Likely to become the NFL’s highest paid player soon, where does Detroit Lions’ quarterback Matthew Stafford rank among the league’s top quarterbacks?
It’s been eight years since the Detroit Lions used the top pick in the 2009 NFL Draft to select Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford. And since that time, Stafford has earned just one Pro Bowl bid (2014) and has posted zero playoff wins. Yet the 29-year old is still considered by many to be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.
Last season, Stafford ranked sixth in the league in passing yards (4,327), 13th in yards per attempt (7.29), 10th in completion percentage (65.3), 14th in passing touchdowns (24), 13th in quarterback rating (93.3) and eighth in total QBR (70.5).
The eight-year veteran led the Lions to a 9-7 record in 2016 and to their second playoff bid in three seasons. But a finger injury he sustained is most blamed for Detroit’s decline at the end of last year, which resulted in four straight losses including a 26-6 postseason defeat at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks.
In the final season of a five-year, $76.5 million deal that was signed back in 2013, Stafford will likely become the highest paid player in the NFL soon. His assumed upcoming contract extension is expected to eclipse the six-year, $126 million deal just signed by Oakland Raiders’ quarterback David Carr in June.
With a huge payday in his future, where does Stafford rank among the league’s elite quarterbacks? According to one writer, he’s in the top ten.
"“[Stafford’s] put up over 30,000 passing yards and seems like he’s been playing forever, but he doesn’t have a playoff win yet,” wrote Jason McIntyre for TheBigLead.com. “Tough to figure out the Lions – they lose Calvin Johnson and the offense gets better? Stafford threw a career-low 10 interceptions and engineered a league-high eight 4th quarter comebacks.”"
McIntyre ranked Stafford the 10th best quarterback in the NFL. He was placed behind the Tennessee Titans’ Marcus Mariota (7th), the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger (8th) and Oakland’s Carr (9th) on the list. And Stafford was ranked higher than names like the Washington Redskins’ Kirk Cousins (11th), the New York Giants Eli Manning (12th) and the Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton (13th).
It’s clear that Matthew Stafford is the key to any future success in the Motor City. And keeping him in-house is paramount for the Detroit Lions. With a very talented group around him, including an upgraded offensive line that added free agent guard T.J. Lang and tackle Ricky Wagner in the offseason, the 29-year old gunslinger has the supporting cast he needs to find postseason success.