Where did report of Matthew Stafford trade talks come from?

Mike Florio
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

Bernie Smilovitz of WDIV-TV in Detroit rocked the football-following world with his report that the Lions have been engaged in trade talks involving quarterback Matthew Stafford. So where did this one come from?

Earlier, we shared the theory regarding efforts by agents to exploit the looming quarterback chaos by floating the phony notion that the Lions are looking to trade Stafford. But the report from Smilovitz was clear: He cited not a league source generally but he specifically mentioned unnamed sources close to both Stafford and the Lions in support of the report.

Making the report even more intriguing is the fact that the story quietly has been revised to omit the reference to sources close to Stafford. (The tweet posted by the station shows the original language of the story.) Currently, the story cites only sources close to the Lions.

Making the report even more intriguing is the fact that the Lions don’t know Smilovitz. Per multiple sources, G.M. Bob Quinn and coach Matt Patricia don’t know Smilovitz at all. Likewise, he’s not a regular at team press conferences or locker-room availability. Also, he didn’t seek comment from the Lions before publishing the story.

Quinn has said that the report is “100% false!!” And while no team that is thinking about trading a player can do anything that deny such considerations, this time it’s the truth. Beyond the $32 million in dead money that would be triggered by trading Stafford, the Lions want him. He’s a top-10 quarterback, and if the Lions are going to turn things around this year, they need Stafford.

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