Lions, Matthew Stafford agree to $135M extension

The Lions were never very concerned about their ability to keep franchise quarterback , comfortably stating their confidence in getting a deal done over the summer while admitting it might take the combination to the bank vault to do it.

Lions, Matthew Stafford agree to $135M extension

On Monday, they started gathering the money bags.

Detroit and Stafford agreed to terms on a five-year contract, the team announced Monday evening. The deal is worth $135 million with $92 million in guarantees, making Stafford the highest-paid player in the league, Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per a source informed of the deal. The $27 million-per-year average surpasses a deal signed earlier this summer by Raiders quarterback , which pays the Oakland passer an annual average of $25 million.

It also opens up the possibilities for future larger paydays for the league’s other upper-echelon passers, such as and , among others. It’s only a matter of time before we end up seeing a $30 million per year quarterback in the NFL.

Detroit, meanwhile, hands out its second key contract extension of the offseason, though the deal given to safety Glover Quin (two years, $13 million) pales in comparison. While we don’t yet know the breakdown of the contract, Stafford’s existing cap number of $22 million will undoubtedly rise come 2018.

Detroit Lions Jersey

More importantly, though, is Detroit securing the 29-year-old Stafford before the start of the season, eliminating uncertainty and pressure that might have been on the quarterback to produce a career season. The biggest remaining key to Detroit’s success in the short and long term is staying healthy, which hasn’t worked out so well on both sides of the ball. Effectively replacing Taylor Decker (Greg Robinson has been a mixed bag so far) and protecting the $135 million man will go a long way for a Lions team that has weapons offensively — Golden Tate, , Eric Ebron, Theo Riddick and the potential of Ameer Abdullah and Kenny Golladay — and has a reliable, strong-armed quarterback under center who has flourished under offensive coordinator .

Since entering the NFL as the first overall pick in 2009, Stafford has earned three lucrative multi-year pacts with the Detroit Lions. He cashed in after the draft, signing a five-year, $72 million contract that pre-dated the fiscally restrictive rookie wage scale by two years. (Hooray for timing!) He signed a three-year, $53 million extension in 2013 that paid him like a borderline superstar he hadn’t yet become.

On Tuesday, he inked a five-year, $135 million extension that gives him both the highest average annual salary and the highest total contract among quarterbacks. If you haven’t been paying attention to the financial realities of the quarterback position in recent years, this was probably shocking. But it really shouldn’t be. Teach your children to be strong-armed and proficient field generals and you needn’t worry about the uncertain fate of social security.

As expected, the Stafford hot takes are coming at a fast and furious pace today. To help put Stafford’s career in perspective, we connected with our friends at the NFL Media Research Department to look at the good, bad and ugly of Detroit’s financially pliable franchise passer.

For sale


“I’m not a soothsayer. I’m not a prognosticator,” Caldwell said, via ESPN.com. “… I can’t tell the future. I can’t predict that. But I feel good about it. But anything can happen these days. You just don’t know.”

After the Lions lost for the season with a torn ACL a few weeks back, concern regarding their pass rush reached a critical level. Hyder had a team-high eight sacks a year ago, 3.5 more than Devin Taylor, who now plays for the New York Giants. Their search for a productive pass rusher may have to intensify during cut-down day when each team trims their roster from 90 down to 53. A few able bodied veterans could be on the chopping block and ripe for the picking.

The Lions have survived without a fearsome pass rush. Last year’s near-miracle playoff season featured just two sacks over 13 games from Ansah. Detroit was tied for second to last in sacks with the Cleveland Browns (26) and allowed the highest passer rating in football (106.5) over 16 games.

Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin has been tasked with remaking the identity of this pass rush post-Ndamukong Suh — a nearly impossible task for a defense that operated a certain way for so long. Developing Ansah was his best hope, and while that has not gone according to plan at times, having him on the field for a contract year certainly can’t hurt.

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