New Lions GM says drafting a QB every year is ‘good football business’ –

7 months ago Comments Off on New Lions GM says drafting a QB every year is ‘good football business’ –

The Detroit Lions have their starting quarterback locked in for 2016 and 2017 on a very large contract. Matthew Stafford is set to count against Detroit’s books for a combined $44.5 million over the next two years before hitting unrestricted free agency in 2018. He’ll turn 30 years old that offseason, young enough that he’ll still likely have five-plus years left in his career.

Still, you can expect the Lions to add at least one young quarterback to the team between now and then.

“I think it’s really good football business to acquire a young quarterback every year or every other year,” the team’s new general manager, Bob Quinn, told the Detroit Free Press. “There’s such a value in the position and nowadays in college football there’s a lot of spread offenses, which means it’s a lot different than pro football. So it takes these young quarterbacks time to develop. So if you can add a young quarterback every year or every other year to your roster, it’s good football business in my mind. So you have time to develop them, either on the practice squad or as a backup, before eventually them having to play in a game.”

The Lions have not drafted a quarterback since taking Stafford with the No. 1 overall selection back in 2009. They’ve also not acquired any quarterbacks age 25 or younger in that time, opting mostly for veterans like Shaun Hill and Dan Orlovsky to back up Stafford instead. Orlovsky, the current backup, has a contract that ends after the 2016 season, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see Detroit go after a QB some time during this month’s draft.

Quinn came to the Lions by way of the New England Patriots after working in the scouting department there for 16 seasons. The Pats drafted eight quarterbacks in that time, despite the fact that they had Drew Bledsoe and then Tom Brady as their starters. None of those QBs amounted to very much — Matt Cassel is the most accomplished of the motley crew — but they were eventually able to trade Cassel (along with linebacker Mike Vrabel) for a second-round pick as well as Ryan Mallett for a conditional sixth-round pick.

QB-needy teams love trading for other teams’ backups that have the illusion of potential, so maybe that’s going to be Detroit’s plan going forward. Taking a QB every year doesn’t leave much room on the roster for quarterbacks drafted more than two years ago, because most teams carry either two or three on their roster at a time. So it’s not exactly a foolproof plan, but neither is much of what the Lions have done over the years.

Look for the Lions to get Matthew Stafford a young backup. (USATSI)