Report: Matthew Stafford didn’t want to get traded to the Patriots

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Henry McKenna
·2 min read
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The New England Patriots were never in the mix for quarterback Matthew Stafford, according to NBC Sports Boston’s Tom Curran. The Detroit Lions agreed to terms on a trade sending Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for quarterback Jared Goff, two first-round picks (2022, 2023) and a third-round pick (2021).

Though New England seemed like a likely suitor, with draft assets to coax Detroit and cap space to give Stafford a raise, Stafford nixed the idea of joining the Patriots. He simply wasn’t interested in joining Bill Belichick and company for the 2021 season.

Here’s what Curran wrote on NBC Sports Boston:

“And now, for a localized aftershock: Stafford told the Lions they could send him anywhere but New England. This comes from a source whose team was heavily involved in Stafford trade negotiations but failed to land him. Stafford, of course, is a Ram after Los Angeles sent a huge haul to Detroit for the one-time Pro Bowler.”

Why?

Well, Stafford didn’t click with former Lions coach Matt Patricia, who deployed Belichick’s stern and hardworking philosophies, often called The Patriot Way. Perhaps because Patrcia failed to stray philosophically from the Patriots, he ended up back with them. They hired him on staff this offseason after the Lions fired him. Again, that might have been a deterrent for Stafford. Finally, Stafford could have looked at New England’s roster and seen a group of pass-catchers devoid of talent. The Patriots have cap space and draft picks to add players this offseason — but it’s unclear who they add and how aggressively they’ll target talent at receiver and tight end.

Stafford would have been a nice replacement for Cam Newton, who struggled to replace quarterback Tom Brady in 2020. The Patriots should have a number of avenues to acquire a quarterback this offseason, but few seem as solid as Stafford, whose talent is unquestionable. His lack of recent statistical success seems to be largely a product of the Lions’ poor leadership. Stafford’s lack of playoff success (0-3) is likely due to those same problems. So it’s reasonable to think that the 33-year-old is actually the type of buy-low player that Belichick loves to acquire and reinvigorate.

Alas, it wasn’t meant to be.