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Stafford deal done; Lions will make him No. 1 pick

The Lions finalized a contract with quarterback Matt Stafford late Friday and will draft the Georgia quarterback with the No. 1 pick, team sources said.

The two sides had been working on a deal for several days after the Lions decided to rebuild their team around the junior signal caller.

Neither Stafford, his agent Tom Condon nor Lions general manager Martin Mayhew returned phone calls or e-mails Friday, but Stafford told earlier in the day he wanted to play for Detroit.

“We've had some good talks, some good visits and sessions, and I would feel very comfortable there and believe I could become a part of growing something special,” Stafford said. “I wouldn't feel lost there at all.”

Terms of the deal weren't immediately known and it wasn't clear if Stafford would sign a contract before the draft begins around 4 p.m. today. Regardless, the Lions intend to make Stafford just the fourth quarterback they've drafted in the first round in the last 40 years.

Update: The deal is agreed to, but has not been signed. Regardless, Stafford will be the No. 1 pick sometime tomorrow.

Update II: First the deal is for six years. Second, I just got a text message from Stafford: "I'm unbelievably excited and truly blessed," the message read. "Thanks so much."

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

hallelujah. way to stay on top of it dave. you can go to bed now.


11:02 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

still not sure how I feel about the pick....I will get behind it....let's just hope we get some great D picks and try to get the O line where it needs to be....

11:02 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well ... its been decided ... time to get on board.

Hear's hoping Stafford is the "real deal" and that Mayhew is a hell of a lot better at drafting talent then Millen was.

11:11 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

glazer is reporting that the lions were negotiating with stafford and smith....curry wasn't mentioned.

god i'm so happy this is finally over and done with.

11:12 PM 
Blogger spacecataz said...

Thanks, Birk. Your post on the mlive forums tipped me off on this. You've been on top of the Stafford stuff.

11:19 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So glad all that leverage was put to good use...with his insane contract...nice job Mayhew..pfft

11:20 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I must commend you Dave on your reporting and's great to see someone on top of what they cover and to do at all hours of the night....and do it as well and as insightful as you....THANK YOU!!!

11:23 PM 
Anonymous dan sullivan said...

Great job, Dave, for helping get Stafford signed!!! Thanks!

11:25 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

space -

unless i missed something, i don't think dave posts on the mlive forums.

11:28 PM 
Blogger Dave Birkett said...

I don't post on MLive, but I've seen the impostor. I try and read what everyone has to say over there. It's a good board, very active, lots of fans. But I stay away from Killer's territory.

As for the pick - I always throw the disclaimer in there that I am not a scout and don't pretend to be a talent evaluator - I adhere to the philosophy that QB is the biggest predictor of success in the NFL. The best teams have the best QBs. I understand why a lot of people wouldn't trust this front office to identify that talent and there are some viable concerns about Stafford, but they obviously identified him as a guy who has what they're looking for under center. With that being case, I say this is the right pick. I don't think this is a case of taking a QB just to draft a QB.

That said, they do have huge needs at OL and LB, especially, and need a few players beyond that on D. They won't be contenders, no matter how good Stafford is or isn't, until they address those, too.

12:07 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave, thanks for staying on top of this and breaking this so quickly. I no longer live in the D, but must keep up with my Lions news. I will be checking in here first from now on, because obviously you take your job seriously and you get the scoops first...and it was kinda cool to hear that Matty sent you a text after the news broke!

1:22 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

karma will shine on stafford and the lions soon.

somewhere, layne is looking down smiling on us.

welcome matt, go lions

1:27 AM 
Blogger Dave Birkett said...

To be clear, I texted Stafford looking for a comment and he responded. Figured that was the best way to reach him if he was out celebrating and since I was unable to get him by phone earlier. I'm sure he'll do a teleconference later today at the very least and a press conference tomorrow (or tonight after he's done in NY, but to get their full $41 mil's worth they might as well spread it out for a few days).

8:15 AM 
Blogger Big D said...

I know many are unhappy with this pick, but truthfully it will probably be two - three years before they turn this roster around and hopefully start winning games on a consistent basis. The knee-jerk reactions coming off of 0-16 may tempt some for instant gratifications. Paying a linebacker that much money doesn't make sense especially with the money tied up in Peterson and Sims... Some arguments are that the Lion's offense is not that "bad".... OK, how many games last year could have been on if we would have made a one or two first downs at the end of the 4th quarter... Offense and defense play off of each other..
We all need to give this kid a chance..let's not "boo" and disparage at the first sign of difficulties

8:29 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Dave. You're the only guy in town who talked to Stafford. How the heck did you do that? Did you get the jump on your competition all the way on this?

10:21 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dave is the man, plain and simple. dude knows how to befriend anyone. god i wish i was stafford right now. hopefully he pans out.

i agree with big NOT boo him unmercifully at the first sign of trouble you vultures.

11:04 AM 

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