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Lions GM safe, won’t use tag, needs to work on Stafford deal

Martin Mayhew AP

Lions general manager Martin Mayhew told reporters Wednesday he has no reason to believe he and coach Jim Schwartz aren’t safe, and that they have plenty of work to do.

Mayhew said he talked with owner William Clay Ford and his son, team vice chariman Bill, earlier in the week

As far as I know we’re going to be back,” Mayhew said, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “It could be like ‘Survivor,’ you know, when you go back and write somebody’s name down.

“But no, as far as I know we’re going to be back and I’ve spoken to Mr. Ford, I’ve spoken to Bill and we talked about our plans going forward and we’re certainly working on getting things right.”

After going 4-12, losing their final eight and not beating a single division opponent, there’s enough work to go around. Mayhew said his biggest mistake may have been overestimating the talent of a team that returned 21 of 22 starters.

“I think that’s quite possible,” he said. “I certainly thought we were going to get some better performances.”

While injuries that limited their starting secondary to one game together and kept running back Jahvid Best off the field were a factor, Mayhew said that the only player he saw improve was defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.

For a team with a tricky cap situation and 23 free agents, that means change is coming.

For one, Mayhew said he didn’t see himself using the franchise tag this offsesaon, as they did for defensive end Cliff Avril last year.

He also said they needed to restructure or extend quarterback Matt Stafford’s contract, to knock his cap number below his current $20-plus million charge.

Stafford, Suh and Calvin Johnson currently count nearly $50 million toward a cap expected to be around $121 million, so working on Stafford’s deal will be necessary. Mayhew compared it to last year, when they had to give Johnson a new deal before the start of free agency.

That’s good news for Stafford, who gets to negotiate from a position of strength his 2012 season might not otherwise indicate.

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21 Responses to “Lions GM safe, won’t use tag, needs to work on Stafford deal”
  1. pinion8ted says: Jan 2, 2013 8:02 PM

    Going 4-12, with 21 of 22 starters returning, while getting saddled with THOSE kinds of contracts …….?

    Yeah, why would the GM and Coach worry about their jobs????

  2. jjb0811 says: Jan 2, 2013 8:04 PM

    NFL fans can always count on Detroit, Cleveland & Arizona to be the comedy central of the NFL!

  3. 0ffsides says: Jan 2, 2013 8:09 PM

    There is so much wrong with the Lions it’s hard to know where to start. Nothing will be right as long as the Ford ownership continues to misguide the team. Only 55 years since the last championship.

  4. dalucks says: Jan 2, 2013 8:13 PM

    Paying Matt Stafford 1 penny north of 10 million dollars would be a huge mistake. You should not reward a guy for futility. Matt Stafford has proven that he cannot win games with his arm as he averaged over 45 pass attempts a game on his way to a 4-12 season. He is not a “franchise quarterback” so he should not be paid like one.
    Matt Stafford is not an elite quarterback nor is he a “franchise quarterback.” He is just a guy who plays quarterback on an NFL team.
    Learn from the Houston Texans, pay your quarterback based upon what he has done and not what you hope he becomes. Pay for performance and not potential.

  5. spicymudbugs says: Jan 2, 2013 8:38 PM

    Bring back Matt Millen

  6. jpb12 says: Jan 2, 2013 8:42 PM

    Stafford is the next Tony Romo

  7. billsfan1 says: Jan 2, 2013 8:43 PM

    Werent Detroit fans talking about how great Mayhew was last year? Not saying he is or isnt but jeez…. I dont think the problem is all talent.. I think its the coach…more than anything..

    AS far as Stafford goes, he isnt elite.. But he is damn good…. there are only a few elite qb’s but fans are so caught up in elite or not elite that if you are not “elite” you suck… get over it

  8. nflfollower says: Jan 2, 2013 8:46 PM

    It’s worth noting Mayhew is up against a lot longer odds for next year than he was this year, and we all know the went 4-12 this season.

    Both starting OLB’s and our only dependable CB, as well as our only productive DE (Avril), in addition to our only safety whose talent level warrants an NFL roster spot (Delmas, even tho he’s always hurt) are all free agents. It’s really difficult to imagine this defense coming back any better, let alone even maintain it’s level of play. We would need a serious impact defensive player at #5 to improve this unit, and we all know you can’t count on that.

    On the offensive side of the ball, we have been imbalanced too long and hopefully they are realizing it doesn’t work. However, our O-line doesn’t get a push off the ball, they are suitable in pass protection but aren’t knocking anybody off the ball. Hopefully Raiola and Peterman are gone, but we may not be able to replace them with upgrades if we use our first pick on defense. It’s difficult to imagine our running game improving next year.

    To sum it up, there is little reason for optimism in Motown next year, especially considering we play the NFC East and AFC North next year. Not many easy games on that schedule. To top it off, Schwartz has proven himself incapable of beating our NFC North opponents, with the Lions going 0-8 in the division this year. Hopefully we get some impact players with our first and second picks, and then maybe we can compete in a few years.

  9. raynman49 says: Jan 2, 2013 8:50 PM

    1957 the good old days….Joe Schmidt, Yale Lary, John Henry Johnson, Hopalong Cassidy. It’s been a loooong time.

  10. treesloth16 says: Jan 2, 2013 9:25 PM

    Shouldn’t they focus on the secondary and a workhorse RB? I remember when the Lions used a high pick on concussion prone Ernie Sims from FSU. Everyone knew he wouldn’t be effective as a LB, but they drafted him anyways… Same with Jahvid Best. Something in the drinking water or something?

  11. jerrysshadescleaner says: Jan 2, 2013 9:31 PM

    That guy is the GM, looks like one of the dudes they threw out of the store on Hardcore Pawn the other night

  12. warhammer420 says: Jan 2, 2013 9:44 PM

    - “He is not a franchise quarterback”

    You gotta be kidding me. Most of his mistakes came when he tried to do too much… because the Lions were almost always behind and he tried to claw them back into it. While Stafford does need to develop, he probably has the best throwing strength in the entire league.

  13. danetow says: Jan 2, 2013 10:07 PM

    The cap hits are a direct result of drafting early before the rookie wage scale was increased. Now you all know why the rookie scale was put into place, it used handcuffs management in the long run.

  14. berto55 says: Jan 2, 2013 10:09 PM

    Odd isn’t it that all the high draft picks are what eventually kills you when you get to that part of the “cycle”. Suh, Stafford, Johnson are all great players but to eat that much of the cap is really a handicap.

  15. dlions18 says: Jan 2, 2013 10:18 PM

    It’s tough being a Lions fan

  16. johnnyjagfan says: Jan 2, 2013 10:23 PM

    The only player who improved was Suh? Megatron set the record for receiving yards in a season. He improved.

  17. onlyopinionthatmatters says: Jan 2, 2013 10:42 PM

    matthew stafford is one of those qbs that are good, but just have not got to the point of great, but sure as hell has the potential. im not saying hes joe montana or tony romo, but the guys is good. people must forget that hes only in his second year as a full starter. he was plagued with injury his first 2 yrs and now hes finally getting the full effects of a full season and the full stress. there were a lot of games the lions lost late. i know “you are what your record says you are”, but the lions are one of those teams that the record doesnt reflect that. theyre a good you talented team. fans have to get off this “win now or your done”..give the guy some time, its been 2 full yrs

  18. lks311 says: Jan 2, 2013 11:56 PM

    Reading all the comments on Stafford. Here’s the bottom line: Over the past two years he’s thrown for 10,000 yards and 60 Touchdowns. All this without a running game and every opponent knowing he was going to throw it. Oh yeah, he’s only 24. He may not be Brady, but, he’s better than 2/3 of the QBs in the NFL. Pay the kid.

  19. vikesfansteve says: Jan 3, 2013 2:11 AM

    Stafford is great but he needs to stop that side arm behind the receiver throws. He’s going to get someone hurt and have lots of turnovers. Lions fans, you could have a player like Ponder so be happy.

  20. funktron2x says: Jan 3, 2013 2:47 AM

    Lolwut? Stafford would not otherwise be negotiating from a position of strength based on this season? There’s a lot of silly stuff that gets thrown around these clearly unedited and unfiltered blogs, but this is right up there with the most insane of them. He has thrown for 10k yards and 59 tds with an int percentage at 2.4ish in his last 32 games. He is 24. He plays quarterback. Think before you hit send!

  21. hatesycophants says: Jan 3, 2013 1:16 PM

    I agree with funktronx2. 10,000 yards and 60 touchdowns in 2 seasons give Stafford leverage like a mug. Sorry, I reverted to my Detroit area upbringing.

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