Lions team president Tom Lewand described talks toward an extension for quarterback Matthew Stafford as a “very productive process,” but said if they can’t reach a deal before the season starts, they’ll just wait until after the season ends.
“We’ve still got some discussion to have, but at some point in time we’ll either get a deal done or we’ll focus on football,” Lewand said of Stafford, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “It’s a different dynamic when you have two years left on a contract versus one. Most of them get done with a year left. And we’ve worked through a lot of those issues and continue to do that, want to continue the dialogue.
“But at some point in time we’ll either have a deal or we’ll agree that the focus needs to be on what’s going on on the field.”
The Lions have been talking about a new deal for Stafford since February, with the talks progressing in April.
Stafford has two years left on his rookie deal, but salary cap numbers of $20.8 million this year and $19.3 million next have the Lions looking to do something sooner.
While Stafford’s value is inflated because his first contract was signed under the old CBA (before owners beat rookie deals down to a manageable level), deals such as those for Tony Romo and Joe Flacco provide some degree of framework.
“Again, I think it’s atypical for us to enter into discussions with Matthew with two years left on his deal, and I’m very glad we have,” Lewand said. “I think it’s been a very productive process that may result in an agreement, and I certainly think will result in an agreement at the right point in time, and that may be soon and it may be a little bit later, but the process itself has been very valuable.
“It’s not something clubs around the league generally do as a matter of course because with two years left on a deal it is a little more difficult. It obviously does happen, Aaron Rodgers being an example, but it’s more of the exception than the rule with two years left.”
While Stafford’s value shouldn’t approach Rodgers’ based on production, the fact the Lions are close against the salary cap and could use the room will only help him.