According to reports, Stafford and the Lions have agreed to a five-year deal worth $76.5 million.
Here are three seasons this contract makes sense:
1. Since the day the Lion drafted Stafford with the first overall pick in 2009, they have never wavered from the belief that he’s their quarterback for the long haul. While Stafford and the Lions have made it to the playoffs just once in his first four years, he has shown flashes that he can be among the best NFL quarterbacks. He threw for 5,000-plus yards in 2011 and came up just shy of the mark last season. Ron Jaworski just ranked him as the NFL’s 16th best quarterback, but several of those 15 teams with “better” quarterbacks would no doubt trade straight up for Stafford.
2. The signing opens up salary cap space over the next two years. His cap hit would have been $20 million-plus this year and $19.3 million in 2014. The new deal will save a total of $7 million in cap space over the next two years per figures from ProFootballTalk.com. More cap space, more talent can be signed to surround the young quarterback.
3. Stafford has made it clear he doesn’t play the game to earn contracts. He plays to win. He possibly could have held out for a bigger payday, but now he’s set through 2017.