Stafford deal has to happen
Still nothing to report in the way of a done deal on the Matt Stafford front, but a league source I traded e-mails with this morning said it's got to happen and the Lions will face a PR nightmare if it doesn't.
The truth is, now that it's become crystal clear both sides want a deal, both parties risk disaster if they don't come to an agreement. From the Lions' standpoint, most fans would be happy in the moment because, according to reports from Booth Newspapers and ProFootballTalk.com, they'd get their No. 1 choice in linebacker Aaron Curry. But imagine if Stafford went on to have a Hall-of-Fame career with the Rams or Redskins, the Lions would have passed on their John Elway for a few measly bucks, not because they didn't want him.
Beyond that, Yahoo reported that new Lions coach Jim Schwartz has been the biggest champion of Stafford as the No. 1 pick, even convincing general manager Martin Mayhew and president Tom Lewand that was the way to go. I don't think failing to land Stafford would harm that coach-GM relationship interminably, but it would hang over their heads (and presumably be in the back of their minds) when things eventually go sour, as they always do.
From Stafford's standpoint, any public-relations haze would be much easier to overcome. Ask Elway, who got his way out of Baltimore years ago and is one of the most beloved figures in Denver sports history. Still, in this wretched economy, Stafford would be vilified for his contract stance (his agent's actually, but you get my point) and if slid out of the top five I wouldn't expect it to happen, but who knows he stands to risk a lot of money and prestige.
Stafford is no slam dunk as a prospect, though in Detroit he's going to a system and situation (where presumably he'll sit for a period behind Daunte Culpepper, unless he's clearly better) that gives him the best chance to succeed. That's why it's just a matter of time before this deal gets done.