Should SF 49ers pull the trigger on Matthew Stafford?

Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /

The rumor mill wasted no time pairing the Detroit quarterback, Matthew Stafford, and the SF 49ers.

The rumor mill for the SF 49ers and the quarterback market in the offseason have been in full swing for this year.

If there’s a quarterback on the move, you can bet the Niners are either linked to him or the fanbase is clamoring for it.

The Houston Texans’ Deshaun Watson is easily the jewel of the market, but the hefty asking price he’s sure to warrant would make it a tricky situation for San Francisco to overcome given there are other teams like the New York Jets in a better situation to pay up.

One less expensive option, however, would be Matthew Stafford, the Detroit Lions quarterback who wants a fresh start and who’s already being linked to the SF 49ers.

There’s not a doubt in the world about the ability of Stafford. He’s a strong quarterback who’s unfortunately been saddled with subpar teams in Detroit. Injury has cost him some of his career also, as he’s frequently been let down by poor blocking.

But the question is, should the team pull the trigger on Stafford and move on from incumbent quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo?

Well, one consideration is the price. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the Lions can expect to net back a first-round pick in return. This could be considered relatively high for a player who turns 33 years old before the start of the 2021 season and has been injured before and the team is committed to moving on.

However, you could also consider that the inevitably large market for a proven commodity at quarterback would move the price up in a bidding war.

Also to be considered is that the talented quarterback hasn’t lost a step yet. Stafford played all 16 games, completed 64.2 percent of his passes and threw for 4,084 yards with 26 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions.

Contractually, Stafford is on a relatively friendly deal also, being owed $20 million in 2021 and $23 million in 2022. As a comparison, Garoppolo is due $25.5 million in 2021.

Team-wise, it’s hard not to see Stafford as a good fit with the game plan of head coach Kyle Shanahan. Teams know the SF 49ers as a running team, but Stafford would bring a new weapon into the mix where he can throw the ball anywhere on the field. It’d work well for Stafford also, as Shanahan is a great coach who can improve his game even more.

Lastly, Stafford would like to be on a team that would be a contender. The Niners are only one year removed from a Super Bowl appearance and it’s universally accepted that the poor 2020 season is a result of injuries and not due to any real regression.

But is Stafford a big enough upgrade at quarterback over Garoppolo to merit handing over the first-round selection the SF 49ers possess at No. 12 overall? Maybe not, but could Detroit accept a 2022 selection if the Niners are willing to gamble they finish with a better record next season?

Next. NY Jets, not SF 49ers are favorites to trade for Texans’ Deshaun Watson. dark

There’s a lot to yet play out for the Stafford sweepstakes. Watson remains the crown jewel of the market and that domino may need to fall before other moves are made.

But for San Francisco, it’d be dumb to not at least consider what 2021 would look like with a quarterback like Stafford under center.

But the real question for the team and the fans: should they pull the trigger?