Barry Sanders: It will be tough to replace Matthew Stafford

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Charean Williams
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Barry Sanders didn’t accomplish what he wanted to accomplish in his 10 years in Detroit, retiring at the age of 30 without a Super Bowl appearance. Now, 22 years later, it appears Matthew Stafford is on his way out of town without a Super Bowl appearance at the age of 32 (about to turn 33).

Stafford and the team have agreed to a trade that will send the quarterback elsewhere after 12 seasons and no playoff wins.

“It sounds like both parties kind of were at that point,” Sanders said on NFL Network on Tuesday. “It will be tough to replace a guy like Matt Stafford, who I feel like in a lot of ways carried the franchise for the last decade. A guy who showed up every day. You felt like you always had a chance with Matt. Maybe because of the new regime coming in and just seeing things different, sometimes things like this just happen.”

The Lions had a prime opportunity to draft a franchise quarterback a year ago. With the third overall choice, they selected cornerback Jeff Okudah instead of Tua Tagovailoa, who went fifth to Miami, or Justin Herbert, who went sixth to the Chargers.

The Lions have the seventh pick this year.

Detroit, though, should reap additional draft choices with the trade of Stafford, who owns all of the team’s passing records.

“I know Matt has a lot of good football left in him,” Sanders said. “I know as a Lions fan, I wish him well. It certainly will be very difficult to replace a guy like that, who put up the kind of numbers he has over his career.”

The team also could opt for a bridge quarterback with Tyrod Taylor the obvious candidate because of his ties to offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn.

Barry Sanders: It will be tough to replace Matthew Stafford originally appeared on Pro Football Talk