The media outlet that ignited the frenzy of Matthew Stafford trade rumors is doubling down.
“We stand by our story and by our sources,” a new post on Detroit’s WDIV Local 4 reads. “We are only reporting trade talks for Stafford and those talks have definitely taken place.”
The story was originally reported by the station on Wednesday evening, with claims that sources close to both parties told him the Lions have been actively shopping 32-year-old Stafford. Those discussions “have been underway for a couple weeks.”
Lions general manager Bob Quinn vehemently refuted the report.
“100% False!!” Quinn wrote in a text to the Detroit Free Press.
The media outlet’s defense takes a Kafkaesque turn, citing a series of Instagram stories posted by Kelly Stafford, wife of Matthew Stafford, that predated their report.
“We find tremendous validity in what we are reporting because of what Kelly Stafford posted on Instagram,” the post on WDIV Local 4 reads. “Before our report was made, she posted that if Detroit was done with her husband, then they would like to go to the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chargers need a quarterback after Philip Rivers left.”
Kelly Stafford posted two screenshots of a FanDuel article titled, “3 Most Likely Trade Destinations for Matthew Stafford If the Lions Draft a QB.” The article lists potential landing spots for the Pro Bowl quarterback with the text, “Well if detroit is done with us…” and “I could stay in Cali…” overlaid. The second screenshot listed the Los Angeles Chargers as the top trade destination, which is close to one of the Staffords’ properties in Newport Coast.
“The fact that Kelly posted that before our report tells us things were going behind the scenes, and our sources later confirmed it,” WDIV said.
After a 3-12-1 finish, the Lions have the No. 3 overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft and could consider drafting a quarterback as an insurance policy in light of Stafford’s injury history, but the scenario in which the Lions deal him seems unlikely. A recent contract restructuring means trading or cutting Stafford would incur a $32 million dead cap hit, according to Spotrac. The cap hit is $21.3 million if he remains on the roster.
The former No. 1 overall pick from Georgia has spent all 11 of his NFL seasons with the Lions. He started eight games in 2019, throwing for 2,499 yards and 18 touchdowns, before suffering a thoracic fracture against the Raiders in November. He missed the remainder of the season, ending a 136-game streak of regular-season starts.
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