A Detroit Lion is the NFL’s highest paid player.
Matthew Stafford broke the bank and he and the Lions have agreed to a 5-year contract extension. The official numbers have not come out yet but early reports are that it’s in the $27 million range with a total valuation of $135 million. This puts Stafford past Raiders QB Derek Carr who was paid earlier this year.
Quinn, Stafford, and the Lions brass have refused to comment publicly on the contract talks other than saying that talks are ongoing. Quinn was quoted saying that he expected a deal to be done by the start of the season, and he kept his word.
I’m really happy to see the Lions just pay Stafford now rather than play the franchise tag game. The longer Detroit waited the more money he would cost, and it would open up a possibility of the talks becoming toxic. Even though he hasn’t won a playoff game, I don’t think that’s a reasonable reason not to pay him. Stafford inherited the worst team of all time as a rookie and has brought them to the playoffs 3 times with 2 different coaches and 3 different offensive coordinators. With Jim Bob Cooter Stafford was a legitimate MVP candidate in 2016 until his finger injury last year. With the departure of Calvin Johnson, Stafford has also cemented himself as the vocal and emotional leader of the offense.
With this contract Stafford will be under the most pressure he has ever been under in his NFL career. As the NFL’s highest paid, he needs to perform like the best player in the NFL. I don’t think this reality will be lost on Stafford and I fully expect to see 2016 Stafford 2.0 in 2017.
One last quick note, Stafford decided a great time to be born. He entered the NFL in one of the last seasons when high draft picks didn’t have a cap on their salary. This is now his third big money contract. His wife and new twin daughters will be eating good for a while.