Matthew Stafford endured a tough season in 2019 that saw him fail to appear in all 16 games for the first time in nearly a decade, but it sounds like the Detroit Lions expect the veteran quarterback to be all-systems-go heading forward.
With Stafford having dealt with a serious back injury that held him out of half the season, there has been speculation that the Lions could have second thoughts about the nearly $27 million salary cap hit the QB carries next year. However, Detroit general manager Bob Quinn told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Monday that he is “totally comfortable” entering the 2020 season with Stafford.
“He’s going to be in full health once the offseason program starts its course,” Quinn said, via Dave Birkett of The Detroit Free Press. “He’s pretty much at full health. Talked to him about 10 days ago. He was in the office, so he’s feeling great, he’s in a good mindset. He’s excited.”
The Lions have the third-overall pick in a deep quarterback draft, so it would not be a shock if they took a QB in that spot. That would likely signal that they do not expect Stafford to be with the team for, say, five more years, but Stafford’s roster spot should be safe in the short term. Detroit would have to absorb $24.8 million in dead money if they released Stafford this offseason. That number drops significantly if they part ways with him prior to the 2021 season.
Aside from all the financial logistics, Stafford was having his best season as a pro before the back injury sidelined him this year. He had 2,499 passing yards, 19 touchdowns and just five interceptions in eight games. Stafford also showcased his toughness by playing through the injury for a long time. The Lions could do a lot worse.
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