Would the Broncos give up a first-round pick for Matthew Stafford?

Denver Broncos possible trade target Matthew Stafford (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Denver Broncos possible trade target Matthew Stafford (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

The Denver Broncos’ quarterback position is not yet solidified for 2021 and beyond.

Although the team could certainly decide to ultimately stay the course and give Drew Lock at least one more season to develop and prove he is capable of the improvement they believe he is, there are a lot of alternatives available in the 2021 offseason, including Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford.

Stafford’s availability was expected, but it became official as the Lions are ushering in a new era with Ray Agnew as general manager and Dan Campbell as head coach. The team and Stafford agreed to mutually part ways in the 2021 offseason, making the 32 going on 33-year-old Stafford one of the hottest commodities in the NFL right now.

So what is going to be the price to take him off their hands?

For a quarterback with just two years on his contract and going into his age 33 season, you wouldn’t think it would cost this much, but the quarterback position always has elevated value and it’s becoming clearer by the day that the Lions will get at least a first-round pick in exchange for Stafford.

Peter King has obviously got a lot of connections throughout the NFL, and in his column earlier in the week when he was speculating, he thought the Denver Broncos (among the other teams he mentioned) might give the Lions two second-round draft picks.

This is a clear shift in thinking from King which is undoubtedly based on information he’s receiving.

Although they are not the only quarterback-needy teams, the teams generally considered to be “favorites” to land Stafford include the Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots, Washington Football Team, and Indianapolis Colts.

Any of these teams could make a Stafford trade move work in terms of the salary cap, so that wouldn’t be an issue. Stafford’s cap hits for an acquiring team over the next two years are actually very palatable numbers ($20 million in 2021).

Teams have already been making calls to Detroit on Stafford. At this point, there have been no specific teams mentioned by prominent media members as the teams that have been the most aggressive but if five teams are willing to part with at least a first-round draft pick, it seems likely the Denver Broncos would be on that list.

That’s not for certain, and many would argue the Denver Broncos “are not a Matthew Stafford away from contending” but that is a lame argument.

Are the Broncos a Matthew Stafford away from contention in 2021? The reality is, nobody really knows the answer to that question. Are they going to be a Matthew Stafford away from contention within the next four or five years?

If that’s not their plan, then everyone in the organization should just pack it in.

The real dilemma here would be choosing Stafford over Drew Lock if the front office really has great faith that Lock can become a legitimate franchise quarterback.

If they pass on a guy like Stafford or anyone else available in 2021 in favor of Lock, they will have tied their names to Lock while simultaneously passing on a number of really good players who could be changing teams in the next two months.

Given the craziness of 2020 and the lack of top-end talent in the 2021 NFL Draft, the preferred option for the Denver Broncos is almost universally considered to be trading down. From the perspective of the new front office led by George Paton and the coaching staff led by Vic Fangio going into his third season with the team, the pressure to win is high.

Although playing the long game with Drew Lock is preferable to many in Broncos Country, the team may not be thinking along those same lines after evaluating tape and meeting together as a front office and coaching staff over the alternative options.

The Broncos could very well be one of the five teams willing to part with at least a first-round pick for Matthew Stafford, even if it is a coveted top-10 selection.