The Detroit Lions and quarterback Matthew Stafford plan to split up.
The Lions and Stafford have agreed to look into trading with him, according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation. The person spoke to The Associated Press on Saturday night on condition of anonymity as the team and Stafford did not announce the decision.
Stafford expressed an interest in trading after the season ended and the team responded by submitting the idea until a new general manager and coach were hired. Stafford had a call earlier this week with Brad Holmes, general manager of the Lions, and trainer Dan Campbell, and they discussed without moving on.
Detroit designed Stafford No. 1 overall in 2009 and has two years left on a five-year $ 135 million contract.
Stafford broke the 45,000-yard mark in the 165th game of his career, the fewest games an NFL player had to play in the 2020 season finals. He threw three touchdown passes that game against Minnesota to bring his career to a total of 282.
Like many of Stafford’s successes in Detroit, they were hit by defeat when the Lions fell 5-11 for the third straight year and his regular season career record fell to 74 90-1.
Designing the heavily armed Georgia-based Stafford with hopes of helping the franchise win the playoffs, Detroit built on the only playoff win it had won since winning the 1957 NFL title.
However, Stafford was 0-3 in the 2011, 2014 and 2016 postseason.
The Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots are among the teams that may have an interest in Stafford, who will turn 33 in February.
Stafford received Pro Bowl recognition in the 2014 season and was named AP’s comeback player of the year in 2011 after recovering from an injury-related start in his career. He is # 16 on the league’s all-time list with 45,109 yards passing and 282 passing touchdowns.
He played for a team that was often behind, led 31 comebacks in the fourth quarter of his career and scored 38 wins with game-changing drives.
Detroit moved Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah into third place last year, missing quarterbacks Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert.
The Lions are number 7 overall this year and will likely be looking for a quarterback, possibly Buckeyes star Justin Fields.