easy to see, but you really appreciate how intangibles show on film, how urgent he plays, how competitive he is, the toughness that he shows,” Holmes said. “But it is my job to evaluate the entire roster, and through that process, I have not had any discussions with Matt or any players for that matter. So I just want to be fair to the process and make sure that we evaluate that thoroughly, but obviously, Matt, very good football player.”

Holmes, 41, was hired Jan. 14 to replace Bob Quinn, who was dismissed in November. The Lions haven’t made the playoffs since 2016 and their drought without a playoff win dates to 1991 — the second-longest active streak in the NFL behind the Cincinnati Bengals (1990).

Previously Holmes was the Los Angeles Rams’ director of college scouting. Despite the Lions’ dismal record the past several seasons, he doesn’t consider the task at hand to be a rebuild.

“That’s not the approach,” he said. “That’s not the mindset going into it. The approach is to make sure we can put the most competitive team possible out there in 2021.”

The first major move Holmes has to make is hiring a head coach. New Orleans Saints tight ends/assistant head coach Dan Campbell is the favorite to get the job, according to multiple reports Tuesday. Holmes didn’t address the speculation, but did describe what he wants in a head coach.

“My No. 1 core trait was, first of all, he’s got to be a leader of men,” Holmes said. “He has to have presence. Within that presence he has to have poise, he has to have confidence, he has to have command and he has to have mental toughness. He has to have intelligence. A strong passion to develop.”

Whether Lions’ future includes Stafford remains to be seen. In 2020, Stafford played through injuries and completed 339 of 528 passes for 4,084 yards and 26 touchdowns. He was intercepted 10 times.

The 12-year veteran is far and away the Lions’ all-time leader in passing yards (45,109) and passing touchdowns (282).

He’s due a base salary of $9.5 million while his salary-cap hit will be $33 million and his dead-cap value will be $19 million in 2021, according to Spotrac.com.

Part of Holmes’ evaluation of Stafford will include what the quarterback brings in intangibles.

“I think the intangibles are the separator of success at this level,” Holmes said.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

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