Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has thrown for 10,005 yards and 61 touchdowns over the past two seasons. The massive production has the Lions looking to extend Stafford’s contract to keep him in Detroit beyond the 2015 season.
Per Albert Breer of the NFL Network, the Lions have begun preliminary discussions with Stafford’s representatives on a new contract. Stafford is set to make $12.5 million in base salary next season but will count even more against the Lions salary cap. The total hit to the Lions’ salary cap will be $20.3 million. Only Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos and Eli Manning of the New York Giants have larger cap numbers for next season.
The Lions have spent most of the last month finding ways to free up room under the salary cap.
The Lions released wide receiver Titus Young, defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch and guard Stephen Peterman and restructured the contracts for wide receiver Nate Burleson and center Dominic Raiola. The increased space could help facilitate an extension for Stafford and allow the Lions to better structure the payouts to be more cap-friendly over the length of the deal.
“Matthew Stafford is our quarterback, and we hope is our quarterback for a long time,” team president Tom Lewand said, via Anwar S. Richardson of MLive.com. “The reason to explore a contract extension with Matthew is to fulfill that goal of having him be our quarterback for a long time.”