Panthers Nearly Had Trade For Matthew Stafford Before He Steered Deal To Rams

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that Matthew Stafford had the Rams, Colts and 49ers as his top three landing spots at the time he started the process of seeking a new team. 

Matthew Stafford

However, in late January, Rapoport says the Panthers became aggressive for Stafford and “jumped to the forefront.” Sources tell Rapoport that the Panthers were actually nearing a deal for Stafford by the time they left the Senior Bowl and several people thought they would get him as their quarterback. 

Rapoport explains that at this point, Stafford decided to step in and make it clear that he and his family wanted to be in Los Angeles and for him to be playing quarterback for the Rams. 

After making his voice heard, the Lions opted to trade him to the Rams instead of the Panthers. 

Rapoport says Carolina was offering the Panthers a first-round pick and Teddy Bridgewater for Stafford. 

In the end, the Lions took two first-round picks and QB Jared Goff from the Rams in return for Stafford. 

Detroit reportedly had other offers with multiple high picks from the Colts, Broncos and Washington

Other teams were said to be in the mix as well including the Bears and 49ers. Rapoport says the 49ers and Jets never made formal offers for Stafford. 

Stafford actually ran into Rams head coach Sean McVay in Mexico and the two had dinner. Rapoport’s source explained that McVay getting involved and speaking with Stafford ramped up the Rams’ interest and drove up the price.

A source involved with the situation tells Rapoport that Stafford likely would have vetoed any deal that wasn’t the Rams.

Stafford, 33, is a former first-round pick of the Lions back in 2009. He was in the final year of his five-year, $76.5 million contract when he and the Lions agreed to a five-year, $135 million extension back in 2017.

Stafford was involved in a blockbuster trade that sent him to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for QB Jared Goff and draft picks this offseason. 

In 2020, Stafford appeared in all 16 games for the Lions and completed 64.2 percent of his passes for 4,084 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. He also rushed for 112 yards.

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