Posted on August 29, 2017, by Travis Pulver
It’s been expected. Eventually, he Detroit Lions and their longtime quarterback Matthew Stafford were going to agree on a new deal—and now it has happened. The team announced the news on Twitter Monday night. It took a little time for a number to leak but when it finally did, the news wasn’t shocking.
The Detroit Lions had made Stafford the highest paid player in NFL history. Details on how the contract is structured have yet to be released, but the important information is out there—five years, $135 million with $92 million guaranteed and a $50 million signing bonus (according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter).
Yes, the Lions are paying a guy who has yet to lead the team to a division title let alone a playoff win (three trips in eight seasons) $27 million a season– more than any player has ever been paid in the history of the game.
His contract beats out the previous high of $25 million the Oakland Raiders agreed to pay their quarterback, Derek Carr (five years, $125 million). Carr’s edged out the previous record holder, Andrew Luck, by a hair (Luck’s extension was for five years, $122.97 million; or $24.594 million a season).
Just as questions surrounded Carr’s massive payday, plenty are surrounded Stafford’s. Why pay a guy so how much money when he has only take the team to the playoffs three times (all losses)? Why pay one player so much money when there are so many other areas on the roster that need help?
What good does it do to have a $27 million quarterback when your running game is lackluster on a good day and your defense is mediocre (No. 18 in total yards; No. 13 in points allowed; No. 10 against the pass; No. 14 against the run)?
Stafford’s supporters will be quick to point out the eight fourth-quarter comebacks he led the team on last year as proof he deserves his new deal. They will point out the many occasions the defense gave up touchdowns late forcing Stafford to perform his late game heroics.
The reason he is getting paid so well is easy—if they don’t pay him, someone else will. Stafford did have the benefit of throwing to Calvin Johnson for most of his career. But he proved last season that he can thrive with or without Megatron.
Is he worth $27 million a season? Heck no! But in today’s league, if you don’t have a top-notch quarterback you are in big trouble. You better have a stellar defense to make up for it (which the Lions do not).
Does this mean Stafford is ‘top-notch?’
Not necessarily. What it does mean is that he is the best option available to the Lions right now. Without him, the franchise would quickly become irrelevant. Does he guarantee that they will not be irrelevant? Absolutely not—but he does give them a great chance not to be.
The hang-up most people will have is that he has not accomplished anything in the NFL, but yet he’s getting paid more than every other player. They can rest easy because he will not hold the the designation of ‘NFL’s highest paid player’ for long.
Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, and Kirk Cousins will soon be making much more.