Colts: This Matthew Stafford trade to Indy could actually work

Lions QB Matthew Stafford (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
Lions QB Matthew Stafford (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /

What would Matthew Stafford go for on the trade market? Colts, you up?

The Indianapolis Colts have several key players set to hit free agency this offseason, and while addressing their futures should be high on the priority list, nothing is more imperative than having to sort out of the quarterback situation.

As things stand, only 2020 fourth-rounder Jacob Eason is under contract for 2021. It remains to be seen what the future holds for veteran Philip Rivers, but general manager Chris Ballard told reporters last week that he’ll approach him for an answer in a month.

Until then — assuming Indy plays their plan extremely close to the vest — all fans can do is speculate and go off rumors that may or may not surface in the meantime. Speaking of which, Lions star Matthew Stafford has been mentioned as a potential trade target and he might come at a discount in light of his recent injury history.

With that in mind, let’s dive into what the Colts would potentially have to give up for Stafford, who deserves to get out of Detroit while he still can.

Stafford will only turn 33 next month, so he’s still very much in the middle of his prime. On top of that, his contract will afford Indy the luxury of being able to spend more money to further round out the roster. For context, his $27 million salary ranks as the 12th-highest (!) among all QBs. His $33 million cap hit admittedly ranks seventh in the league, but that is far from a crippling sum.

When you consider that Stafford’s performing better than some of the gunslingers ranked ahead of him in those departments (like Big Ben, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan), the Colts really shouldn’t think twice about trading for him if the opportunity presents itself.

With his top receiver injured for most of the season and working behind an atrocity of an offensive line, Stafford managed to complete 64.2% of his passes for 4,084 yards and 26 touchdowns to just 10 interceptions, equating to a 96.3 passer rating. Those numbers are elite and they could potentially skyrocket with Indianapolis, which has one of the best offensive lines in the league and dynamic playmakers both on the perimeter and coming out of the backfield.

Taking all of this into account, acquiring Stafford will probably end up costing Indy around three draft picks — let’s say one first-rounder, next year’s second, and a third. That’s a significant haul for an aging quarterback, but he arguably has three or four years of his prime remaining, is under contract through the 2022 campaign and would immediately boost the Colts’ championship odds.

If we’re being honest, Stafford is right behind Deshaun Watson on our quarterback wishlist this offseason and we seriously hope Detroit comes to their senses and shops their franchise signal caller in the name of expediting their impending rebuild.

Anything less would be nonsensical.