No losers in Matthew Stafford's contract extension with Detroit Lions

Jeff Seidel
Detroit Free Press
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Aug 13, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford in the tunnel before an exhibition against the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn just won the summer.

Quinn did what he had to do, when he had to do it, signing quarterback Matthew Stafford to a five-year contract extension that will keep him in Detroit through the 2022 season.

And even though the terms might seem astronomical, and they are crazy numbers compared to real life, this deal is actually reasonable for both sides.

Stafford wins by becoming the highest-paid player in NFL history, averaging $27 million a year, and Stafford will keep that title until, well, the next quarterback comes along.

Meanwhile, the Lions win by getting this done now, before having to use the franchise tag, while locking up a top-10 quarterback for the next five years.

Critics will say Stafford does not deserve this much money because he has not guided this team to, well, anything.

That this is eating up too much of the salary cap.

That he is not one of the best quarterbacks in the game.

That he has never won a playoff game.

And all of those things are true.

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But try winning in the NFL without a quarterback. Or hoping to find one in the draft. Or trying to lure one in free agency.

The only question that matters is this: What does the market dictate? And this is a fair market value when you consider Derek Carr got a $125 million, five-year contract with the Oakland Raiders.

When it’s all said and done, this contract will look reasonable in a few years, when all the rest of the quarterbacks get paid.

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford throws a pass during the first half against the Jets, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017 in Detroit.

The best part is, Stafford is just 29 years old and is in the prime of his career. He is the face of this franchise and everything revolves around him. Everything is already built around him. He has averaged 278 passing yards in his career, the most over a player's first eight seasons in NFL history, according to ESPN Stats.
Last season, before injuring his middle finger, Stafford was outstanding. And there is reason to think he could be even better in the future, if running backs Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick can stay healthy.

Still, that money.

It's a jaw-dropping number. And I get it that Lions fans are frustrated.

The man who has thrown for more than 30,000 yards has already earned $110,778,969 from the Lions, according to

But that is just a reflection of the luck when he was born.

If nothing else, Stafford has an unbelievable sense of timing. When he was taken with the top overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft, Stafford picked up a six-year, $72 million deal.

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford runs onto the field for practice in Allen Park on Tuesday, August 1, 2017.

That was signed before the 2011 collective bargaining agreement that created a rookie wage scale. 

Then, he signed a three-year, $53 million extension.

And now this.

In all likelihood, there will be another contract after this one.

For now, give credit to Quinn for getting this done. He continues to make solid decisions.

He has tried to rebuild the offensive line. Created some depth. And now, he has locked up his quarterback.

And finally, give credit to Stafford. He could have held out for more money, forcing the franchise tag. But he didn’t. Clearly, he wants to be in Detroit.

It was a win for both sides.

The right deal, at the right time.

Even if it is a ridiculous amount of money.

Contact Jeff Seidel: Follow him on Twitter@seideljeff. To read his recent columns, go our Lions Xtra app for free onApple andAndroid!


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