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Patriots reportedly inquired about Matthew Stafford before Lions traded him to Rams

Related: Blockbuster trade sees Lions and Rams exchange starting quarterbacks

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a season that saw their offense struggle to consistently move the football through the air, the New England Patriots are very much in the market for a quarterback heading into 2021. The market is projected to be a vital one, though, with free agency and the draft expected to see numerous starting caliber options become available.

Then, there is also the trade market even though two potential candidates became unavailable late on Saturday: the Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Rams exchanged starting quarterbacks Matthew Stafford and Jared Goff as part of a blockbuster deal that saw Goff and three total draft picks move from L.A. to Detroit; Stafford will lead the Rams’ offense moving forward, meanwhile.

Before the trade was finalized, however, the Patriots reportedly also inquired about Stafford’s services. As first reported by Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, New England was among six teams contacting the Lions about their now-former starting QB. The Patriots and Rams were joined by the Indianapolis Colts, Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers, Carolina Panthers and Washington Football Team.

How serious New England’s inquiry into Stafford was is not known at the time, though. Considering the price that was ultimately paid by Los Angeles, however, it would not be a surprise if the team only did its due diligence into one of the NFL’s most productive quarterbacks of the last few seasons.

Either way, the Patriots will look elsewhere to find their starting quarterback for 2021. Whether he comes via trade, free agency or the draft — or maybe even from their own ranks in the form of Cam Newton or Jarrett Stidham — remains to be seen.