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Lions don’t feel compelled to do new deal with Stafford

Detroit Lions quarterback Stafford looks for his receiver against the Houston Texans during first half of their Thanksgiving Day NFL football game in Detroit, Reuters

With three top-two picks from the pre-rookie wage scale era on their roster, the Lions have extended one, receiver Calvin Johnson.  Next up, seemingly, is quarterback Matthew Stafford, the first overall pick in the 2009 draft.

But with Stafford having a cap number in excess of $20 million for 2013, the Lions don’t feel compelled to do a new deal that would reduce that burden.

Or at least that’s what they say.

Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press recently asked Lions CEO Tom Lewand whether it’s a necessity to extend Stafford’s contract and, in turn, reduce his massive cap number.

“No,” Lewand said.  “We have a lot of work to do in terms of our planning for 2013 and beyond.  And we’ve done a lot of that work.  It’s an ongoing process, but I wouldn’t say anything is a must-do, one way or another.”

But as Birkett points out nine of the team’s 22 starters are heading to free agency, along with all specialists and several key backups.

With the salary cap number expected to go up much if at all beyond its current level of $120.6 million, having one sixth of the total devoted to one player makes it harder to re-sign free agents and otherwise field a competitive team.

And so Stafford soon will confront the same question that has arisen for other elite quarterbacks.  How much is enough, when there has to be enough for the rest of the roster?

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40 Responses to “Lions don’t feel compelled to do new deal with Stafford”
  1. suckleague says: Dec 1, 2012 8:45 PM

    He was the last of the pre-rookie wage scale #1 pick signings don’t forget. Of course his number is huge, the Lions didn’t have much of a choice.

  2. suckleague says: Dec 1, 2012 8:46 PM

    I take that back, Bradford was now that I think about it.

  3. enochmh2 says: Dec 1, 2012 8:48 PM

    take a pay cut if you have to matt,definitely restructure it though

  4. djaehne says: Dec 1, 2012 8:49 PM

    Time to move on. Denver will need one very soon.

  5. thekiller678 says: Dec 1, 2012 8:57 PM

    I dont see why you wouldn’t. Two healthy seasons in a row has put a damper on his reputation as being injury prone. He may not be the next Favre as far as gunslingers go but it’s not often you get a franchise QB. Lions would be dumb if they don’t lock him up.

  6. stevenfbrackett says: Dec 1, 2012 9:03 PM

    Stafford is not worth 20Mil.

  7. thestrategyexpert says: Dec 1, 2012 9:05 PM

    I have been clamoring for a trade the very second we drafted him even though it wouldn’t make sense in practical terms, but still it was our best move once we called his name from that instant and every instant up until present day.

    I feel that at no point in time has anything ever developed to contradict my highly pinpoint accurate assessment of that being our most logical move and I’m praying that we will finally figure this out and cut ties and trade him this offseason. Who knows what our team would look like if we avoided him from the beginning, but nevertheless it’s still better late than never to trade him before continuing to waste this massive amount of money and letting him as an asset continue to depreciate as long as we aren’t going to solve our slew of problems that prevent us from being a dominant team and top contender.

    We need to figure this out before it’s too late!!

  8. rickastleydancemoves says: Dec 1, 2012 9:07 PM

    He’s a product of Calvin Johnson.

  9. billymc75 says: Dec 1, 2012 9:12 PM

    fit perfect in Dallas

  10. wludford says: Dec 1, 2012 9:13 PM

    Lions are between a rock and a hard place.

    On the one-hand they have a non-elite QB with an elite price-tag, together with an elite WR that hasn’t had the impact in terms of wins, that together eat up about 35-40% of the Lions salary-cap.

    On the other hand they have a bunch of players hitting free-agency, and holes to fill in the OL, RB, and defensive secondary at a minimum- and no salary-cap to work with.

    Last, they have a head coach and a team culture that, ummm. doesn’t inspire greatness.

    Solution? Call Sean Peyton. Give him whatever he wants.

  11. jessethegreat says: Dec 1, 2012 9:33 PM

    Trade megatron to the rams for all the picks they got from the Skins. Guarantee rams do it… And lions would be able to fill the roster and afford everyone with the new rookie contracts.

  12. truthofthefootballbusiness says: Dec 1, 2012 9:33 PM

    They say a great quarterback makes the receivers better, it’s the other way around too. Calvin Johnson is the reason Stafford has gotten all of his stats. CJ is the best receiver in the entire league, and I’m a lifelong Bears fan!

  13. 3yardsandacloud says: Dec 1, 2012 9:43 PM

    I feel like Stafford is falling into the same category as Eli Manning did. “Not that good” etc, so forth. To that I say, look at his numbers folks. Over 5,000 yards passing last year (CJ obviously didn’t catch all that yardage) and great numbers again this year. Is he erratic at times? Yes. Does he make mistakes? Yes. Does that mean he’s not top tier? No.

    Stafford is only in his 2nd full year on the field. He’s got to get the games under his belt and work out his bad habits. Lions would be beyond foolish to ever let him walk an honestly, it would never happen. He’s the leader of that team, whether it’s apparent to those looking from afar or not. He’s not going anywhere. (Let’s not forget the loss of Best is a huge hit for a team that uses screens and flat passes to compensate for the lack of a running game. Best was amazing in those areas, no other back on the team is)

    As far as restructuring, Leywand said it wasn’t a “have to be done” and at $20M it isn’t. It’s roughly what the cap number would be on a franchise tag (admittingly, slightly lower). My money is on the Lions doing a long term deal and dropping his cap hit to $9-10M, leaving them room to do some other deals.

  14. bcfalcon says: Dec 1, 2012 9:50 PM

    Everyone who says that Matt is a product of CJ is an idiot! Sure, it helps to have Calvin but the kid has one of the best arms in the game and is on the brink of being a top tier QB.

  15. larryboodry says: Dec 1, 2012 10:03 PM

    “And so Stafford soon will confront the same question that has arisen for other elite quarterbacks.”

    Does Stafford have the talent to be a franchise QB? Yes, but he he needs to start winning to reach ‘elite’ status, and for that to happen the Lions need to build around him and CJ.

  16. claymatthewshairplugs says: Dec 1, 2012 10:14 PM

    At least he’s not made of glass this year. Though Stafford is overrated. Anybody looks good just lobbing it up to Megatron.

  17. kingcrusher says: Dec 1, 2012 10:25 PM

    I hear you can get Alex Smith for half that.

  18. tigers182 says: Dec 1, 2012 10:28 PM

    Lions finally have a legitimate quarterback after 50 years and some people want to trade him? He’s the second fastest qb to 10,000 in history and Johnson went from being an above average reciever to setting crazy record numbers with Stafford. You people.finally have a legit qb after years of whining, and now you want to go back to Charlie Batch-level quarterbacks?!

  19. brenenostler says: Dec 1, 2012 10:37 PM

    They could have Matt Flynn for less than half of that and for 16 games a year. Stafford is a good QB, top 15 for sure, but not worth $20 million.

  20. denverscott says: Dec 1, 2012 10:38 PM

    Just hope for their sake he doesn’t go all Brees on them.

  21. visible4 says: Dec 1, 2012 10:44 PM

    There’s no doubt CJ makes Stafford better. But c’mon, he is the second fastest QB to ever reach 10,000 yards and he still has a lot of upside. He does need to become more consistent, but the Lions would be crazy to no get this addressed.

  22. pat940 says: Dec 1, 2012 11:10 PM

    Calvin helps Staffords numbers no doubt. Don’t forget Calvin was on the 0-16 team. I’m a lion fan, but you’d figure no matter the qb, Calvin should bring one win.

  23. dtlb58 says: Dec 2, 2012 12:29 AM

    The Chiefs will take him even if it cost one season for the $20 mill and a new deal after that.

  24. zeeman911 says: Dec 2, 2012 1:21 AM

    Stafford is totally elite, Calvin had his best year with Matt, it goes both ways!!!! They lock up stafford and him and megatron will break records!! No chance in hell stafford leaves. All they need is Calvin, but I think they should start rotating every other WR spot until they find no names that can catch staffords bullets and he will turn a bunch of min. wage guys into stars. Trade pettigrew for a seventh rounder, if they are lucky, could maybe get a 7 for Titus young, he showed enough promise last year. Broyles can stay, he looks worthy. When nasty Nate burlson comes back next year you cut him and vanden Bosch. Avril gonna leave in FA gonna sign 5 yr 25 mil deal with someone and be a flop. Suh on his last year, he can get traded for all I care. Anyone who doesn’t make plays, and I watch every game, no one on our D makes a play!!!!! Losing best set us back, he would have excelled in our system and it would have been a great safety play for stafford, pass the ball to him 6-8 times a game. We would be 9-2 right now if not 11-0. I bet we draft another RB 1st round next year. Trying to outscore everybody is our gameplan, oh yeah lineman can go to, wast everyone’s time calling 30 run plays a game and being down every 4th qtr, we come out passing and we BEAT the top team Houston, of course our luck we are the example of how the rule isn’t suppose to work. Awesome another rule change because of the lions being totally screwed in front of every American.
    Brutal
    Schwartz can go too! I’ll call gruden or cowher myself!

  25. therealhook says: Dec 2, 2012 1:51 AM

    Sorry to disagree with so many of you, but stafford is in no way over rated. Guys like manning, Brady, and Bree’s are in the twilight of the’re careers, and when the go stafford will be there with rodgers(who’s already there) and Big Ben and Eli in the elite 5. The guys impressive. I wish he was on my eagles. Tremendous upside with stafford, Detroit knows that and that’s why the contract isn’t a concern. The’re gunna make SURE it happens

  26. sportsnut101 says: Dec 2, 2012 2:08 AM

    I agree don’t do deal yet have u seen the lions play last 3 yrs

    I would let the free agents go n bring in others

    They barely got in playoffs last yr n they missed it this year

    There’s no running game at all.

  27. funktron2x says: Dec 2, 2012 3:22 AM

    Take away Johnson’s yards and Stafford still has more passing yards than Cutler and only a few less than Ponder. Who is catching the balls for almost twice as many yards as Calvin is? Stafford is a great talent. If you wanna talk about a wr making a qb… Look no further than Chicago. Stafford even makes a guy who sabotages a play look good some games (hell, was titus purposefully dropping those tds earlier this year, too?)

  28. gosuhgo says: Dec 2, 2012 3:28 AM

    Why not give him a 10 year deal? I’m serious. He is the franchise. The Lions will live or die with Stafford for the next decade. Getting a different QB isn’t really an option and there’s no reason to do it. We obviously hope to have him for the majority of his career so no reason to spend time signing him to multiple 4 or 5 year deals. Lock him down.

  29. eventhorizon04 says: Dec 2, 2012 3:36 AM

    “thestrategyexpert says: Dec 1, 2012 9:05 PM

    I have been clamoring for a trade the very second we drafted him.

    Who knows what our team would look like if we avoided him from the beginning, but nevertheless it’s still better late than never to trade him before continuing to waste this massive amount of money and letting him as an asset continue to depreciate as long as we aren’t going to solve our slew of problems that prevent us from being a dominant team and top contender.”

    Absolutely. The first step to becoming a dominant team is to trade away your franchise quarterback with no realistic successor on the roster.

    Even better, try to trade away your quarterback in a year (2012) where basically every potential first-round QB had disappointing final seasons in college (Barkley, Geno Smith, etc.).

    Every great team in the NFL regularly trades away their franchise QB as the first step towards becoming a dominant team because it’s not like the NFL is a pass-first league or anything!

  30. ryanw411 says: Dec 2, 2012 5:34 AM

    Stafford has been far from perfect this year and definitely left some points on the field with missed throws, but I would personally argue a lot of that falls on Linehan. The way he calls plays is erratic and easily predictable, he certainly fails to best use the tools available and give guys a chance to find a rhythm. Over the last two seasons we have seen repeated stretches of CJ getting little to no targets until well into the 3rd quarter, you cannot have a rare player like Johnson and not find ways to get him the ball early and often. Watch any critical 3rd or 4th and long, the o-line cannot block a heavy blitz to save its life but Linehan will call a 5 wide and watch Stafford get drilled. It has been like Martz 2.0 around here at times.

  31. bearsfan4life says: Dec 2, 2012 6:58 AM

    The Lions would be foolish to let him go. Trade him? Come on.

    Stafford is QB the Lions have needed since the days of Barry Sanders.

  32. 6thsense79 says: Dec 2, 2012 7:56 AM

    enochmh2 says: Dec 1, 2012 8:48 PM

    take a pay cut if you have to matt,definitely restructure it tho
    ——-**

    No one in the NFL should ever voluntarily take a pay cut.This league is the only one amongst the major US sports that does not have guaranteed contracts so if the team feels a player is no longer worth his salary they can always cut him.

  33. lionsplayoffs says: Dec 2, 2012 8:03 AM

    Stafford isn’t going anywhere. This is just a question of whether Stafford will be asked to restructure or if the Lions are capable of taking his $20M hit in one season. He’ll get another huge payday when he’s up.

  34. hellafiedfc says: Dec 2, 2012 8:14 AM

    anybody who suggests trading CJ or Stafford or even Suh for that matter is nuts!! Maybe they dont remember what that 0-16 season or that decade of Lion Football was like but I do…

    next time you think how bad the Lions are in 2012, Just think about Charles Rogers, Mike Williams, and Joey Harrington….

  35. browns627 says: Dec 2, 2012 8:46 AM

    heck will give you brandon weeden, colt mccoy and a number for 1 for matt ;-)

  36. jimmysee says: Dec 2, 2012 8:59 AM

    thestrategyexpert says:
    Dec 1, 2012 9:05 PM

    “I have been clamoring for a trade the very second we drafted him even though it wouldn’t make sense in practical terms, but still it was our best move once we called his name from that instant and every instant up until present day.

    Hey ===> I bet you could make a deal for Stafford with Buffalo, get Tavaris Jackson to be your starter and a slew of draft picks as well!

    And TJ knows the NFC Central!

    Would that make Loins fans happy?

  37. lgbarn says: Dec 2, 2012 9:15 AM

    Bucs fans everywhere are smiling because they had to “settle” for Josh Freeman in that draft after Stafford and Sanchez where drafted high in the first round.

  38. WatchThis says: Dec 2, 2012 11:13 AM

    The Lions franchise needs a good QB, all signs point to Stafford.

  39. eventhorizon04 says: Dec 2, 2012 11:18 AM

    “Bucs fans everywhere are smiling because they had to “settle” for Josh Freeman in that draft after Stafford and Sanchez where drafted high in the first round.”

    Freeman has had 2 good seasons and 2 awful seasons. Nothing has been proven yet.

  40. larryboodry says: Dec 2, 2012 12:41 PM

    funktron2x says: Dec 2, 2012 3:22 AM

    “Take away Johnson’s yards and Stafford still has more passing yards than Cutler and only a few less than Ponder.”

    Uh-huh…Bears are 8-2 with Cutler, Vikes are 6-5 with Ponder and still in the playoff race…Lions are 4-7 and fading.

    ‘Nuff said.

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