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NFC Notes: Matthew Stafford, Cowboys, Lions, & Vikings

Matthew Stafford

ESPN’s Michael Rothstein writes that Lions QB Matthew Stafford could be entering a “crossroads” in 2016 season.

Stafford’s contract is up after the 2017 season, but his 2016 performance will end up having a big impact on future negotiations regarding a contract extension. Rothstein believes a solid 2016 season could be enough for Stafford to ultimately become the highest paid player in the NFL for at least a short period of time.

According to Rothstein, there are three real options for the Lions moving forward:

  1. Lock up Stafford and ensure he’ll be their quarterback long term.
  2. Allow him to play out his contract with the possibility of him testing the free agent market in 2018.
  3. Move on from him and target a quarterback high in next year’s draft.

If the Lions put together a winning season, Rothstein expects the team to keep HC Jim Caldwell and possibly consider an extension for him. This could also lead to them signing Stafford to an extension.

Cowboys

  • Todd Archer of ESPN does not think the Cowboys did enough to improve their defensive line and is skeptical about their possible production this season.
  • According to Archer, the Cowboys’ sense throughout training camp was that DE Randy Gregory, who is facing a 10 game suspension, would not be available to play in 2016.
  • Regardless, Archer does not believe Gregory would be able to contribute much once he is eligible to play, given he missed the preseason and all of Dallas’ offseason activities.

Lions

  • Michael Rothstein writes that the Lions’ decision to keep just four receivers on their roster could leave them in a tough position if they were to sustain an injury or two at the position.
  • Rothstein mentions that TE Eric Ebron and RB Theo Riddick could fill in at receiver if needed.
  • In regards to LB Deandre Levy, Rothstein believes he has a shot of getting back to his previous form after he missed nearly the entire 2015 season due to a hip injury.

Vikings

  • Josina Anderson reports the Vikings chose to start QB Shaun Hill for Week 1 over recently acquired Sam Bradford because he has been in Minnesota’s system for two years and “knows all the plays.”
  • However, Anderson‘s source also said Bradford “is close” to being ready to start.

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