Lions still stuck in “early stages” of Stafford contract talks

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On the surface, Wednesday’s comment from Lions G.M. Bob Quinn that the franchise and its franchise quarterback are in the “early stages” of contract talks seems like news. But it’s not really new news.

Quinn said the same thing last month.

“We’re in the very early stages of talking to Matthew and his representatives,” Quinn said in the middle of April regarding talks that actually began in February at the Scouting Combine. The only arguable difference? The “very” has been removed from “early stages.”

Regardless of where things currently stand, here’s where they’re heading: Toward a franchise tag of $26.4 million in 2018, if a deal isn’t done before then.

Although Stafford will be making a Glennonesque $16.5 million in 2017, Stafford’s cap number sits at $22 million for this year, which entitles him to a 20-percent raise via the tag in 2018. Ditto for 2019, when he’d be due to make $31.698 million. So if a new deal isn’t done before Stafford completes his current contract and shifts the injury risk back to the team, Stafford should expect $58 million fully guaranteed over the following two seasons as part of a long-term deal.

Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins has provided to all other players a clear example of what quarterbacks can do if they’re willing to go year to year. For Stafford, a year-to-year approach means $26.4 million in 2018 then $31.698 million in 2019 and then either a 44-percent raise for a third tag ($45.64 million) or a 20-percent raise for the transition tag ($38 million) or Stafford hits the market unfettered and unrestricted in 2021.

If the Lions want to avoid that scenario, they need to get out of the “early stages” at some point before the end of the 2017 season.

22 responses to “Lions still stuck in “early stages” of Stafford contract talks

  1. If they Lions have to franchise him once, there won’t be a need to do it a 2nd time because they would have drafted a replacement.

    But the more realistic scenario is that the deal gets done by training camp and none of this matters. Heck, we are still 3 months away from training camp, there’s tons of time to get a deal done.

    This isn’t like the Suh situation, where the Lions wanted to get a deal done, but Suh wanted to leave. Lions want Stafford, Stafford wants to be a Lion, it’ll get done, people will argue about how much he makes, then some other QB will take over the top spot for highest paid player.

  2. I can’t decide if Stafford is the best bad QB in the NFL or the worst good one.

  3. They will get this done before the season starts. The Lions learned the hard lesson with Suh – they won’t take that chance again.

    Stafford is the only reason to watch this team. He will get paid, and handsomely…

    The only question is whether Stafford is as intelligent as Brady and leave enough for the team to actually win a playoff game before he retires. His legacy is wrapped up in this decision. He has enough money to last generations, but what he doesn’t have is a legacy of playoff accomplishments. If he gets too greedy, he never will.

  4. motorcitydiddy says: 5-46 vs teams with winning records…sure the Lions will pay him but if that 5-46 record against winning teams is correct, the Lions better best hope for easy schedules for the length of the extension…not exactly the record of a franchise QB…

  5. The Lions stumbling into so many late wins last year really made things difficult for the organization. Now some fans think it was more than an outlier, and they might waste another 5-6 years with Stafford and a franchise-crippling contract instead of moving on.

  6. The Bears defense had a pathetic 8 INTs kast season which was the worst in the team’s 96 year history.
    Half of those came from Matt Stafford.

  7. I am not a Lions fan, but I’d take Stafford on my team any day. He is a baller.

    He deserves more respect than to embarrass him by touting pro bowl replacement stats. #purpleribbon

  8. Report comment
    MostlyRight says:
    May 4, 2017 10:44 AM
    The Lions stumbling into so many late wins last year really made things difficult for the organization. Now some fans think it was more than an outlier, and they might waste another 5-6 years with Stafford and a franchise-crippling contract instead of moving on.

    ______
    Get rid of Stafford and you end up with a Bears situation. The real problem is Caldwell

  9. Franchise Tags are entirely optional. I cannot stress this enough. No other team can franchise a player on another team. You can only give it to your own players.

    I don’t understand why long-term contracts would be based off the Franchise tag. Yes theoretically speaking Matthew Stafford could make $26.4 million if tagged in 2018 and $31.7 million in 2019. Thus he could potentially make $58 million over two years. However, there is a big problem with this analysis. The Franchise Tag is entirely optional. Teams are not required to use. Just because the Lions could Tag Stafford in 2018 and 2019 does not mean they will. Everyone bashes the Ravens for Joe Flaccos huge contract that he got after winning the Super Bowl and they also bash Drew Brees’ massive contract. Now a contract that you are suggesting would beat the team in cap hell.

    So saying a new contract will pay out the equivalent of two years worth of franchise tags for the first two years of the deal is ignorant. Matthew Stafford will not be getting $29 million a year and No quarterback even makes $25 million a year yet! However saying the deal would have $58 million fully guaranteed at signing is a different story. Expect a 5 year deal in the neighborhood of $90-110 million.

  10. Good guy, above average QB — not something you can say about many NFL-caliber QBs. He’s worth every penny, but man that guy has earned a lot of pennies.

  11. “Stafford should expect $58 million fully guaranteed over the following two seasons as part of a long-term deal.”

    This same stepping off point comes up here every time a big ticket player is looking at impending FA or going into a contract year yet it never really happens. Deciding a thing should happen based on your own logic does not make it so. Could it be that in the real world the variables of the risk vs security equation carry more weight than simple math?

  12. The beauty of being a rival fan is Stafford is good for one thing and that’s losing games. Their fan base doesn’t care winning either as long as Stafford picks up decent stats.

  13. Is it just me? I Would take Bradford 2nd after Rogers in the NFC North.

    Just thinking as a HC, nothing else.

  14. Stafford is an extremely good passer, no doubt.

    But Rodgers and Bradford are far better ball control QB’s.

    On a team with a top defense I can lose 1000 yards or so passing for 10+ less turn overs.

  15. That said, Stafford did get Detroit to the PO’s last season with no defense to speak of…

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