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Former NFL Exec Has 'Dark Horse' Team For Matthew Stafford

Matthew Stafford looks onto the field during a game.

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 29: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions watches the pregame activities prior to the start of the game against the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field on December 29, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. Green Bay defeated Detroit 23-20. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

We may have one of the craziest offseasons when it comes to quarterback movement that the NFL has ever seen. Among the biggest names that will almost definitely be elsewhere in 2021: Detroit Lions' QB1 Matthew Stafford.

Stafford, the No. 1 pick back in 2009, has reportedly requested a trade from the franchise. The Lions, who are breaking in a new general manager and head coach this offseason, are expected to grant him that wish. The potential to land an additional first-round pick in a quarterback-heavy NFL Draft makes it a move that can make sense for both sides.

We've seen numerous teams come up in the Stafford sweepstakes, including the San Francisco 49ers, New York Jets, and three major contenders identified by former NFL GM Mike Lombardi: the Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts, and New England Patriots.

According to another notable former front office executive—long time Dallas Cowboys executive Gil Brandt—you can add another team to the growing list: the Carolina Panthers. Teddy Bridgewater was okay for Matt Rhule's team this year, but certainly didn't cement himself as an NFL starter. Brandt believes the Panthers could move the No. 8 overall pick for Stafford in an effort to contend this fall.

The Detroit Lions are currently slated to pick at No. 7, so this trade would give them back-to-back picks in the top 10. Detroit could either look to take a QB with one of those picks, or potentially trade up and get their pick of the non-Trevor Lawrence quarterbacks. The New York Jets could be going QB at No. 2, but there have been reports that they could stick with Sam Darnold for one last year under new head coach Robert Saleh, so there could be room to package the pair of picks and move as high as that spot. Ohio State's Justin Fields, BYU's Zach Wilson, North Dakota State's Trey Lance, and Alabama's Mac Jones are all potential first-round quarterbacks, behind Lawrence, who is being penciled in to the Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 1. Throwing Matthew Stafford into that offense with Christian McCaffrey and one of the NFL's most sneakily great wide receiver groups with D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson, and Curtis Samuel could add even more intrigue to the NFC South. [

I think Carolina is a darkhorse team to watch in any Matthew Stafford trade. Sweet spot for me is teams in the backend of the first round. Panthers are at No. 8, which would give Lions two in top 10. Teddy Bridgewater isn't answer in Carolina. Stafford has several good years left

— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) January 25, 2021

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