The Lions would like to re-sign UFA QBs Shaun Hill and Drew Stanton, thus preserving their strong depth behind starter Matthew Stafford. In an interview with PFW Thursday, Stanton said the Lions have indicated to him they want to keep the quarterback roster as is.
Whether the Lions accomplish that goal comes down to the opportunities available to both reserves. Hill, who is one of the NFL's top backups, has 26 career starts, while Stanton, who has an uncommonly strong résumé for a No. 3 quarterback, would like to be a top backup, whether in Detroit in a QB room he is fond of, or elsewhere.
"It's tough to survive over a long haul as a third guy in this league," said Stanton, who turns 28 in May.
A 2007 second-round pick of Detroit, Stanton did not play a single regular-season snap last season as the Lions' third quarterback. He has four career starts, three coming in 2010. Detroit won two of those three games, including a road victory at Tampa Bay that snapped the Lions' NFL-record 26-game road losing streak.
Stanton believes he can appeal to clubs of all kinds.
"I feel like I have a unique situation where I still have room to grow and learn stuff from the upper-echelon guys in this league that have established themselves ... like a Dallas, or something of that nature," he said. "Tony Romo has kind of ingrained himself as the starter, and it would be a great opportunity."
"Then you look at something like Tampa Bay, or New York, where I have more experience than those younger guys and (can) kind of maybe help them along, show them the ropes a little bit," Stanton said, referring to the Buccaneers' Josh Freeman and the Jets' Mark Sanchez. "It's that fine line, but I think I can play both sides of the fence, which is exciting for me in looking at different teams that need something like that."
The Cowboys, Buccaneers and Jets, perhaps not coincidentally, could all be looking for backup quarterbacks. And should Hill leave, the Lions have indicated that "they would have no problem with me being the backup as well," Stanton said.