In the 30-plus hours since Bernie Smilovitz of Detroit's WDIV reported that the Detroit Lions have been actively shopping Matthew Stafford, no one else has been able to match that information. General manager Bob Quinn immediately denied the story in a text message to the Free Press. The rumor has managed to do something quite impressive in our fractured times: bring about almost universal agreement that there's absolutely nothing to this.
Smilovitz, though, is standing by his reporting. In a new post this morning titled Sources confirm Lions have had Matthew Stafford trade talks, each paragraph is better than the one that came before.
"We stand by our story and by our sources. We find tremendous validity in what we are reporting because of what Kelly Stafford posted on Instagram. Before our report was made, she posted that if Detroit was done with her husband, then they would like to go to the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chargers need a quarterback after Philip Rivers left."
"The fact that Kelly posted that before our report tells us things were going behind the scenes, and our sources later confirmed it."
"Again, we are only reporting trade talks for Stafford and those talks have definitely taken place."
This is not your typical newsroom copy. The vagueness of "things going on." The phrase "we are only reporting." Extremely interesting, if nothing else.
The Kelly Stafford Instagram post, which is apparently crucial evidence here, relates to this FanDuel article imagining three potential destinations for the quarterback if the Lions draft a quarterback.
It's clear how we got here. It's unclear if Smilovitz ever gets his vindication or comeuppance. Stafford staying put doesn't prove trade talks never happened. Both sides can claim victory and walk away, thankful for the memories and a follow-up that will go down as an all-timer.