The full Matthew Stafford contract details

Getty Images

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has traded a $16.5 million base salary in 2017 plus the ability to play the Kirk Cousins year-to-year franchise tag game for a new five-year extension. Per a source with knowledge of the agreement, here are the full details of what is a six-year contract between the Lions and the first overall pick in the 2009 draft, with a full value of $151.5 million.

1. $50 million signing bonus.

2. $1 million 2017 base salary, fully guaranteed.

3. $6.5 million roster bonus due on the fifth day of the 2018 league year. The bonus is guaranteed for injury at signing, and it become fully-guaranteed on the third day of the 2018 league year.

4. $9.5 million 2018 base salary, fully guaranteed at signing.

5. $5.5 million roster bonus due on the fifth day of the 2019 league year. The bonus is guaranteed for injury at signing, and it becomes fully-guaranteed on the fifth day of the 2018 (not 2019) league year.

6. $13.5 million 2019 base salary, guaranteed for injury at signing. It becomes fully-guaranteed on the fifth day of the 2018 (not 2019) league year.

7. $6 million roster bonus due on the fifth day of the 2020 league year. The bonus is guaranteed for injury at signing, and it becomes fully-guaranteed in the 2019 league year.

8. $15 million 2020 base salary.

9. $10 million roster bonus due on the fifth day of the 2021 league year.

10. $9.5 million 2021 base salary.

11. $10 million roster bonus due on the fifth day of the 2022 league year.

12. $12.5 million 2022 base salary.

13. $500,000 workout bonuses in 2018 through 2022.

Here are a few highlights of the deal.

1. The $50 million signing bonus is the most in league history, eclipsing the $40 million given last year by the Ravens to Joe Flacco.

2. The $51 million to be paid in the first year surpasses the $44 million in first year cash flow given to Flacco and Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.

3. $60.5 million is fully guaranteed at signing.

4. Given the structure, Stafford will have $86 million locked in as fully guaranteed in March of 2018. (Luck had $60 million triggered by year two; Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has $47 million.) The final $6 million becomes fully guaranteed in March of 2019.

5. All guarantees have no offset language, which means that if he’s released, he’ll be allowed to double dip.

6. As a practical matter, it’s a firm three-year commitment and likely at least four years. The guarantees expire after 2020, making the last two years (at $19.5 million and $22.5 million) team-held options. However, with significant roster bonuses due in March of both seasons, the Lions will have to make their decision quickly.

So that’s the deal. Yes, he could have played out his current deal and forced the Lions to tag him for up to three seasons. But Stafford has shifted the injury risk for the next three years (plus) to the Lions, he’s pocketed $50 million out of the gates, and he’ll likely make $108.5 million through 2020.

55 responses to “The full Matthew Stafford contract details

  1. In 8 yrs in Detroit Stafford hasn’t gotten much help from run game. Only 7x has Lions RB rushed for 100 yards in game.

  2. And he’s never even sniffed the SB. At least Flacco had a nice playoff run for a few years there. Stafford’s contract is a testament to how starved teams are for QB talent.

  3. That is a lot of money no doubt but at least I can say we’re not the Jets or the Jags who are completely rudderless at the position. Add the Browns into that too once Kizer falls on his face.

  4. Every negotiation needs to be looked at in it’s own context AND point in time. Beyond all the foolish “he’s not worth it. not a top 5…blah, blah, blah,” it’s a reasonable deal for where the market is RIGHT NOW. More importantly it provides security for both team and player as well as cost certainty for cap planning going forward. The Lions are a work in progress not a finished product. Quinn has his cornerstone in place at a number that is far from crippling, essentially $10M more per than it was with a an ever increasing cap. Regardless of the current sticker shock, that number will look pretty tame in a couple of years.

  5. Michael LaRocca, Technical Editor says:
    August 29, 2017 at 11:26 am
    The highest paid player in NFL history still makes significantly less than the worst commissioner in NFL history.
    ——————————

    And other than a gratuitous Goodell shot, which we all enjoy, how does that move the narrative forward Michael? In our never ending quest for a good apples to oranges analogy it would be helpful if you could flesh that out for us.

  6. I’m happy to see Mathew get this deal, but I hope that it doesn’t suck up too much of the cap space that is needed to put a better team around him. Having a great QB doesn’t matter if there is nobody decent to throw to.

  7. Michael LaRocca, Technical Editor says:
    August 29, 2017 at 11:26 am
    The highest paid player in NFL history still makes significantly less than the worst commissioner in NFL history.
    ———————————–
    Not to be a Goodell defender, but, a businessman. NFL revenues have increased, under the current commissioner, from $4 billion in 2001 to $12 billion in 2015. THAT is the statistic which he is judged by by the owners and players, whose shares have increased from $2 billion to $6 billion.
    Any corporate CEO who triples your income in 15 years will be acclaimed by the shareholders of said corporation as a genius.

  8. By replacing his base salary for 2017 (was $16.5 million, now just $1 million), they actually cut $15.5 million from the prior contract. So the net result is 5 years/$119.5 million, or $23.9 million/year.

  9. Alright Derek, the tag of leagues highest paid player has been removed. Let’s go out and win some games now, so we can revisit this in 4 years.

  10. RegisHawk says:
    August 29, 2017 at 12:07 pm
    By replacing his base salary for 2017 (was $16.5 million, now just $1 million), they actually cut $15.5 million from the prior contract. So the net result is 5 years/$119.5 million, or $23.9 million/year.
    _________________________
    This is called living on BIG
    CREDIT!!! And that means you had better know what you are doing. Bottom line is the lions are going to have all that money hit the salary cap. Period. This means the team will NOT BE ABLE TO DROP HIM SHOULD HE SUFFER CRIPPLING injuries or nagging injuries, etc. I think it is STUPID!!! They are mortgaging the future. Maybe with the restructure they will be able to put better talent around him this year! But eventually they are going to go through some very rough times-once again. Salary cap hell is on the way.

    If Tom Brady required that much money, Bellichick would let him test the market for sure first. And no doubt some stupid team would think they could overpay even Brady and win a SB!!! Not!!! There is a formula to winning the SB and the QB is only a piece of it. The coach is huge part as well. the team that would over pay Brady would end up losing to the NE patriots because they have the right formula and even have a clue as to what it is.
    The smarter thing to do is to let his a$$ PROVE what the market would pay and NEVER tag him. Until these stupid scared teams stop considering tags for QB’s not named Brady, they are going to put a weight on their own necks and jump overboard. Let him test the market and if another team is willing to pay this much then so be it. use all that money to build a solid defense and overall team like the Texans-who have performed better than the Lions WITH their QB!!!!

  11. I was driving in my car listening to a Stafford apologist who tried to argue, if you throw out his first 2 years, he’s a .500 qb. If you have to work that hard to justify a guy, he’s probably not that good. This guys a gunslinger and that is all he will ever be. He will put up big yards every year and get flushed down the toilet during every playoff run. You can make the argument that he hasn’t had much of a run game, but did Brees, Brady or Manning (both of them really) have a “bell cow” running back to speak of?

  12. staffordisbetterthanyourteamsqb says:
    August 29, 2017 at 11:40 am

    Queue the idiots talking about his playoff record and record against winning teams even though he’s one the best qbs in the league and their team would have done the exact same thing in this situation

    ___________________________________________________

    Stop being such a baby! I like Stafford and its the going rate to keep him in Detroit, but no human being is worth this kind of money, especially when he has done absolutely nothing to earn that kind of money other then be our best chance. If he ties up all this money the next five years and we don’t win the Superbowl, well see how happy you and all your other profiles you have on here feel, you toolbox!

  13. lionsfan54 says:
    August 29, 2017 at 11:28 am

    Not much of a run game, but the best receiver of this era with Megatron. This vid says he is 5-46 against a team with a winning record. He has had a LOT of receiver help (like Daunte Culpepper getting to pro bowls because of Randy Moss). Stafford is solid, not top 10 in the league, no where NEAR even $100M deal.

  14. What big game has this guy ever won? His stats are exclusively made up of garbage time / catch up football.

  15. willycents says:
    August 29, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    Michael LaRocca, Technical Editor says:
    August 29, 2017 at 11:26 am
    The highest paid player in NFL history still makes significantly less than the worst commissioner in NFL history.
    ———————————–
    Not to be a Goodell defender, but, a businessman. NFL revenues have increased, under the current commissioner, from $4 billion in 2001 to $12 billion in 2015. THAT is the statistic which he is judged by by the owners and players, whose shares have increased from $2 billion to $6 billion.
    Any corporate CEO who triples your income in 15 years will be acclaimed by the shareholders of said corporation as a genius.
    ………….
    Roger Goodell money

  16. regaliaimagewear says:
    August 29, 2017 at 12:54 pm
    All that should matter is can we win a SB with his contract. No.

    1 0 Rate This

    ———–

    And that is the exact reason why Lions fans should be incensed that Stafford went so selfish here.

  17. I’m better than you because I like a better football team than you says:
    August 29, 2017 at 12:47 pm
    Craziest part of the deal? The $50M signing bonus tops the previous high given to JOE FLACCO.

    2 0 Rate This

    ————

    And that right there is what started all of this in 2013:

    Ozzie Newsome never budgeted for Flacco going into 2012. The Ravens ignored the extension, waited, got burned, and have slowly fell into cap hell to what you see today.

    Throw in the 9.5 mil cap hit in 2015 after Goodell tried to help Baltimore cheat in the summer of 2014, and voila, that one hurt, too.

    To think Ozzie Newsome is the person solely responsible for contributing to the drop in ratings, a bad parity and a crap product, is really quite the little story, isn’t it?

  18. RegisHawk says:
    August 29, 2017 at 12:07 pm
    By replacing his base salary for 2017 (was $16.5 million, now just $1 million), they actually cut $15.5 million from the prior contract. So the net result is 5 years/$119.5 million, or $23.9 million/year.
    ———————

    Uhh, they didn’t cut anything. They converted $15.5 from salary to bonus, as in paid up front.

  19. Congrats, Stafford! Your team might not be able to afford many blue chip players to join your roster, but you will be able to afford a fleet of Ferraris!

  20. Every time an upper echelon QB gets a new deal he becomes the highest paid player in the league. People get all wound up about how that QB will kill the cap and the team will never recover, bla bla bla. This is the going rate. Every team has pretty much the same thing happening, so it’s still pretty much a level playing field.

    I keep hearing how Brady took several “team friendly” deals and I honestly don’t know anything about his contract(s) but I would suspect they just keep pushing the money and the cap hit further and further out. If that’s the case, that cap hit will eventually come home to roost. Of course IF there’s a way to outsmart the cap, I have no doubt whatsoever that Bill Belichick will be the first guy to figure it out… and that’s meant as a compliment.

  21. Hey, he’s getting paid market rates. Good for him. Makes a guy wonder what Rodgers is really worth though, cause Stafford isn’t near as good.

  22. Stafford’s setting all these “highest” contract numbers without being the best, or close to it.

    Also, guarantees are only important if he isn’t actually worth the money the contract calls for. If he’s healthy and playing at a high level, he’ll be on the team and will earn every penny. The guarantees only come into play if he’s unproductive or otherwise not earning the money.

  23. This was the only move.

    Here’s the list of active super bowl winning QBs:

    Tom Brady
    Ben Roethlisberger
    Eli Manning
    Russel Wilson
    Aaron Rogers
    Drew Brees
    Joe Flacco

    ×5;2;2;1;1;1;1, rings won, respectively

    ×18;14;14;6;13;17;10, years exp

    92 years exp total, 13 years average

    Can’t even begin to tally how many starting QBs the rest of the league has churned through in that time. Getting one of these guys is super rare, amd it isn’t easy either. Lots of #1s not on that list, lots of big earners not on that list. And several of those guys will be gone in the next few years. Stafford has shown he is capable of being that kind of steady presence. There’s never been a QB controversy with him there. So the Lions or any other team would be clinically insane to let him go and get back on the QB lottery carousel.

    He’s not the best. Only one guy can be, and not everyone can even agree on who that is (though most would say Brady even at age 40).

    Stafford is worth every cent, and there’s ~20 teams that wish they had a guy like him to spend on. And I think all but a couple of posters here know that. It is the reality of the game, and only the Packers and Patriots have had good enough QB play for long enough that 20-somethings fans might not know better.

  24. Astounding that Simms or anyone else would say that Brady is not the top quarterback in the game right now. Yes, Rodgers is very good, but did Simms watch Super Bowl LI, particularly the second half?

  25. You have to go all the way back to the 2000 Ravens and 2002 Bucs to find teams that won with inexpensive non-franchise QBs, or young franchise QBs about to hit big paydays.

    Blather on all you want about the formula for success.. THE key ingredient is a franchise QB. Simply can’t win without one.

  26. This contract will probably set your team back for a while.
    =====

    They been to 1 Championship Game in 60 years.

    They’ve made the Playoffs 12 times over that span.

  27. Cap hell.

    This was a Ford Family contract. No way Bob Quinn comes from the Pats organization and sees this as good business.
    =====

    They’re just shy of $10mil under after the deal.

    This puts them at $35mil for next season, WITHOUT a cap increase.

    GO back to Goodell bashing and Patriot slurping.

  28. I keep hearing how Brady took several “team friendly” deals and I honestly don’t know anything about his contract(s) but I would suspect they just keep pushing the money and the cap hit further and further out.
    =====

    That is EXACTLY what has happened. To the letter.

    His dead cap number was $40.7 mil last year, $28 mil this year.

    He’s due for a payday next year. It will be interesting if the same Pats fans will be talking about how team friendly that deal is as New England pays huge money for a 41 year-old QB.

  29. Ok, now is Stafford gonna come out like carr and in multiple interviews talk about how team friendly his deal is and how he could have gotten more money if he wanted to?

  30. I guess a lot of people around here don’t get the salary cap . Here’s his cap hit per year
    2017- $16.5 mil a savings of $5.5 mil against the cap based on salary before new contract
    2018-$26.5 mil, which is close to the franchise tag he would have made without a new deal
    2019-$29.5 mil, which is less then if he was franchised again without new deal
    2020-$31.5 mil, which is less then if he was franchised again
    2021-$30 mil, the Lions could walk away from the deal at this point with a $10 mil cap hit
    2022-$23 mil. Considering they got a cap savings in year 1 and potentially year three and four if they franchised him 3 yrs in a row this is a cap friendly deal considering what the salary cap for the league and the salary of QB’s will be in 2020 when the Lions cap takes the full brunt of the contract for salary cap purposes . Thinking Quinn did a great job with this deal.

  31. publicenemy#1 says:
    August 29, 2017 at 11:24 am
    PROUD OF YOU LIONS! NOW LETS GO GET THAT NFC NORTH TITLE, FOLLOWED BY THE SUPERBOWL!
    ————————————

    I doubt they win the NFC North let alone the Super Bowl. Even if they manage to make the playoffs, they are historically a one and done team with this guy at the helm. Paying him the more than everyone else doesn’t somehow make him better than everyone else.

  32. There are only a few bigger boneheads than Chris Simms

    “Hey he won 4 games he wasn’t supposed to” Chris Simms in response to Staffords 5-46 against teams with winning records.

    Only Simms could take Staffords 5-46 record against teams with winning records and spin it into a positive. Absolutely incredible. LMAO

    He blames the Lions poor performance on Stafford not having much help, but great QB’s make due. Brady was one dropped pass from going to what would have been his 4th trip to the SB in 6 years… and his #1 receiver was RECHE CALDWELL. Ol’ bug-eyes dropped a soft pass that hit him right between the numbers. He was squared up to the QB and dropped one of the easiest passes ever thrown in pro football… but he did still make the playoffs and came within that 1 dropped pass of getting to the SB (06 Indy at Indy I believe?)

    There were a number of years Brady had little to work with, but he made the playoffs 14 of the 15 years he played the whole season. The only true #1 receiver he really ever had was Randy Moss very near the end of Moss’ career. Everyone else was anywhere from just average to decent, reliable JAGs.

    Stafford not having an all star cast is no excuse for his poor performance vs winning teams nor his shutout in the few times he made it to the playoffs

  33. hang3xc , you lose all credibility when you try to make the point that the Patriots and Lions had similar talent . I guess you forget about things like an offensive line , a decent running game , a defense that stops the opposition to create good field position, and depth that can maintain continuity and performance when injuries occur to just name a few things that impact an offense that you don’t seem to get .

  34. It’s also a cap-friemdly deal. He just gave the Lions another $5.5M in cap space for 2017. The numbers are insane, but not as insane as the next QB contract will be. My concern is that he isn’t really doing anything of value to society for all of that money. It’s not like he’s curing diabetes.

    These high priced deals for entertainers and athletes are like lotto tickets. The ultimate purpose they serve is to mislead people into believing that anyone can become one of the modern-day royal families who hoard all of our wealth.

  35. finnymcphin says:

    Uhh, they didn’t cut anything. They converted $15.5 from salary to bonus, as in paid up front.
    ———————

    You’re just looking at the buckets from a different angle. The fact remains that his base salary for the last year of the prior contract got cut by $15.5 million. Either you acknowledge:

    a) He lost $15.5 while getting a 5 year/$135 million contract – which results in a 5 year, $119.5 million deal, or $23.9 million/year.

    or

    b) He got the money, but it was part of what he was already due from his last deal – in which case you should be saying $135 million over 6 years instead of 5, or $22.5 million/year.

    The net result is the same. The first premise allows people (read: QB and agent) to brag about the size of the contract. The second allows people (read: team and GM) to downplay the ultimate hit.

    This is standard procedure for cooking the books…they put a large chunk of the money on the previous contract’s year so they could float a ton of bonus money. A more subtle effect is that they end up raising the average salary for QBs, which will definitely affect negotiations for the next few QB contracts coming up (Rodgers, Ryan, etc.)

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!