The Detroit Lions, by most accounts, scored a huge win this offseason when they dealt Matthew Stafford for Jared Goff and a pick haul including multiple first-round selections.
There were other offers as well, however, and some surfaced in the weeks after the Lions made the trade. It was assumed many teams were offering first-round picks as well as rookie quarterbacks. One of the more intersesting potential deals was reportedly proposed by the Denver Broncos, who seemed to have Drew Lock as well as a first-round pick on the table.
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As time has gone on, though, the details of the deal have become a bit more clear. Whereas Lock was rumored to be part of the deal earlier, now, reports suggest that the Lions had to fight to have him included. According to Sports Illustrated, the Lions had an offer of the ninth-overall pick as well as a second-round pick for Stafford.
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) April 12, 2021
According to NFL insider Benjamin Allbright, the Lions didn’t bite and actually may have tried to get the Broncos to cough up Lock, but the team rejected that, and thus the potential for a deal was dead.
As we reported on BCT at the time…
Deal did not include Lock. Lions counter included Lock. Broncos didn’t bite. https://t.co/oeDGoW0eyY
— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) April 12, 2021
Eventually, the Lions negotiated a deal for Goff and a pair of first-round picks as well as a third-round pick, and the rest is history. It’s clear the Lions wanted to get a quarterback in the mix as part of the deal, and considering what they were giving up, that was good business.
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Broncos Analyst Believed Denver Offered Best Deal
Every city and team with a need at quarterback believed their club should’ve been the one to land Stafford. Before the trade played out a few months back, Mike Klis of 9 News in Denver made that case for the Broncos, suggesting Denver should’ve been in play for the Pro Bowler thanks to the presence of the “league’s top trade-market commodity” in Drew Lock.
In a January 28 piece, Klis suggested that the Lions should have looked to the Broncos as a trade partner with a deal centered around Lock, who could give them the young quarterback with the experience they may crave, plus picks. As Klis maintained, no other suitor the Lions could trade with could offer such a deal.
But consider the viewpoint of the Lions, who have already announced they will trade Stafford, their starting QB of the past 12 seasons. If you’re only other QBs are career backup Chase Daniel and David Blough, do you want to work a trade with the Indianapolis Colts, who don’t have a QB to swap after Philip Rivers just retired and veteran backup Jacoby Brissett is about to hit free agency, or the Broncos, who probably have the best young QB in Lock among all the teams who may be in the Stafford market?
Most of the trade speculation involving Stafford has the Lions asking for a first-round draft pick. But they are not expected to get a first-round pick better than the No. 7 overall selection they already have. At No. 7, the Lions figure to get the third or fourth-best QB in the draft. Would Zach Wilson, Justin Fields or North Dakota State’s Trey Lance be ready to start Game 1 of the 2021 season? No way. Only Trevor Lawrence in this year’s draft class is worthy of an opening-day start.
Of all the teams the Lions can dance with, it’s easy to assume Denver would be among their most preferred partners.
As hindsight shows now, it’s possible that Lock wasn’t even a part of the deal as much as many assumed he would be or should be. In that case, it’s not a surprise that the Broncos weren’t major players for Stafford in the end given their unwillingness to include Lock.
Lions Turned Down Multiple Trade Packages for Stafford
With as many as seven teams interested, the Lions had plenty of big offers to sort through shortly after announcing the 32-year-old veteran was on the trade block on January 23.
Rumors have held that the Carolina Panthers were close by offering up the eighth overall pick in April’s NFL Draft, but it’s possible Denver may have been a bit closer given Lock’s potential presence in the deal.
Still, nabbing three picks in the first three rounds of the next two drafts, including a pair of first-rounders, is big for Detroit’s rebuild in the years ahead. That’s true whether or not Goff works out at quarterback in the short-term.
Detroit seems to have received the best deal they could, and the rest is history.
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