Walking into the last offseason, the Detroit Lions would see major changes after dismissing the previous “Patriot Way” regime with fresh new faces, Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell, to kick start a new era of Lions. However, when Holmes took over as general manager, the first order of business was at quarterback. It started with potentially losing long-time franchise player Matthew Stafford, with the inevitable rebuild about to occur in Detroit.
Unfortunately, Stafford was at a point in his career where he already experienced a couple of rebuilds and was looking to get the playoff monkey off his back and shed the negative light around him. At that point, Holmes needed to find suitors for Stafford’s services. It wasn’t an issue, with several teams vying for a new franchise quarterback.
Ultimately, Stafford was traded to the Los Angles Rams for two 1st round picks, a 3rd round pick and QB Jared Goff. Several rumors started coming out on teams trying to trade for Stafford, and in a recent interview with 97.1 the Ticket, Brad Holmes confirmed the Carolina Panthers were one of those teams.
The Lions were close to pulling the trigger with the Panthers with an alleged package of their 1st round pick last year and Teddy Bridgewater, but then the Rams came forward with the bigger offer.
There was also the speculation Stafford has a big say on where he ended up. In the interview, Holmes did not answer whether Stafford shut down any possible trade with Carolina. Still, he said Stafford was very cooperative and professional throughout the process.
With the pedigree Stafford held with Detroit and the damaging history with their top players, the top brass would give Stafford a say in where he would end up and make sure he got to go where he believed he could go all the way.
Holmes felt it worked for both sides giving the Rams a potential final piece to take them over the hump for a playoff run, and the Lions receiving draft capital to help “retool” the roster with young talent and a serviceable quarterback who took lumps early in the season but rebounded late in the year.
It’ll be a couple of years before we know who won the Stafford trade, but so far, this looks like one of those win-win trades for both teams. Surely, the Lions would’ve liked to keep Stafford, but this was a team doing one of their top franchise players in history a solid to give a chance, while Detroit looks to turn the corner of league mediocrity.