Dan Orlovsky: If Detroit Lions don't win, Matthew Stafford could go elsewhere in 2021


But it’s the win-in-Detroit-or-go-somewhere-else part of Orlovsky’s prediction that really stands out.

Stafford has been the subject of trade speculation before, including this past offseason when the Lions had the No. 3 pick in the draft but never seriously considered dealing him and taking a young quarterback.

If he plays well again this year and the Lions win, a) that would, in theory, bolster his Hall of Fame candidacy, and b) put him reasonably in line for another contract extension relatively soon. Stafford’s current contract expires after the 2022 season and by next year his current deal will be below market value.

If he doesn’t play well, or plays well and the Lions struggle, the future becomes a little more murky. Orlovsky said he could see either scenario happening: a contending team trying to trade for Stafford (whose cap hit would be $19 million in the case of a trade) or the Lions, perhaps with a new regime, moving on.

“I think in both cases you could justify it,” Orlovsky said. "I’ve said this publicly and I’ve said it to Matthew, listen, if they don’t win, it’s probably the right decision. And they didn’t not win because of him, but you can totally sit there and go, ‘All right, we tried, it didn’t happen, let’s totally reboot.’ "

Orlovsky spent some time with Stafford earlier this summer, and while he said Stafford never has voiced that theory to him, he’s also smart enough to know how the NFL works.
"He’s just focused on like, ‘Listen, I think we got a good team. I was playing really, really good last year. I feel good, healthy. Like, I think I’ve got plenty of years of really good football left in me,’ " Orlovsky said. “Listen, everyone knows he’s smart, so he’s aware. He knows what the reality of the NFL is.”

The reality is, Stafford was playing great football last year, and the Lions still were 3-4-1 when he went down. If he finds team success, not just this fall but more often than not in the second half of his career, he absolutely will be in the discussion for Canton. And if he doesn’t, well, he might finish his career outside of Detroit, with the chance to be looked at in a whole new light.

"I even (said) this to his face, I said, ‘Dude, sometimes people caveat with, do you think he’l play well?’ " Orlovsky said. “And I’m like, ‘When did he not play well?’ And to his credit, he thought he did not play well two years ago, so I kind of differed on that a little bit, but he’s going to play well. Will he be MVP-level football (this year)? I would say more likely than not likely.”

One thing that could be questioned is timing.

Due to COVID-19, Quinn & Patricia have a built-in excuse for the 2020 season which, if history is any indication, give them a greater chance to survive a mediocre season.

If Stafford plays in 2021, then his salary cap hit for a trade before the 2022 season is a modest $6,000,000. To me, that seems like a more likely scenario.

Or, if a new regime comes in after 2020, Stafford becomes the bridge to a rookie QB drafted in the 2021 draft.

It could go in a number of directions but there’s not much point in speculating on if-comes
I believe last years start was also during the most difficult part of the schedule

That 3-4-1 start could have been followed by a 6-2 finish … more likely 5-3
But that team had multiple flaws
No running game
DL can only get better???
Running game has been addressed
The defense as a whole should be improved with take aways returning to the mean
Relatively easy schedule
I think 10-6 is very much in play this year
At that point there will be no talk of Stafford being traded — maybe more like he has a chance to build a legacy
There — now I engaged in speculation. :crazy_face:

Just a little shocked by the HOF talk.


If the Lions can win a couple of playoff games with Stafford at the helm, I think he’s a lock. A good comparator in that regard would be Hall of Famer Dan Fouts, who he should pass this year in the passing yards department (he’s already passed him in the TD passes dept with 256 to 254). Fouts–Mediocre career record: 86-84-1; 3-4 playoffs with 12 TDs and 16 INTs; no Super Bowl appearances (Stan Humphries was the starter in 1994 for SD’s long SB appearance).

That being said, hard to see the Lions making the playoffs let alone winning a playoff game or two.

68-78-1 ProBowls? Dan Fouts 6x pro bowl , 3x first team, player of the year, etc, etc, etc. There is no comparison.

I’d be really surprised if he left. I think the organization knows what he is and wants to keep him.

Stafford has hall of fame stats. If he wins in the playoffs and wins a Super Bowl then he is most definitely going to the HoF.


As if Stafford isn’t part of the reason they haven’t won.


Fingers crossed!

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LOL, throwing w/o winning is just stats.

No shot of making the HOF as things are now. QBs reputations are made by taking their team to the SB and typically winning them, not by throwing for a bunch of yards and losing games. I’m not blaming the losses all on Stafford, but facts are facts. It’s the unfortunate truth for Stafford. Joe Namath is in the HOF. Ken Stabler is in the HOF. Troy Aikman is in the HOF. Eli Manning is going to make the HOF.
Other than winning the SB, Joe Namath was a below average QB. Ken Stabler had a great defense, won a lot of games including the SB with very pedestrian stats. Eli had two great playoff runs(and I mean great playoff runs and 2 of the greatest throws in NFL history both in the SB). Aikman handed the ball off to Smith a lot and his team was just that much better than the opponents. He won 3 SBs.
Had the Bengals won the 1982 SB, Ken Anderson would probably be in the HOF. There is debate about Philip Rivers and the HOF because he never took his team to the SB even though he has 8x Pro Bowls, played in the AFC Championship game and won 5 playoff games. Hell, some people question whether Matt Ryan will make it even though his statistics are much better than Stafford’s across the board, has 4x Pro Bowls, 1x All Pro, MVP, and took his team to the SB. Had the Falcons not choked the game away, he would be a lock for the HOF. His career record is 109-80. If Rivers and Ryan don’t make it, there is no way Stafford even has a shot.

There are only 2 NFL QBs in the HOF to never play in the SB. Warren Moon and Dan Fouts. I believe Fouts played in 2 AFC Championship Games. Moon only won 3 playoff games. Comparing stats from different eras is pointless. Fouts was the league leader in yards thrown by a long ways. Stafford has never led the league in any positive stat.
Fouts is a 2x All Pro, 6x Pro Bowler
Moon was a 9x Pro Bowler.
They are definitely the exception in the HOF during the SB era…

As another poster mentioned, Stafford is a 1x Pro Bowler. Stafford is the Dave Krieg of his generation. A good QB who is overlooked by guys with better resumes.

Stafford needs to win a SB and improve his career record. Whether you think it was his fault for the Lions losing is irrelevant. It isn’t the Hall of What Could Have Been.
There are only so many NFL QBs that will make the HOF. Active guys/ or guys that will retire that have much better HOF resumes
Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Phillip Rivers. Six of those guys are shoo-ins. And Ryan and Rivers will have to get in before Stafford. If Joe Flacco could somehow take another team to the SB, he might get in.

What might work in his favor is that if all those guys make it, there won’t be a whole lot of QBs that will be ready to retire that are locks for the HOF. Stafford is 32 and the only guy who will be a lock for the HOF that will probably retire after him is Russell Wilson. Of the top younger QBs Prescott and Wentz are both 27 and Mahomes and Watson are 24. So he might have a window of no worthy QBs being eligible for the HOF for a while. It depends on if voters want to put a guy in there who, as of now, has a losing record and no playoff wins (unless something drastic changes in the future).

We definitely the Super Bowl this year because this is the year nobody can really go to the games and that is so Lions.

I agree that as of right now Stafford is not a HofF QB. He needs more pro bowls, more wins and more playoff wins to even have a shot.

What Dan O is saying is a real possibility. Stafford has to know his chances are low in Det. To be honest I was shocked he didn’t move on after last season. But injuries two years in a row have probably kept his hopes up. I believe Stafford wants to win in Det. I believe he wants to bring a SB here. But if he stays healthy and the team loses than I think it’s possible someone could lure him away.

As a Lions fan I’d hate to lose Matt. I think he’s our only hope right now.

But as a Stafford fan I can’t help but wonder what he could accomplish elsewhere.

Hope I never find out.

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Well, not to say anything bad about Stafford, but QBs do have a big impact on a team winning games.
And if he can’t win here, why would the Lions want him to stay anyway? I have a feeling that he isn’t a big Patricia fan to begin with, although he would never say it.

I think the same thing. He’s never once came out to defend Patricia. You’d think a QB would do that for a HC he liked.

Also I can’t see Matt forcing the Lions to move on from him. I could see him sitting down with Martha and BQ and telling them he’d like to move on. But I just can’t see him demanding it.

Kelly on the other hand I could see blowing up social media … lol

It’s definitely not his style to come out in the media and say stuff.

Oh is that all he needs to do? No big deal then might as well get his statue ready.