The news of quarterback Matthew Stafford’s contract extension with the Lions means that Stafford should continue quarterbacking the Lions through the 2017 season, but he wasn’t the only player impacted by the deal.
With Stafford’s cap number more manageable in the next two years, there will be more money available for the team under the cap. During the press conference to formally announce the Stafford signing, team president Tom Lewand suggested that some of that cap room will be used for extensions for other young veterans on the roster.
“You know I don’t get into details on negotiating them, but I think we’ve been consistent in that we want to keep our young nucleus of players together for as long as we can,” Lewand said, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “That’s sometimes easier said than done in the salary cap era, but I think with the extension we did with Calvin [Johnson] last year, now with Matthew in the fold, we’ve shown an ability to do that and we’re going to continue along those same lines with that philosophy.”
Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh will likely be at the front of the line. His deal doesn’t expire until after the 2014 season, but he’s got a massive $21.4 million cap figure for that season that will be hard for the team to swallow. Franchising him for the 2015 season would cost more than $25 million as a result, making an extension before the end of the 2014 season an even more pressing issue.
Tight end Brandon Pettigrew and defensive tackle Nick Fairley could also be extension possibilities at some point in the not too distant future, so a deal for Suh that pares down his cap number would open up other doors for the Lions as they make decisions about how to build their roster.