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#pounditTuesday, January 31, 2023

These two teams are reportedly the ‘front-runners’ for Matthew Stafford

Matthew Stafford

Matthew Stafford is expected to draw interest from several teams now that he and the Detroit Lions have mutually decided to part ways. One of the obstacles for teams that want to acquire the veteran quarterback will be that they need salary cap space. There are at least two QB-needy teams that have plenty of money.

The New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts are each expected to have around $60 million in salary cap space this offseason. For that reason, Michael Lombardi of The Athletic said this week that he considers them the “front-runners” for Stafford.

“Stafford has a $20 million cap charge that cannot be reworked until he is on his new team,” Lombardi wrote. “The team that trades for him must have the room to take on his deal, then they can lower his cap charge. Many teams can handle his cash and salary; few can handle that initial charge, which is why the Colts and Patriots are in front.”

As Lombardi explained, the team that acquires Stafford must have at least $20 million available to even make the trade. They can then work with him on a restructured deal and possibly lowering the cap hit, but the space needs to be there up front.

Of course, asking price will also be a major factor. One report claims at least five teams are willing to offer the Lions a first-round pick for Stafford. Are the Patriots one of them?

Bill Belichick has always shown a hesitance to trade draft picks for players. While New England desperately needs a quarterback, Stafford will turn 33 next month and has battled injuries in recent years. A first-round pick is a high price to pay, especially if his new team is going to have to pay him a hefty salary.

Lombardi may think the Patriots are willing to spend big on a QB, but there are some others who do not agree.

Photo: A Healthier Michigan/Flickr via cc-by-sa 2.0


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