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Stafford's new deal reflects Rodgers' bargain

Jul. 9, 2013
 

A little more than two months after Aaron Rodgers signed his extension with the Green Bay Packers, the Detroit Lions have reportedly done the same with their own franchise quarterback, Matthew Stafford.

According to ESPN and several other national media outlets, the Lions reached an agreement on a three-year, $53 million extension with the 2009 first-overall pick that will keep him in Detroit through the 2017 season. The deal will be reportedly worth $41.5 million in guaranteed money.

In the midst of April’s NFL draft, Rodgers and Packers agreed on a five-year, $110 million deal with $54 million in guarantees and a $35 million signing bonus. According to USA Today, the $62.5 million due over the first three years of Rodgers’ deal leads the NFL and likely set the bar for Stafford’s contract and those that follow.

The structure and terms of Stafford’s deal won’t be known until its submitted to the league, but the general comparison has Rodgers’ raking in an annual average salary of $18.6 million through 2019 versus the $15.2 million Stafford stands to earn per season through 2017.

Statistically speaking, there’s hardly a comparison to this point in their careers:

Rodgers (1,752-of-2,665 for 21,661 yards, 211 touchdowns and 46 interceptions. 104.9 QB Rating)

Stafford (1,114-of-1,863 for 12,807 yards, 93 touchdowns and 54 interceptions. 82.8 QB Rating)

Both Rodgers and Stafford entered the offseason with two years left on their deals, but under entirely different pretenses as Rodgers was still working under the perimeters of the seven-year, $64.9 million deal contract he signed in November 2008.

That deal proved to be a bargain for the Packers, who have since paid roughly $45 million against their cap over the past five years for one of the NFL’s best players at a premium position.

On the other hand, Stafford has made more than $50 million over his first four NFL seasons, according to the Detroit Free-Press. Shortly after being the top pick in 2009, he signed a four-year, $78 million deal that contained a then-record $41.7 million in guaranteed money.

After two injury-riddled campaigns to start his career, Stafford showcased potential in 2011 when he threw for 5,038 yards with 41 touchdowns and 16 interceptions, but seemed to regress in 2012 (4,967 yards, 20 touchdowns and 17 interceptions).

If Stafford makes it nine years in the league, when he’ll be 30 years old, he’ll have made more than $125 million. Considering he's a career 1-22 against teams with winning records, it speaks to the length teams with legitimate starting quarterbacks are willing to go to keep things copacetic.

The Lions have since re-negotiated Stafford’s deal in each of the past two offseasons to create room in the salary cap. The byproduct of that pushed his cap numbers to $20.82 million for this upcoming season and a need to create more cap flexibility.

In the end, Rodgers has been a much better player than Stafford at an incredibly modest rate for the Packers considering the financial emphasis teams are placing on the position these days.

As for Stafford, the Lions are banking on his health, resilience and continued maturation as they look to rebound from a forgettable 4-12 campaign.

About this blog

Get Green Bay Packers updates as they happen from our reporting team: (from left) Mike Vandermause, Wes Hodkiewicz and Pete Dougherty.

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