Detroit Lions Should Offer No Contract Extensions Until We Win!

Oct 2, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) in the first quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 2, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) in the first quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports /

Detroit Lions General Manager Bob Quinn is off to a blazing start in free agency.  He not been afraid to spend cap space on the right player nor throw his hat into the ring for some of the big names free agents.. He also hasn’t been afraid to let big name players go whose skill set and salary do not fit the plan for the future.

One such move was the release DeAndre Levy. The oft injured linebacker was assigned to the June 1st cut list, a move that saved the Lions about $5.8 millions dollars in cap space. Quinn has also been economical in adding depth to defensive line by pursuing mid-tier-low cost options.  Moves clearly designed to pursue cap space.

But for what?

Is the Detroit Lions General Manager conserving cap space in order to extend Matt Stafford? Is he reserving space for Ziggy Ansah or is he planning to make some more moves during free agency?

Win Now, Extend Later

The Detroit Lions were the hottest team in football last season before Matt Stafford injured his finger.  The win streak infected Detroit with Lions fever and apparently it spread throughout the NFL.  Free Agents have noticed the positive football energy emanating from Detroit as the Lions have been getting attention from big name free agents this off-season.

So why should the Detroit Lions offer extensions to players under contract when they have the opportunity to sign talent that can help the team win now?

Matt Stafford and Ziggy Ansah are both in the final years of their contracts.  Both are extremely talented, both have a little more to prove.  Stafford went along way to answering critics in 2016 but still has to prove he can win in the playoffs. Ansah had a strong finish but still needs to add consistency to his game before getting paid like an elite edge rusher. Although it is true that the Lion’s might save some future cap space by extending them now, the opportunity presented by this off-season’s free agent and draft classes is too big to pass up.

Fans in Detroit need to stop being afraid to let talented players leave town if timing or money dictate a change of direction.  The Detroit Lions organization needs to stop paying players for future performance and instead pay them for what currently offer the team.

Let Next Season Play Out

There is not doubt the Lions would have been losing team without Matthew Stafford last season. That said there is no crime in letting him play out his contract to see if he has the ability to lead his team deep into the playoffs. Especially since the Lions are finally in the position to fill holes and improve the entire roster without having to choose offense over defense.

If the start of this free agent season is any indication, the Detroit Lions are on the verge of putting together their most complete roster in years. They need to dedicated every last penny of the salary cap to improving 2017’s roster. The organization needs to stop worrying about paying a couple of players for what might happen in 2018.

Critical Question

Matt Stafford’s contract extension has been the subject of furious debate among Lions fans this off-season.  Obviously I tend to side with letting Stafford play out his contract to see if he can make a run in the play-offs. If you still aren’t convinced, ask yourself this question. Would you be willing to let Matt Stafford walk in 2018 in exchange for a trip to the Super Bowl in 2017? I would and I bet most fans would too.

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