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Lewand wants new contract for Stafford, but not for cap relief

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Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford enters the fifth year of his rookie deal with a $20.8 million cap number.  And while it’s important for the team to knock that number down in order to transact business, the franchise’s primary objective is to ensure that their franchise quarterback will remain with the team over the long haul.

“Matthew Stafford is our quarterback, and we hope is our quarterback for a long time,” Lions president Tom Lewand said. via Anwar Richardson of  “The reason to explore a contract extension with Matthew is to fulfill that goal of having him be our quarterback for a long time.  It’s not a short-term look at the salary cap.  That’s the wrong way to look at that.  When you look at extending somebody like Matthew, he’s not going to take less money to extend.  That’s a very short-term focus to look at.”

Lewand is right, but there’s a win-win that comes from a long-term deal that drives down the current cap number.

“The reason to have an extension with Matthew, just like the reason to have the extension with Calvin [Johnson] last year, was to secure their services for a long period of time,” Lewand said.  “In Calvin’s case last year, the timing was a little bit different because we knew that there was an opportunity to get something done.  But in Matthew’s case, Matthew’s got two years left on his deal.  Calvin didn’t.  It’s a different set of circumstances.”

The one primary similarity is that both players were drafted in the top two picks, prior to the arrival of the rookie wage scale.  The cap numbers from the latter years of their big-money rookie contracts necessarily create leverage to do a long-term deal.  Indeed, Johnson’s extension dropped his cap number for 2012 from $21 million to $11.5 million.

So while the main goal was to get Johnson last year and now Stafford this year locked up for the long haul, the reality is that their long-term deals have been inflated by the amounts they were already due to earn under trumped-up rookie contracts.

They still have one more player who falls into that category.  Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was the second overall pick in 2010, the last year before the rookie wage scale.  It could be that, after committing major cap dollars in the present and future to Johnson and Stafford, Suh will become an erratic luxury the Lions can’t afford.

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24 Responses to “Lewand wants new contract for Stafford, but not for cap relief”
  1. egreen4590 says: Feb 16, 2013 12:33 AM

    I’ve met the kid before. He’s arrogant as hell but I love to see him sling it on Sundays! Get that deal done! He deserves it despite what some people think about him.

  2. lks311 says: Feb 16, 2013 12:54 AM

    Arrogant or not, he was in the state of Michigan (@ the MSU-UM) in February, when he could have been back home in Texas or ANY PLACE ELSE. That tells me he’s invested.

    If he can play, you keep a guy like this that.

  3. lionsfaninthe505 says: Feb 16, 2013 12:55 AM

    As a Lions fan i want him to succeed but feel like he may be Bledsoe 2.0. … And that’s not a compliment.

  4. thetooloftools says: Feb 16, 2013 12:56 AM

    Who freakin’ cares? It’s The Detroit Loins.
    All sizzle, no steak.

  5. musicman495 says: Feb 16, 2013 1:11 AM

    The Lions have some players – their problem is they have the wrong coach.

  6. smithopher says: Feb 16, 2013 1:45 AM

    I can’t imagine them letting Suh walk. There are three players on that team that either have the potential to be elite at their positions, or have already made it there. Stafford is knocking on the door to be let into the top 5 qb bracket in the NFL, Suh was an all pro as a rookie if I’m not mistaken, and everyone already knows Calvin Johnson is top 3 wr, if not the very best. Those three should be given the golden handcuffs.

  7. lionsdraftguy says: Feb 16, 2013 1:47 AM

    Great QB. Get him extended Lewand.

  8. xjokerz says: Feb 16, 2013 2:16 AM

    Trade suh

  9. raiderinva says: Feb 16, 2013 2:21 AM


    I have also met Stafford and “arrogant as hell” is farthest from the last description I would use for him.

    No offense, maybe you met him at a bad time or maybe I met him out of his element… I don’t know, but he is not getting tossed to other teams just to get let go again like Mr. Young.

    Stafford is also playing every down and not blaming his teammates for anything.

    Honestly not a Stafford fan, just saying…..

  10. vertskate900 says: Feb 16, 2013 2:22 AM

    Eh, who cares? This is the Lions we’re talking about. Whether they have Stafford back there or not, you’ll still see an under .500 team.

  11. phillipalpha says: Feb 16, 2013 2:23 AM

    Well ofcourse, if it was just about lowering the cap# you would be in this mess in just a few years again.

    a healthy signing bonus, and a steady salary slowly increasing over the duration of the contract please.

  12. roadbiscuit says: Feb 16, 2013 6:26 AM

    If Lewand wants to wrap up a way overpaid QB coming off a <80 PR season, more power to him. The rest of it is PR for the fans, which seems to be his major function.

  13. jimnaizeeum says: Feb 16, 2013 7:06 AM

    If Suh doesn’t get his extension after Stafford he may start stomping and kicking.
    Because that’s what he does when he gets frustrated.

  14. lionsgonewild says: Feb 16, 2013 7:57 AM

    If Suh’s sisters tweet is true, this is Suh’s last year with the Leo’s.
    He does not want to restructure his contract……

  15. butteredsanta says: Feb 16, 2013 8:10 AM

    This is a mess for the Lions. Stafford is good enough not to release but not good enough to be and elite player.

  16. polegojim says: Feb 16, 2013 9:10 AM

    Stafford has potential… but went backwards significantly in 2012, including missing MANY wide open receivers in critical games.

    Too bad the extension can’t be for rewarding RESULTS… not just tenure and an expiration date.

    In 2013 Matt… you need to play up to your hype and ability.

    Go LIONS!

  17. petedutcher says: Feb 16, 2013 10:17 AM

    If Suh hits free agency, the BUCS need to sign him. Can you imagine both he and GMC on the same line???

  18. jimmysee says: Feb 16, 2013 10:33 AM

    He reminds me of Joe Flacco — if the Loins can ever build the right team behind him, they could make it to the SuperBowl and Stafford could be going to Disneyland.

    (But Suh is no Ray Lewis.)

  19. jamezz23 says: Feb 16, 2013 10:39 AM

    I may be a biased lions fan but I don’t he took a step back last year in terms of is individual talent or anything. We were facing 5 and 6 man fronts all year and we still couldn’t run the ball consistently which is absurd. We took the league by storm 2 years ago with an air assult but the NFL coaches will catch on and take that away from you. Without any running game and always having one of the hardest schedules in the league look for us to have a similar year as last…

  20. tonymustam says: Feb 16, 2013 10:45 AM

    Why is it that Tom Lewand is often quoted talking about player contracts and such for the Lions? They have a GM and a Head Coach; why does Lewand constantly inject his voice into it. Try having unexpressed thoughts and let football people talk about the team. Might help…

  21. mikewhorio says: Feb 16, 2013 11:23 AM

    How is it a win-win? Sure, you lower your cap number for this year…but then Matthew Stafford is your quarterback for the next 5-7 years. Yikes.

  22. ssraebel says: Feb 16, 2013 11:41 AM

    Stafford is not that good of a QB. He has had 1 good year out of 3. He was the 22nd ranked QB this past year and the 29th ranked his rookie year. He was injured in the other year. So 1 year of being a solid QB is reason to make him your long term QB and handicap the team by signing him to a deal like he is an “elite” QB?

    I am a Jags fan a Blaine is a bust but please don’t tell me Stafford is anywhere near the top QB’s in football. He had the most throwing attempts in the NFL last season but the Lions record was 4-12. He is going to pile up those throwing yards and have few wins. Sorry Lions fans, you might not want to hear it but it is the truth. The stats and record all prove it.

    $20 mil for a avg to below avg QB? No thank you.

  23. raider8er says: Feb 16, 2013 12:09 PM

    Glad Stafford is playing full seasons now. He is really a good fantasy QB than a real effective leader and winner in the NFL….. So far.

  24. purpleguy says: Feb 16, 2013 12:22 PM

    If they want him to be above average, they better make sure his contract coincides with Megatron’s contract.

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