I plan on doing my overview of the Lions today, but here is an article from Sporting News discussing the Lions desire to extend QB Matt Stafford. The Lions have a number of high cap priced players and Stafford is right at the top of the list with a cap hit of nearly $21 million dollars. With Joe Flacco pushing to break the bank and earn more than Drew Brees, the Lions would be wise to get Stafford under contract before the market pushed upwards for Quarterbacks.
Statistically Stafford is going to be superior to most players at the position and the fact that he is a former number one draft pick will push his value despite the fact that he has had no playoff success and has an injury history from his first two years in the NFL. While Stafford does have the benefit of playing with WR Calvin Johnson, it does seem as if he is unfairly criticized because he has a weapon most other teams only dream of having. While Johnson certainly helps we have seen many QB’s suffer despite the presence of receiver who were considered the best in the game, such as Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Smith.
While I plan on doing a value pricing model for the QB position in the near future, my gut feeling is that if Stafford gets signed prior to the Flacco contract he would push past the dollar value Eli Manning received in his first real extension a few years ago, which was worth $97.5 million a season. The Lions pushed Johnson over $16 million a year so it would make sense that the QB makes at least as much, if not more, per year as his receiver. I dont think the Lions would want to go overboard and pay him more than Peyton Manning, at least in real terms, but I think that gets thrown out the window if Flacco signs for $21 million a year.
With Flacco’s decision looming that could force the Lions to overpay for Stafford because they are in a severe cap crunch and need cap room. That could give Stafford much more power in terms of negotiating and lead to a very lucrative contract. If they do go that high I would expect a longer term deal with option type bonuses coming either in year 2 and/or year 3 in an effort to minimize the cap charges at the frontend of the contract as the Lions try to improve the team in a very competitive NFC North.
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.