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Lions Locking In On Stafford

Though they’ve done a fairly good job of keeping people guessing about their true intentions, we’re told that the Detroit Lions currently plan to take quarterback Matthew Stafford with the first pick in the 2009 draft.
If what we’re hearing and how we’re hearing it is part of the smokescreen process, then they’re doing a fabulous job of it.
Based on the organization’s recent history, however, it’s more likely that they aren’t quite as crafty about spreading misinformation as this specific tactic would require.  (For obvious reasons, we can’t disclose how we obtained the information.)
Although as to the other teams there’s no strategic reason to conceal the identity of the player they plan to draft since the Lions get the first pick, there’s a separate shell game as it relates to negotiating a contract.
Given that Michigan tackle Jake Long received $30 million guaranteed last year on a five-year deal, a quarterback taken in the first overall slot will likely want $35 million guaranteed on a five-year contract — and more than $40 million guaranteed on a six-year deal.
That said, there’s a ceiling on the maximum possible guaranteed money that a rookie can receive, in light of the rookie salary pool (which limits the total payout to all of a team’s first-year players) and the rules regarding the extent to which the contract can grow in future seasons.
Whatever the ceiling is, Stafford will surely want it all, if he’s the first overall pick.
Two years ago, the Raiders took quarterback JaMarcus Russell in the No. 1 spot.  A lengthy holdout, which stretched into September, washed out any chance of getting meaningful playing time as a rookie.  He eventually appeared in four games, starting one and generating a passer rating of 55.9. 

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54 Responses to “Lions Locking In On Stafford”
  1. Chin35char says: Apr 8, 2009 11:44 AM

    Dammit, I don’t want stafford. Take curry!

  2. lionfan419 says: Apr 8, 2009 11:46 AM

    Please No Stafford!!! Curry or Jason Smith!

  3. empty13 says: Apr 8, 2009 11:46 AM

    0-15-1
    u heard it here first

  4. cropguy says: Apr 8, 2009 11:48 AM

    Well…. I guess it’s time to re-do the mock draft AGAIN Florio…

  5. LionsFan says: Apr 8, 2009 11:51 AM

    If that’s the route they choose to go, fine. Just get him signed. Given the various options the Lions have for the first pick, there are none that get me really excited. If they take Stafford, that’s fine. Hopefully it works out. If they don’t take him, that’s fine too. Hopefully whoever they take works out. It’s just too hard to predict.
    Most likely, however, Stafford will be a bust and the Lions will continue to suck and people will continue to bitch about it once a year around Thanskgiving.

  6. warpaint88 says: Apr 8, 2009 11:58 AM

    Hmm. I kind of feel like the number 1 overall pick is kind of wasted on a quarterback in this draft, especially by a team with so many other essential holes. I don’t care anything about the Lions, but I’d advise them to build from the trenches out and select Eugene Monroe. Then again, I’m not employed by the NFL.
    If this is true, then That means the Chiefs should have their choice of a top-rated tackle, Aaron Curry, or Michael Crabtree. I’ll kill myself if they draft Vernon Ghol… err.. Brian Orakpo.

  7. hesawinner says: Apr 8, 2009 12:00 PM

    With all that money he has Jamarcus can buy himself a real nice clipboard and the flyest hat so he can represent as the numba one backup.

  8. burnzy32 says: Apr 8, 2009 12:03 PM

    What kind of story is this if you can’t reveal ANYTHING on the validity of it????

  9. The Strategy Expert says: Apr 8, 2009 12:04 PM

    Here’s a good article for PFT to research….so what’s the rule on signing a contract in advance of the draft?
    Meaning, can we have language that says we are signing you today, but in the event we trade the #1 pick prior to the draft then this contract is null and void?
    Thus, if we signed Stafford to a contract today, would that mean we are not allowed to trade the #1 pick to a team that wants to draft a different player?

  10. William Wallace says: Apr 8, 2009 12:05 PM

    It’s kind of a shame though.
    Under the Millen regime, they were only three highly drafted wide receivers away from revolutionizing the game of football…

  11. LionsfaninClev says: Apr 8, 2009 12:06 PM

    What you sow, you shall reap. If the Lions take Stafford at No. 1 overall, they will get exactly what they deserve.

  12. offsidespenalty says: Apr 8, 2009 12:13 PM

    This pick will bury the Lions for another 30 years.

  13. TCLARK says: Apr 8, 2009 12:18 PM

    This years Golston is WR Howard-Bey.

  14. wydok says: Apr 8, 2009 12:22 PM

    Hey, Florio, do you have anything more concrete than “we’re told that the Detroit Lions currently plan to take quarterback Matthew Stafford with the first pick in the 2009 draft.”?

  15. bumblyjack says: Apr 8, 2009 12:24 PM

    This sounds good for the Rams and great for the Chiefs, but is it good for the Lions? The Ford family deserves whomever they select #1 overall to be a monumental bust. Lions fans, now that Millen is gone you need to aim the blame a bit higher.

  16. bigvinnyinjax says: Apr 8, 2009 12:24 PM

    So much for Stafford’s career then. He’ll join the ranks of Jamarcus and Harrington and Leftwich and Akili and Boller and all the other first round busts of the past few years…

  17. the real deal says: Apr 8, 2009 12:27 PM

    They severly need a Qb, I feel Sanchez is a better pick though, But honestly Culpepper is one of the worst qb’s this league has ever seen, fooling people into thinking he is good with Moss, but even with Moss people forget that in a single season Culpepper had 23 fumbles and 23 picks a total of 46 turnovers to himself…….It showed that Moss was the whole offense of the Viks as after he left Culpepper could not throw deep at all and the majority of his yards came from 5 yard tight end flats, and screens to the rb’s…..
    Also it is too funy J russell held out as he is an absolute terrible qb, people mysterious stick up for…..I have to question the race card on him, because no other qb is given a break like he is, he is terrible…..and by this time in David Carr’s career people were already down on him when he started on an expension team, but yet people consistantly make breaks fro russell who is terrible, he is great in combine drills, but once there is an opposing defense etc. he becomes junk, his bullet passes mean nothin, when he can’t handle a defense on the field,,,

  18. RestorDaRoar says: Apr 8, 2009 12:27 PM

    Why can’t you reveal your source? “For obvious reasons” doesn’t really qualify as an out. Without the source, this is just speculation that has been running rampent since the Super Bowl.
    With the number one pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions select Matthew Staf”William Clay”Ford.

  19. clintdogg says: Apr 8, 2009 12:29 PM

    THEY’RE TAKING MICHAEL CRABTREE AMIRITE?

  20. murray22 says: Apr 8, 2009 12:32 PM

    Seeing Stafford, Cutler and Rodgers in the same division would be interesting. If the Lions take Stafford, they should have him sit for a year to avoid the beat down that Daunte Culpepper will be taking behind the Lion’s O-line. The Lions would be better off taking a Left Tackle with the first pick, but Stafford, Sanchez and Freeman will probably all be gone by the time the Lions pick again at 20. So the Lions will go with Stafford at #1, even though he’s a reach.

  21. The Captains Log says: Apr 8, 2009 12:34 PM

    A conversation with Matt Stafford, and his agent:
    Agent: Matt, I have great news and terrible news.
    MS: lets hear the good news
    Agent: The Lions want to take you first over all
    MS: Fantastic!!! So what is the bad news?
    Agent: The Lions want to take you first over all
    MS: I dont understand how that is bad news?
    Agent: The Lions evaluated your talent, and think you are first pick worthy, and that means you are going to be a major bust
    MS: I’ll still get a huge contract though, right?
    Agent: Absolutely!!!!!! We are rich!!! I mean, you are rich!

  22. bored_of_seinfeld_jokes says: Apr 8, 2009 12:39 PM

    “Thus, if we signed Stafford to a contract today, would that mean we are not allowed to trade the #1 pick to a team that wants to draft a different player?”
    If the Lions sign Stafford today, the #1 pick is spent and the Rams are now on the clock with pick #2. I don’t think you can have your cake and eat it too here – signing a player = spending your pick. The Lions can trade the rights to Stafford after signing him, but not that pick because it’s gone.

  23. ty@thelionsinwinter says: Apr 8, 2009 12:44 PM

    It’s the overwhelmingly logical move. The Lions just went 0-16, there are no reasonable expectations for success, they have two inexpensive enigmas at quarterback, and Stafford can sit until he’s ready. He’s got all the tools in the world, played against the highest level of competition in college for three years, and of course there was that “flawless” workout from a couple of weeks ago that nobody but the Lions saw. And as everyone knows, the Lions haven’t had a quality quarterback since Greg Landry–and even that’s pushing it.
    I always say that once teams set their draft boards (~two or three weeks before the draft), after that everything you hear is gamesmanship. I do wonder: is this the last real info that leaks out? Or the first of the lies?
    Peace
    Ty @ The Lions in Winter

  24. lionfan419 says: Apr 8, 2009 12:51 PM

    I am really sad as a lions fan!!! Please learn from others! Build trenches. Take a qb next year to mold! Draft Smoth or Monroe, LB at 20 and with #33 take alphonso Smith DB..take a qb next year.

  25. PackAttack says: Apr 8, 2009 12:53 PM

    Unfortunately, I think theyre almost forced to take a QB unless they can unload the pick.

  26. TrojanMAAAN says: Apr 8, 2009 12:59 PM

    @the real deal – “but even with Moss people forget that in a single season Culpepper had 23 fumbles and 23 picks a total of 46 turnovers to himself……”
    That’s because it never happened. Check your facts.

  27. JohnnyH says: Apr 8, 2009 1:01 PM

    “Though they’ve done a fairly good job of keeping people guessing about their true intentions”
    – Apparently they’ve done a good job of hiding their true intentions from even themselves.

  28. korikill says: Apr 8, 2009 1:02 PM

    I have ‘heard’ the Lions intend on picking Curry at the first spot.
    For obvious reasons, I cannot divulge my source.

  29. erikw89 says: Apr 8, 2009 1:04 PM

    Great,
    I think Roy Williams, Mike Williams, Joey Harringtons, and Charles Rogers houses are all available for Stafford to choose from.
    He might want to rent tho, could be gone in about 3 years if reason Lions draft trend continues!

  30. footballfan09 says: Apr 8, 2009 1:10 PM

    I wonder if they are just really sneaky and saying they want a QB to try and get someone to trade up and take Stafford there. Don’t really see anyone moving up to the number one slot due to money so this must be their decision. Really wish they would build the trenches because I hate seeing these 0-16 teams.

  31. bleedsorangeandbrown says: Apr 8, 2009 1:20 PM

    I think I give Ty @ Lions in Winter a 5 rating everytime for showing up in comments.
    He could tell me that my mother wears combat boots and he’d get a fiver from me.
    Anyone who is thoughtful enough to comment intellectually about Detroit Lions football and not sound like he’s been blindsided by Alex Karras and Roger Brown is good in my book.
    Keep up the faith, Ty.
    (and Florio, put him on payroll for cryin’ out loud!)

  32. John-NJ says: Apr 8, 2009 1:30 PM

    The Lions gave up 30+ points, 11 times in 2008. Any pick of offense is a waste if you have the worst defense in the league. And they were the worst by a large margin.
    I don’t care what the analysts and “experts” say about the value of the #1 pick and how only a QB or LT is worth the pick, when you go 0-16, you need to fix the area that caused you to go 0-16. Every year, the experts copy whatever team was successful the previous year, and ignore common sense.
    Ignoring defense in the draft and then say its because we don’t have a QB that we went 0-16. We’ve spent 1 first round pick on defense since 2000. Its time to put some talent on that side of the ball.
    Draft Curry #1, Vontae Davis or Ziggy Hood #20, and Jerry/Smith #33 depending on who they took at #20, and immediately see the defense middle of the pack instead of the basement.
    Our offense is sufficient to win a few games IF the defense can stop letting them score everytime they touch the ball. Defense wins championships isn’t just a cliche’. Its fact.

  33. spartyfi says: Apr 8, 2009 1:35 PM

    Here’s the thing. You do NOT want to be put in a position of starting a rookie QB IF you can avoid it. So, yes, you take Stafford this year. Here’s my reasoning. This is going to take at least 2 years (probably 3 or 4) to fill all the wholes on this team. This is the best year to draft a QB because you can groom him. You know your team won’t be great and you can sit him and let him learn and go at it in year 2 (or week10).
    If you get your O-Line/Trenches this year and you draft a QB next year, you are then waiting another year for your QB to play (2011) which puts you behind AGAIN!
    Also, IMO, Stafford is better suited to the pro game than those coming out next year (Bradford; Tebow; McCoy).

  34. festusmonroe says: Apr 8, 2009 1:41 PM

    burnzy32 says:
    “What kind of story is this if you can’t reveal ANYTHING on the validity of it????”
    A rumor. Hence the title of the page, “The Rumor Mill.”

  35. warpaint88 says: Apr 8, 2009 1:46 PM

    TrojanMAAAN said:
    ” @the real deal – “but even with Moss people forget that in a single season Culpepper had 23 fumbles and 23 picks a total of 46 turnovers to himself……”
    That’s because it never happened. Check your facts. ”
    Yep. 2002. Culpepper threw 23 interceptions and fumbled 23 times; however, he only lost 9 of the fumbles. That’s still 32 turnovers though. That’s an average of 2 turnovers a game — for ONE PERSON. Has to be close to a record.

  36. Mike D says: Apr 8, 2009 1:48 PM

    Of course theyre gonna take Stafford. Its the stupid choice and its the Lions.

  37. researchALLwars says: Apr 8, 2009 1:48 PM

    count me down as a member of the “People who think Ty @ Lions in Winter should be on the payroll” club.
    that is all.
    ps. 9/11 was a false flag operation. Happens all the time. I’m really not kidding here.

  38. alewatcher says: Apr 8, 2009 2:02 PM

    I wonder if any of these top picks look at Quinn or Russel, see that they held out for $$$, and lost an entire season of playing football (and in Quinn’s instance, a shot at being the starter) because they weren’t in camp on time.

  39. Bigones says: Apr 8, 2009 2:12 PM

    “So much for Stafford’s career then. He’ll join the ranks of Jamarcus and Harrington and Leftwich and Akili and Boller and all the other first round busts of the past few years…”
    Don’t forget about Leftwich and Garrard.

  40. sportsbook says: Apr 8, 2009 2:27 PM

    Lions should trade out of this spot – they don’t need Stafford right now and they are going to throw him into the fire without any help at offensive line, RB or WR.

  41. NOTSINCE57 says: Apr 8, 2009 2:50 PM

    Makes sense that they would leak info that leads others to beleive they are “locked in” on the only player with any kind of “trade up” appeal. That said, I still think they go with Curry. At the end of the day you need to walk away from this draft with a pro-bowl caliber player. AC is their best chance at that. If they come away from this with Curry and one of the OTs I think that is a great way to go in the 1st rd.

  42. lionfan419 says: Apr 8, 2009 3:18 PM

    sports book,
    34k and Calvin are money!!! what do you mean no help at rb and wr, also momo from the hawks is huge,

  43. ty@thelionsinwinter says: Apr 8, 2009 3:55 PM

    bleedsorangeandbrown, researchALLwars–
    Thanks for the kind words, fellas! I had to chuckle at the ‘payroll’ thing; Mike’s been the whale of pro football blogging for like eight years, and I’ve been the minnow of Detroit Lions blogging for about four months. Still, if you’d like to read more, just click on my username. The URL to my blog is in my profile; I put all the stuff that’s too long-winded for comments or forums up at that site.
    NOTSINCE57–
    Yeah, that’s been my problem with the whole ‘smokescreen’ scenario the entire time. Everyone already thought they’d take Stafford 1.1, and nobody else wants to take Stafford 1.1. By convincing everyone they’ll take Stafford 1.1, they don’t create a trade market, they just confirm to the rest of the league that the Lions are no threat to take anyone that any other team might want.
    The only conceivable scenario is that on the eve of the draft, the Lions announce it’s down to Curry or an LT, and GMs across the land scramble to keep the Lions from snatching their top target . . . a pretty farfetched scenario, IMO.
    Then again, Jay Cutler’s a Bear, so never say never!
    Peace
    Ty @ The Lions in Winter

  44. abbazabba says: Apr 8, 2009 4:01 PM

    it’s gunna be difficult to groom a guy who is going to spend most of the time on his back. they clearly want to repeat.

  45. Alvin-is-Romes-Son says: Apr 8, 2009 4:06 PM

    Easily the dumbest headline I have ever seen. Stafford to the Lions very well may be true, but no sources? You’re joking, right?
    I could say “Florio is a sham of a journalist” but without citing this article it would just be speculation. Now I have clear, concrete evidence. Take Note Mikey

  46. toonsterwu says: Apr 8, 2009 4:12 PM

    Stafford was always the most likely option. The idea of drafting a LB first overall is just not ideal. Curry is an excellent talent, but drafting a position that’s largely dependent upon the other areas of the defense coming through is iffy. The problem with drafting LB’s high is that most teams expect said addition to address the LB woe and fail to put the LB in the position to make plays. I mean, Patrick Willis has been excellent, but the Niners defense only took off after Singletary streamlined things (base 3-4) and they got some edge pressure from Parys Haralson. The idea that AJ Hawk is a far worse player than he was 2 years ago is ridiculous. This doesn’t mean that an edge rusher is the only LB worth drafting early. But you can find a good LB early, particularly in this draft. A James Laurinaitis may be there at 33. Solid options will be there in the 3rd.
    The idea that the LT’s in this draft are bulletproof was overstated. Eugene Monroe is the most ready pass protector, but he’s not a Jim Schwartz, knock’em down type. Jason Smith might be … but as much as he’s been hyped this offseason, he’s still more projection than production, as he’s still a bit sloppy in pass pro. Add in that they added Dan Loper (who’s capable enough to start at guard next to Backus). They already had 4 OL starters – Backus, Raiola, Peterman, Cherilus. The signing of Loper early was an indicator, to me, that this was leaning towards Stafford.
    Do I think they love Stafford? No. I think they’ve spent the whole offseason trying to find a way from taking Stafford, but there just isn’t another option that makes that much sense. Sanchez is such a huge gamble here, despite his rise.
    One other consideration to keep in mind – by most indications, the Lions want to add a franchise QB this year. If they pass Stafford, they, more than likely, may trade up from 20, costing them either 33 or one or both of their thirds. I’d argue that, particularly in this draft, where the top is fairly weak and extremely costly, that drafting Stafford and keeping the picks is a far better gamble than the other way. Add in that, Stafford will likely sit for most, if not all, of his rookie year there.

  47. the real deal says: Apr 8, 2009 4:27 PM

    @TrojanMAAAN says:
    April 8th, 2009 at 12:59 pm
    @the real deal – “but even with Moss people forget that in a single season Culpepper had 23 fumbles and 23 picks a total of 46 turnovers to himself……”
    That’s because it never happened. Check your facts……………
    well, well, well trojan man
    IF YOU WOULD LOOK AT HIS 2002 SEASON STATS YOU WILL SEE 23 PICKS and 23 FUMBLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    2002 Minnesota Vikings 16 games 16 games startes 333 completions 549 attempts 60.7 comp % 3,853 yards.7.0 average 18 td’s— 23 INTERCEPTIONS—–47 sacks 244 sack yrds 75.3 rating 106 rushing att 609 rush yards 5.7 average 10 t.d.—– 23 FUMBLES—-9 fum lost
    that looks like 23 INTERCEPTIONS AND 23 FUMBLES TO ME!!
    so check your facts and make sure they are the real deal, or don’t bother posting lies……

  48. burley29 says: Apr 8, 2009 4:37 PM

    The Lions have given the appearance of being locked in on Stafford for some time. This is not really news to anyone who has been following Detroit. I hope it is a smokescreen, but also doubt that it is.
    Smith, Monroe, Raji, Curry, Orakpo, Brown, Cushing, Wells, Maualuga and Crabtree are all better prospects than Stafford in my book. You may be able to contest half of them if you have some really shrewd argumentation, but not all of them. At the 1 overall you take the best player in the draft, and it is not Stafford.
    As far as need goes… the Leos do not have a single DT that is every down starting material on the roster today. The left tackle position has given up over 30 sacks in the last 3 seasons while there are many TEAMS that haven’t given up that many sacks in the same time frame. The Lions Pass rush is a joke, and they haven’t had a middle linebacker that was even serviceable as a starter since Stephen Boyd was in Detroit. Aside from Cushing, Wells and Crabtree there is tremendous need for all of these positions and all of these players would be immediate started upgrades. Stafford, again, is not. He may start late in the season, but to throw him out there day one is a death sentence for his career.

  49. kev says: Apr 8, 2009 6:09 PM

    Although this is disappointing I’m not surprised after all Ford still owns this team so there you go. The Lions and many sports writers may consider this the logical pick but it isn’t the smartest pick by far. The fact is that there is no QB in this draft that would normally go in the first round in any of the recent past draft classes. His decision making history has been questionable so it looks like they will draft another Chuck long or Andre Ware or Joey Harrington and not anyone who will amount to anything in the NFL. I mean at best he would have been a second rounder in any of the drafts over the past ten years, the talent at QB just isn’t there this year. The Lions should take a tip from proven winners like Bill Parcels and Bill Walsh and in the past I heard both of those guys say on ESPN that if you have a top five draft choice you should pick the best football player available and not draft for position. This year the best football player in the draft is Aaron Curry followed by Michael Crabtree, Tyson Jackson and then it’s a tossup between three OL’s Eugene Monroe, Andre Smith and Jason Smith. Anyhow I remember an uncle of mine making the statement some 25 years ago that as long as Ford owns the Lions they will never be a winning franchise and I didn’t want to believe him then but today I am convinced. You know the only reason they went 0 – 16 last year was because they let their top three defensive players go in the off season and when a team owner allows that to happen then they just aren’t even interested in winning. Ford only wants to put a couple of high profile people on the field to draw in the fans and he’s not really about putting a championship caliber team on the field.

  50. JoeF says: Apr 8, 2009 7:16 PM

    What person benifits the most by leaking this to Florio, Tom Condon, don’t read to much into this, the Lions are in neg. with several players agents. I still think it will be Sanchez.

  51. sparty43 says: Apr 8, 2009 7:53 PM

    With the economy in the sh***er and some low free agency offers, why doesn’t it trickle down to the NFL rookie draft picks? I know there is a rookie salary cap per team, but why does a team HAVE to pay inflation on top of last year’s same pick when everything else is going down? Do you really think all the picks would hold out from camp if each and every team said “this is as much as we are going to offer”? I know it sounds like collusion, but what if?????

  52. biscuiteater says: Apr 8, 2009 8:01 PM

    IF the Lions could trade the #1 pick overall, they would. Period.
    IF the Lions draft Stafford he will NOT play much this season IF at all. He’ll probably only see garbage time here and there if that.
    IF the Lions pick a QB or OT with the #1 pick overall, they will definitely go defense with the #20 pick, probably the best inside LB or DT available.
    IF the Lions go defense #1, it will be Curry and they’ll likely take the best OT on the board at #20 and probably grab a project QB later in the draft, or possibly even Pat White in the 2nd round, but that’s not likely.
    What you have to keep in mind is that this is probably a 3 year project. They cannot and will not get all the missing pieces this season. They’ll get a lot of them, but not all of them. There’s just too many pieces missing. It’s not possible.

  53. cramjones says: Apr 8, 2009 11:48 PM

    Over 50 replies to a Detroit Lion post. It would take Detroit a decade to match that in wins (sans last year). Either everyone is interested in the draft or the failures of the Lions. It helps to explain why the Raiders took a field goal kicker in the first round. Or does it? It may be in there best interest to draft a GM or owner or coach or fans. Don’t get me wrong Lion fans (fan) I only find humor in your misery by being a Viking fan.

  54. burley29 says: Apr 9, 2009 7:12 AM

    Cramjones… Enjoy another year of non-coaching there in Minnesota, and allow me to take this opportunity to remind you that I could void my bowels and produce a better quarterback than you have on your roster.
    Now that the division rival pleasantries are out of the way… I don’t think you are locked into OT at that 20 pick if you go defense first. I would roll the dice on having a tackle availble at the 33 pick (Beatty or Jamon Meredith will probably be there) if there is a high quality defensive player on the board at 20 (i.e. Peria Jerry).
    I will make a guarantee that the Lions will not call Pat White’s name on draft day. If they can pull off a trade somewhere to get a fifth round pick or another early 6th rounder, then I am interested in talking Graham Harrell, Rhett Bomar or Mike Teel (Rutgers) at that point as a developmental pick. I have a feeling someone is going to wind up VERY pleased with themselves after drafting Harrell in the late 4th early 5th, and I think Teel has the ability to become a poor mans Big Ben if you give him a year or so on the pine.

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