Mitch Albom: Matthew Stafford leaving Detroit Lions was inevitable, but still depressing

Matthew Stafford is the best player the Detroit Lions have. And the most dedicated. So when your best and most dedicated player comes to and you and suggests maybe parting company would be the best thing, you ought to be worried about your team.

So much for the happy glow the Lions front office put out last week. It turns out they knew all the time that Stafford had pretty much had enough. If we are to believe the reports, the 32-year-old quarterback approached them after the season and said he’d be open to going elsewhere. Supposedly, the Lions brass has agreed.

Which means the first task facing the nascent duo of Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell — neither of whom have ever made an NFL trade on their own — will be trying to find fair value for their most important player.

Good luck.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford, who turns 33 in February, was the Lions' No. 1 overall pick out of Georgia in 2009.

This is bad news on many fronts. First of all, with the story now out there, teams know the Lions are seeking to trade Stafford, and maybe even have to. So much for leverage. Plus, these days starting quarterbacks tend to fetch draft picks, and even if the Lions get a first rounder, unless it’s Jacksonville’s No. 1 pick and they take Trevor Lawrence, everything else is a crap shoot.

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