Despite two years remaining on the rookie contract he signed with the Detroit Lions, the Matthew Stafford contract watch seemed to be on all offseason. That officially came to an end with yesterday’s news that Stafford and the Lions had reached an agreement on a three-year extension.
A deal earlier in the offseason would have allowed the Lions to enter the free agency period with more room under the cap. However, there wasn’t any reason for Stafford to rush a deal and the Lions still got their targets on the free agent market, primarily in Reggie Bush and Glover Quin as well as the re-signing of Chris Houston.
Stafford just wasn’t concerned with the drama of a new deal and said as much when the media got a chance to question him about it in April. Perhaps you recall this quote from back in April:
“I want talent around me,” Stafford said. “There’s opportunity everywhere in the league; you see guys breaking records with how much (money) they are making. You want fair market value, but I don’t care about breaking records so much.
“I want to break records on the field. I want to win games, and I want as many good players around me as I possibly can.”
The deal adds three years and $53 million to the two years remaining on Stafford’s original deal and while those are big numbers, they are certainly not record setting numbers – neither in terms of total dollars or average annual salary.
In doing this deal, Stafford proves to be a man of his word rather than a professional athlete simply giving the politically correct answer.
But that’s not to say Stafford won’t have an opportunity for a truly mega deal down the road. If he turns out to be the elite quarterback many think he can be, Stafford will be in good shape as he seeks his third NFL contract before his 30th birthday.