The Detroit Lions and Matthew Stafford have agreed to a five-year contract extension worth a whopping $135M, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. That makes Stafford, who spent much of the offseason deflecting questions about negotiations, the highest paid player in NFL history.
With paydays looming for the likes of Kirk Cousins and Matt Ryan, he likely won’t hold that title for long. Nevertheless, it’s safe to say that Stafford, who recently became a father, won’t be hurting for diaper money anytime soon.
The 29-year-old quarterback is coming off a season in which he finished as a top 10 quarterback in most major statistical categories. He also posted his lowest interception percentage of any full season in his professional career.
Stafford has been a polarizing figure since being taken first overall by the team in 2009, and the move will surely receive mixed reviews from the Detroit fanbase. General manager Bob Quinn asserted that Stafford would be the team’s quarterback when he first took the job in 2015, and Quinn has now made certain that the Georgia product will remain a Lion through the 2022 season.
Stafford won’t be able to test free agency again until he’s 34, which means that he could still earn another deal with the team before his brand-new extension runs out. The fastest quarterback to reach 30,000 passing yards, Stafford has been maligned by critics for a perceived inability to win meaningful games.
Fans don’t write the checks though, and Quinn clearly intends to build around the quarterback through 2017 and beyond. It’s also worth noting that Stafford takes up a smaller percentage of cap space (16.1%) than Joe Flacco did when he signed his big deal in 2013 (16.7%).
Now that the Lions brass has gotten the Stafford contract monkey off their back, they can turn their sights to the postseason once more. Management obviously believes he can help deliver the franchise its first postseason victory since 1991. Hopefully, that comes sooner rather than later.
May the ensuing Lions dynasty last longer than Derek Carr’s time as the highest paid player in the NFL.