Lions, Matthew Stafford likely became pawns in the looming quarterback chaos

Mike Florio
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

Chaos is coming when it comes to NFL quarterbacks. In some ways, chaos already has begun.

The out-of-the-Honolulu-Blue report from WDIV-TV in Detroit that the Lions are engaged in trade talks regarding quarterback Matthew Stafford likely comes from the pre-pre-pre-free agency efforts of agents who represent other quarterbacks to line up deals for their own clients by scaring away other agents who represent other quarterbacks from potential landing spots.

By, for example, spreading the word that a team like the Chargers or Colts or Buccaneers will be trading for Stafford, the agent can then (in theory) work on getting a deal done for his or her own client with one of those teams while other agents may steer clear.

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It goes like this: Agent John Doe wants to get his client Joe Turdball (a potential future Hall of Famer, as discussed in a recent edition of PFT Live) signed by the Buccaneers. Other agents representing Turdball’s peers want their own clients to be signed by the Buccaneers. If John Doe can make those other agents think that the Buccaneers may trade for Matthew Stafford, the other agents may waver just enough to allow a preliminary deal to get done between the Bucs and Mr. Turdball.

It’s an incredibly low-tech approach, and it likely won’t do much to get agents to double-clutch. But that’s what agents are doing, we’re told, as an unprecedented number of quarterbacks become available in free agency or otherwise.

To be clear, I’m not reporting that Bernie Smilovitz of WDIV-TV fell victim to this dynamic. But I am reporting that the Lions definitely aren’t engaged in trade talks regarding Stafford, that agents definitely are stirring up rumors like this (Tom Brady is the other major pawn in this process), and that it doesn’t take a tremendous amount of brain power to connect the dots.

And the broader point continues to be this: Agents and teams are going to be working hard to know well before free agency begins where quarterbacks are going to be. The tampering in this regard won’t become rampant. It already is.

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