Broncos: Matthew Stafford trade more realistic now than ever

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – DECEMBER 13: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions looks to pass against the Green Bay Packers during the first half at Ford Field on December 13, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

With George Paton hired as Denver Broncos general manager, the likelihood of the team acquiring Matthew Stafford has increased.

The Denver Broncos‘ general manager vacancy lasted all of a week, as the team agreed to terms with the Minnesota Vikings assistant general manager George Paton on a six-year contract on Wednesday. Paton is known for being part of Minnesota’s front office that aggressively moved to sign Kirk Cousins in free agency in 2018, and one reporter says he may make a similar move this offseason with Denver.

Mike Klis of News9 said on 104.3 The Fan on Wednesday that the Broncos chances of going after Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford are “stronger today” with Paton as general manager. Additionally, Klis says he’s been told Stafford wants out of Detroit, but it’s unknown if the Lions are willing to move on.

Making a move for Stafford is all up to the Lions

Paton has been with the Vikings for the past 13 seasons, so he’s gotten a good look at Stafford’s play over the years. Add in the fact that he was part of Minnesota’s front office that brought in quarterbacks like Cousins, Sam Bradford and even Brett Favre. So adding a veteran quarterback isn’t out of the question for the Broncos.

The Lions are in the midst of an organizational overhaul after the team fired general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia in the middle of the season. Whoever’s hired for both positions will inherit the seventh overall pick in the NFL Draft, which could hypothetically be used on a quarterback if they so choose. Detroit is in good position to gain draft capital for Stafford if the new regime opts to move on, as the veteran only accounts for $19 million in dead money for the 2021 season. However, a team will have to take on Stafford’s $33 million cap hit for the next campaign.

Stafford would enter a favorable situation in Denver. The Lions have their two top receivers in Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. set to hit free agency and an offensive line that allowed Stafford to get sacked 38 times this season (seventh-most in NFL). The Broncos have a better offensive line and a wide receiver corps of Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, KJ Hamler and Tim Patrick.

It’s too early to tell what Paton will do, but based off his track record, you can expect him to be aggressive in the quarterback market.

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