The first big quarterback domino fell this “offseason” when the Detroit Lions parted ways with Matthew Stafford after 11 years by trading him to the Los Angeles Rams for a package headlined by quarterback Jared Goff and two first-round picks.
While the New England Patriots could’ve made a play for the veteran gunslinger, the latest buzz suggests that he was never going to wear Patriots uniform, at least in the immediate future.
According to Tom E. Curran, Stafford told the Lions that New England was the only team that he would not welcome a trade to. It doesn’t take a genius to see that the fact that former head coach Matt Patricia, who was hired by Bill Belichick as an assistant this offseason, heading to New England soured Stafford’s opinion of the franchise. That’s a safe guess.
Matt Patricia’s return to the Patriots may have hurt them in the Matthew Stafford trade talks
Patricia was unable to change the culture in Detroit during his three-year run. Despite getting some above-average production from Stafford at quarterback, Patricia went 13-29-1 before being fired, largely due to his defenses ranking among the worst in the league and an inability to have his team prepared to protect a late lead.
Patricia was rehired under Belichick as an “assistant to the head coach,” meaning he likely won’t be as involved in schematic responsibilities or gameplan building. Nonetheless, Stafford did not want to risk linking up with him again.
While the cold weather of Massachusetts and the taxes might not have been very attractive for Stafford, anyone who endured 11 seasons of Lions football could stomach that if it meant playing under Belichick and competing for a playoff spot. Stafford and Patricia never really seemed like the most harmonious quarterback-coach combination, and he definitely wanted to start fresh somewhere else rather than be reminded of what was a messy end to his tenure in Detroit.
While Patricia’s coaching prospects outside of New England might’ve been pretty slim, Belichick bringing a familiar face back into the fold has cost them a shot at one of the best available quarterbacks on the market. The hunt for Tom Brady’s successor goes on.