Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford: New contract 'not up to me'
Quarterback Matthew Stafford said he has not opened talks on a new contract with the Detroit Lions, and he declined to say whether he hopes to sign an extension this off-season.
"I’m not going to deal with hypotheticals, man," Stafford said as the Lions cleaned out their lockers today. "If they come to me, they come to me. If they don’t, they don’t. I’ll talk to you guys about it then."
Stafford has one season left on the contract he signed in 2013 and, unless the Lions can convince him to take less money for the sake of the team, is expected to land a new deal that would make him the highest-paid player in the NFL.
Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck holds that distinction, thanks to a five-year extension signed last summer that averages $24.6 million per year. Stafford's new contract could come in around $25 million annually.
Asked whether he's interested in signing an extension this summer, Stafford, who turns 29 next month, was noncommittal.
"That’s not up to me," he said. "It’s up to the people upstairs and the Fords and whether they want to or not. It’s not on the forefront of my mind at the moment. Got a lot of things going on personally that are important to me, so figure that out when I need to."
Stafford, whose wife, Kelly, is expecting twin girls in April, is coming off of one of the best seasons of his career.
He completed 65.3% of his passes, the second-highest mark of his career, with 24 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He led eight fourth-quarter comebacks among the Lions' nine wins, and was mentioned prominently as an MVP candidate before injuring the middle finger on his throwing hand late in the season.
The Lions finished the regular season 9-7 but squandered a two-game lead in the NFC North with three games to play. They lost their wild-card game to the Seattle Seahawks, 26-6, on Saturday.
“There’s going to be one happy team at the end of the year; we understand that," Stafford said. "Our season ended earlier than we wanted. Proud of the guys for the effort that we put in, but anytime you’re not winning the whole thing, it’s a disappointment."
Contact Dave Birkett: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.