The Lions are in a position in 2021 to do something they have never done:
Have a long-term answer at the QB position AND have competition there. Let me explain.
For years , many here noted that Stafford that Matt needed to be pushed by someone and I agreed then. This season the Lions have a real shot at finding a veteran QB AND drafting a guy with real upside.
I am thinking the Lions want a system that allows a QB to run when necessary and they want a great running game. I think the combination of Marcus Mariota (signed by the Raiders right now through 2021) and a top rookie is just too damn smart right now. Get a rookie who plays the game in a similar way to Marcus and let the competition unfold. That can be any of the top young QBs. Let them sit behind Marcus for a year or more. If Marcus kicks ass here we are gold. If Marcus stinks we have a back up plan B.
What I think drives this set of decisions is this staff really has two seasons to win a considerable amount of games. Stink in 2021 and 2022 and there is blood in the water. The staff us likely dead if they cannot win a bunch of games by 2022.
Drafting a young guy and rolling with that is a recipe to get fire if you are wrong. This is a theory Wes had turned me on to and I think he is right. Show your team is competitive by year two or you have to be a clear exception to the rule as most coaches win by year two. Two losing seasons and you are most likely you be fired during your third season.
Why put your eggs in a rookie basket or in a veteran’s basket who cannot do the job (Tyrod Taylor…I am looking straight at you).
I think Stafford needs to be traded for enough picks to trade for Marcus Mariota and that may cost a 2nd rounder. Make sure to get a first for Matt as that second is likely gone used as a trade piece.
To me this front office and staff need to show me they are finally setting this team up for success. Trade FOR Mariota AND draft a top rookie and the benefits will redound for years to come. Let the rookie sit and if Marcus kicks ass…lock his ass down. Marcus is 28 in October and he as a shot at pulling a Tannehill AND the Lions seem to want a mobile QB. The Raiders need cap space and if they want draft assets they will be willing to get something for Marcus now as next year you are going to lose him for nothing.
Yes that is a lot of $ to pay for a rookie QB to NOT play. But with Matt gone the rookie AND Marcus will make considerably less that Stafford and maybe we can still be competitive. If Marcus sees his shot here but has to hold off a top rookie that seems ideas.
The Lions sit in a rare position right now and they need to make sagacious decisions right now. They need to change the course of this franchise and that starts with making good decisions at the QB position. Trade Matt, trade FOR Marcus and draft a kid at #7 OA and let him learn the system and the game. And if Marcus looks fantastic here lock down Marcus too. Spend the assets to have long-term continuity at the QB position.
Campbell need to win by year two. He isn’t getting four season if he loses for three seasons. He likely will be fired mod-way through season three if he doesn’t win by year two.
I am back to thinking the simplest thought is the real thought. The Colts pull the trigger with their 1st and 21nd rd. picks in 2021. The Colts are out of answers and are in win now mode. Could they trade for Mariota (or anothe rteam trade for Marcus)? Yep. But Marcus stunk later in TN and he is a huge risk compared to Stafford. That is why the Lions need Marcus AND a top rookie to get the competition balance right. Like Vrabel did with Marcus and Ryan T. Marcus plus a top drafted rookie is taking this seriously.
Get enough assets from the Colts to get an extra 1str rd. pick in 2021 and use that second rd. pick to secure your veteran QB and get to work.
I think counting on drafting and starting a rookie is a serious mistake. I think counting on a guy like Tyrod Taylor or Can Newton is a terrible mistake even if we also draft a rookie as those careers are set and those guys are likely done. Cam was bad in New England last season. Taylor is 32 in August. Marcus is 5 years younger than Stafford and there may still be life there.
If the Lions screw up this position at this point the franchise is in trouble as you will have wasted 2022 if your decisions in 2021 don’t work. Why take that chance, Hedge your bet and get Marcus and draft a top rookie…but get a 1st and 2nd for Matt in 2021 and then use that to stabilize the QB position for now and maybe years to come.