Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn has been emphatic that there's nothing to the rumors suggesting the team is entertaining trading Matthew Stafford. He really couldn't be more clear, putting periods and exclamation marks on the end of that sentence.
But what if Stafford wants out and feels handcuffed by the franchise's unwillingness to explore the market? That'd be spicy.
And it's apparently the belief of some rival GMs and coaches, per NFL Network's Michael Silver.
Matt Patricia called the rumors "comical" at the NFL Combine yesterday. Quinn also relayed this conversation with his marquee player:
So everyone seems to be on the same page that Stafford will be playing for Detroit next year. Except general managers in other cities who believe things about other organizations.
Now, the Lions would undoubtably be more interested in keeping this long marriage together than Stafford. That's simply a matter of dollars and sense. Moving their quarterback will result in a crippling dead-cap hit that would kneecap whatever the direction the resulting rebuild wanted to go.
Stafford would probably like to win something of note during his career. And it ain't happening next year, barring something unforeseen.
This new twist is interesting. It also is extremely unlikely to lead us to a different conclusion than the one we've expected all along.
Stafford is one of, if not the most loyal players out there, and has shown a tremendous commitment to what is arguably the most cursed franchise in the league. It'd be absolutely shocking if he were sending out back-channel information signaling his desire to be rescued.
But hey, weirder things have happened.
At this point, I genuinely feel bad for Quinn, Patricia, Stafford and pretty much anyone else wearing Honolulu blue that must keep answering these questions.