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Stafford, Lions reportedly parting; 49ers expected to have interest

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Matthew Stafford, Lions

Quarterback Matthew Stafford’s time with the Detroit Lions will reportedly come to an end after 12 seasons together.

Stafford and the Lions have mutually agreed to part ways this offseason with the Lions listening to trade offers, NFL Media's Tom Pelissero and ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Saturday, citing sources.

The 49ers likely will be one of the teams with interest in acquiring Stafford, who ranks 16th in NFL history with 45,109 passing yards.

Stafford expressed a desire for a fresh start, and the Lions plan to begin discussing trade options in the coming weeks, Pelissero reported.

The Lions recently hired Brad Holmes as general manager and Dan Campbell as head coach.

Stafford is coming off a season in which he started all 16 games, and completed 64.2 percent of his pass attempts for 4,084 yards and 26 touchdowns with 10 interceptions.

Stafford, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 draft, turns 33 on Feb. 7. He has been selected to one Pro Bowl in his career.

The 49ers likely will be a team that will monitor the situation with the Lions.

Coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch gave votes of confidence in recent weeks to quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who has two years remaining on his contract with the 49ers.

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Garoppolo is scheduled to earn $25.5 million in salary and bonuses in 2021.

 

Stafford’s scheduled salary-cap figures with his expected new team would be $20 million in 2021 and $23 million in 2022.

If the 49ers were to acquire Stafford in a trade, the team could reduce the cap hit this year with a restructured contract.

In December, NBC Sports analyst Chris Simms, a close friend of Shanahan, said he believed Stafford would be a perfect fit for the 49ers’ offense.

"Him in Kyle Shanahan's offense, just to be totally real and honest about that, yeah, I think Kyle could rein him in a little bit to take away some of the mistakes,” Simms said. “That could be a very dangerous offense.”

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Garoppolo has started more than six games only once in his seven-year career. In 2019, he took every meaningful snap as the 49ers advanced to the Super Bowl.

In 2020, he was limited to just six games because of two separate high ankle sprains. Garoppolo completed 67.1 percent of his pass attempts for 1,096 yards and seven touchdowns with five interceptions.