Earlier this year, the Detroit Lions made quarterback Matthew Stafford the highest paid player in NFL history. After this season, was he worth it?
Now that the season is all-but over for the Detroit Lions, it’s time to start analyzing the last 16 weeks. One of the most buzzed about scenarios indefinitely will be about Matthew Stafford‘s huge contract he signed prior to the beginning of the 2017 season.
While most of us Motor City fans were ecstatic that general manager Bob Quinn was able to lock in Lions starting quarterback for several years to come, others were not so enthusiastic about all the money Quinn threw at Stafford. So the big question is, after another failing season, was he worth all that money?
Short answer is yes.
Here is where Stafford ranks among 2017 NFL quarterbacks thru Week 16.
Passing Yards (4th)
QB rating (6th)
Passing Yards/Attempts (3rd)
Passing Touchdowns (5th)
Deep ball QB rating (1st)
Keep in mind Detroit’s quarterback made that happen with virtually no running game and an offensive line filled with second and third string players for most of the season.
I’ll give you an example. Look at teams like the Houston Texans or the New York Jets and the struggles they’ve had with finding a quarterback that could even be considered “average” let alone a franchise quarterback. It’s comforting to know that the Lions will be secure in that aspect of the game for years to come.
This also gives Quinn time to draft young quarterbacks that the team can vet and groom to eventually take the reins, similar to the way the Packers went from Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers.
Also, as we begin to speculate on the future of this Detroit team and who will [hopefully] takeover head coaching duties, having a quarterback of Stafford’s caliber definitely makes Detroit a very attractive position for potential head coaching candidates. And that’s a major plus seeing as how there looks to be a number of NFL teams in search of a new coach this offseason.
It is disappointing that we had to sit through yet another mediocre season and it’s common practice to want to look for someone to blame for the teams continued failures. I’m with you, I feel the same way.
Stafford is an easy target because he is the highest paid player in the league and as quarterback, he is the leader of the team. But he can only do so much. I mean, do we expect him to go out tackling guys and breaking up passes? Should he lower his shoulders and run between the tackles? Because he had no running game whatsoever all year.
Imagine what he could do if he had the offensive line that quarterback Dak Prescott has in Dallas, with a weapon like running back Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield. Stafford would absolutely dominate.
Stafford deserves every penny that he was paid this season, he also deserves a competent head coach that has his team prepared for the team their facing each week. An offensive coordinator that doesn’t waste downs every series with predictable play-calls. And most important of all, #9 deserves an offensive line that protects him instead of being the revolving doors that they were all season, allowing him to be the most sacked QB in the NFL.
It’s time our fan base appreciated Stafford for what he brings to our team instead of taking shots at his playoff record, or how much money he’s making. And let’s be honest, he won’t be the highest paid player in the NFL for much longer. The contracts will only get bigger. That’s just the way it is.
My hope is that Bob Quinn can put the right pieces in place and fill in the holes to allow Matthew Stafford to showcase his full potential. He is an elite quarterback, anybody that disagrees has clearly never watched him play or took into account all the hoops he’s had to jump through in Detroit. I don’t want to see the Lions don’t waste away another exceptionally talented player, he deserves better than that. In Stafford we trust.