Posted on June 21, 2017, by Travis Pulver
The Detroit Lions front office would appear to have somewhat of a dilemma on their hands. They have a quarterback, Matthew Stafford, who has played well for them over the years. They have paid him handsomely in the process. But they haven’t gotten much in return.
During his tenure, they have yet to win a playoff game and have only made three. So, how much do you pay a guy that hasn’t really accomplished anything?
The rumor mill has had the Lions prepared to make Stafford the highest paid player in the NFL—which would mean paying him somewhere in the range of $25 million a season. His stats are certainly worthy even if the overall results (lack of wins) have not been.
It appears that the Lions are good with making it happen.
“I’m comfortable in getting a deal done with him, and we’ll see where that ends up,” Lions team president Rod Wood said (ESPN). “It’s going to be whatever it takes, I think, to make it happen from both sides…”
So it appears the Lions are willing to make him the highest-paid player in the NFL—a title he will not hold for long. Derek Carr is expected to sign a mega-deal soon. Kirk Cousins will be paid well by someone if Washington doesn’t step up.
If Stafford, Carr, and Cousins are worth $25 million a season will Aaron Rodgers be the first $30 million man?
To be fair, the Lions lack of postseason success is not entirely his fault. The Lions haven’t had a marquee running back since Barry Sanders abruptly retired, and their defense has not been anything special either. He did have one of the best wide receivers in the modern era to work with for a while, but there is only so much any quarterback can do with one great receiver.
As an individual player, he has done well. He has set a number of team and NFL records and will likely set a few more before he’s done. But teams do not play for the glory of any individual player.
Life in the NFL is about winning championships. Matthew Stafford hasn’t been able to do it. Yes, he did lead the Lions to eight fourth-quarter comebacks last season. But he couldn’t lead the team to victory when it mattered most–in the wild-card game (a 28-6 loss to Seattle).
Plenty of teams would have loved to at least make the playoffs. But who plays the game to lose the wild card game?
If the Lions are not able to put the pieces around Stafford, why bother paying him a small fortune? Simple—a team needs to have a great quarterback if it wants to be competitive.
“It’s a premium position, and you need to have a very, very good player at that position to be credible and be competitive, and I think we do have that, and we’re working on getting a deal done,” Wood said during an ESPN interview.
Oh–if the Lions do not pay him, someone will.