An NFL insider thinks Matt Stafford could be an option at QB for the Patriots in the offseason.
The New England Patriots’ blowout loss to the Los Angeles Rams in primetime on Thursday night not only seemingly killed off their playoff aspirations, but it also sparked more burning questions about what the quarterback situation will look like in 2021.
For the game, Cam Newton finished 9-of-16 for 119 yards and one interception, adding seven carries for 16 yards on the ground before he was benched early on in the fourth quarter. He appeared to be hampered by an abdominal injury that limited him in practice this week, but nobody, including the Patriots’ front office, can deny the ineptitude of the passing game of late.
Well, during an appearance on The Herd this week, insider Albert Breer proclaimed that the franchise would jump at the chance to upgrade at quarterback in the offseason, naming Lions star Matthew Stafford as a potential option should he become available.
The Sports Illustrated columnist does a nice job of providing context to Newton’s struggles this season by noting that Tom Brady (for the most part) posted similar numbers (as far as passer rating) down the stretch in 2019. Because of that, the Patriots aren’t as down on the three-time Pro Bowler as some people are led to believe.
At the same time, however, head coach Bill Belichick is too obsessed with winning to risk missing the playoffs in consecutive seasons because of average quarterback play, and Stafford would undoubtedly serve as a significant upgrade to Newton.
That begs the question of whether Detroit, who needs to overhaul their roster as much as humanly possible this offseason, makes him available. Stafford signed a five-year, $135 million contract extension back in 2017 that isn’t set to expire until after 2022 campaign.
At 32 years old, Stafford is still in the middle of his prime and could potentially flourish with the Patriots — assuming they make upgrades at the wide receiver and tight end positions. On top of that, he could only account for a relatively cheap $43 million in salary cap over the final two years of his deal.
Given how much cap space New England will have at its disposal starting in 2021, the organization wouldn’t break a sweat paying him that sum.
Stafford might not have a ton of playoff experience, but he would change the entire dynamic of the Patriots’ stagnant aerial attack in a heartbeat. If we had a say in the matter, we honestly wouldn’t think twice about inquiring about his availability in the offseason.