Matthew Stafford’s contract could be redone this offseason

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Last year, the Lions needed to give wide receiver Calvin Johnson a new deal in order to free up cap room to fill out the rest of the roster.

Johnson wound up with a fat new contract as a result, something that may have quarterback Matthew Stafford licking his chops right now. The Lions are heading into the offseason over the cap with 23 current members of the roster slated for unrestricted free agency, a pairing that doesn’t bode well for the overall health of their roster. Chopping down Stafford’s $20.3 million cap number via a new deal is one of the easiest ways to remedy the situation. General Manager Martin Mayhew sounds like a man planning to do just that.

“It’ll be a challenge. It was a challenge last year. As we sat here last year we had $60 million in four players and half the cap was in four players. We didn’t have Cliff Avril signed, we didn’t have Jeff Backus signed, we didn’t have Stephen Tulloch signed, we didn’t have Shaun Hill signed. Guys that all were important guys to us, but they weren’t signed and we had half our cap in four guys,” Mayhew said, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “I thought (team president Tom Lewand) did a great job renegotiating some contracts. Obviously, getting Calvin done was a big accomplishment for us and we freed up a little bit of room. But it was just enough room really to operate and to get our own guys back. This year will be somewhat similar.”

Stafford won’t be the only player impacted by the Lions’ race to get under the cap, but he’ll likely wind up being the most meaningful one since his cap number is so large and the team isn’t going to be cutting him outright. The same might not be true of defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch and other pricey Lions as the team comes off a 4-12 season.

10 responses to “Matthew Stafford’s contract could be redone this offseason

  1. They can’t manage the clock, the offense, the defense, the special teams, or the team when they are off the field. And now they are going to attempt to manage the star quarterback’s contract?!?!?! Old man Ford needs to let go and give the team to Junior already.

  2. Giving Calvin Johnson a $132 million dollar contract with $60 million guaranteed was a huge mistake by the Lions because it cripples them vis-a-vis the salary cap. But I guess if the Lions hadn’t signed him they would have had a 2-14 season instead of 4-12.

  3. As a Lions fan, I’m *sort of* glad he had a down season since it should make his extension a little more affordable.

  4. If Stafford keeps regressing, this might not be all sunshine and peaches like they are selling Calvin’s contract… but let’s be honest, Calvin got paid and went out and broke receiving records. At least he’s earning that money. Hopefully Stafford follows suit.

  5. The lions braniacs worked an apx. 12m a year cap number for 2011 up to this 20m cap number to make a strong run at 4-12.Crank up the circus music !

  6. Oh man. If they are unable to restructure some contracts and resign some of these looming free agents they might MISS the playoffs next year! Right Mjkelly…. Lolz

  7. Still have the same opinion since 2 seconds after we drafted him, and that’s to trade him and let somebody else overpay him. The Lions can do better at QB and he has already received a gargantuan amount of money that was not earned or justified. We were 4-12 for a reason, and QB is the most important position on the team. Either you get a good QB, or you find the guys that can help him develop into a good one. You have to do one or the other and we are missing the boat on both and by a longshot.

    It’s time for this team to wake up and re-design for something that works and creates a dynamic and deadly efficient offense. We are wasting Calvin Johnson the same way we wasted Barry Sanders, and this is unacceptable and extremely frustrating. We should have already won a title or two by now with the blessings we were given of all of these high draft picks.

  8. Clearly, the Lions are a far better team than 4-12 and this nightmare season could really motivate them in 2013. I hope they can work out the finances and keep their best players. Stafford is very young and has the makings of a great QB. I really think he could be special if handled right.

  9. Alex Karras
    Dick “Night Train” Lane
    Billy Simms
    Barry Saunders
    Jason Hanson
    And now for this generation of Lions faithful-
    Calvin Johnson

    If only there was a secondary that could play, a running game that really contributed, no wide nine and an OC that had more than three plays (throw to Calvin, Run up the middle, if that fails, throw to Calvin again until it works).

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