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NFL Insider Offers Timeline On When Matthew Stafford Could Be Traded

Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford celebrating during a football game.

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - DECEMBER 30: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions reacts during the first half of a game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on December 30, 2018 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

When will the Detroit Lions complete a trade to send Matthew Stafford elsewhere? Let's just say the clock is ticking.

Detroit owes the 32-year-old a $10-million roster bonus if he's still on the roster by Mar. 21. The Lions would love to avoid having to pay that to a player that won't be playing for them in 2021.

The bottom line is Detroit's front office is going to do everything it can to ship Stafford elsewhere before the Mar. 21 bonus kicks in. There's one problem, though.

Teams around the league are well aware if they hold out on the Lions until early March that they'll be desperate for a trade. Negotiations could work against Detroit if it can't complete a deal prior to the month of March.

"The Lions hope to trade quarterback Matthew Stafford. The clock is ticking on their efforts to work out a deal," writes Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk. "The league year commences on March 17. If Stafford remains on the roster as of March 21, the Lions owe Stafford a $10 million roster bonus. Stafford surely won’t agree to delay that payment in order to facilitate a trade. If the Lions don’t have a viable offer for Stafford by the launch of the new league year, the Lions may have to take the best they can get to avoid owing him $10 million."

This is where things could get trick for the Lions.

At the moment, it appears to be a two-team race between the Colts and 49ers to acquire Matthew Stafford. But if they wait a bit longer to acquire the veteran quarterback, the asking price could drop because the Lions want to avoid having to pay Stafford his $10-million bonus in late March.

The Detroit Lions front office will have to work quickly these next few weeks to complete a trade.

[ProFootballTalk]