Jan 3, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford looks on before the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

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Reports: Matthew Stafford trade expected before Super Bowl

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is likely to have a new team to play for before the Super Bowl, NFL Network reported Saturday.

Interest in Stafford is significant, with both the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams rumored to be among the potential landing spots for the 12-year pro.

NBC Sports also reported that a trade for Stafford is likely to occur this week.

Detroit has been looking to deal the quarterback after Stafford asked to move on from the only NFL franchise he has played for since being drafted No. 1 overall in 2009.

New Lions coach Dan Campbell told the Detroit Free Press that interest in the quarterback is “pretty hot and heavy right now.”

“We’ve got quite a few offers and so it looks like we’ve got some trade partners,” Campbell told the paper. “We’re just trying to work out the best scenario and see what’s best for us, ultimately.”

Stafford, who turns 33 next month, did not lead the Lions to a NFC North division title or playoff victory in his 12 seasons with the Lions. He currently has two years left on a team-friendly contract due to pay him a combined $43 million — $20 million this year and $23 million next year.

When Stafford is traded, it will be in principle only until the new league year begins in March. Stafford is due a $10 million roster bonus on the fifth day of the 2021 league year. Detroit would carry $19 million in dead money on their salary cap in 2021, but a trade would yield a savings of $14 million in cap space and $20 million in cash at a time the NFL’s salary cap is expected to decrease, NFL Network reported.

Stafford started all 16 games and threw for 4,084 yards with 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions last season, despite playing through rib, right thumb, ankle and neck injuries. None of the injuries are expected to require surgery.

Stafford has started 165 games — going 74-90-1 — for the Lions and has completed 62.6 percent of his passes for 45,109 yards, 282 touchdowns and 144 interceptions. His 38 game-winning drives rank eighth all time and his 31 fourth-quarter comebacks are seventh-best in league history.

He led the Lions to the postseason three times, most recently in 2016, when Detroit went 9-7 before losing to Seattle in the wild-card round.

With Stafford reportedly on the trading block and the uncertainty surrounding Deshaun Watson in Houston and Carson Wentz in Philadelphia, the quarterback market could be robust this offseason. The free-agent class could include Dak Prescott, Andy Dalton, Cam Newton, Mitchell Trubisky, Jameis Winston, Tyrod Taylor, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jacoby Brissett, Colt McCoy and Nate Sudfeld.

–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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