Correcting the record on Matthew Stafford’s contract

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When the issue came up last week regarding possible trade talks involving Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, I checked contract numbers at and to determine: (1) Stafford’s cash payout in 2020; (2) Stafford’s cap number in 2020 if on the team; and (3) Stafford cap charge in 2020 if traded.

Per a league source with knowledge of the deal, the numbers posted by both contract-information websites ($8.3 million, $21.3 million, and $32 million, respectively) are not correct. Instead, the cash payout is $21.5 million, the cap number is $21.3 million, and the dead-cap money if Stafford were to be traded is $24.8 million.

That’s still a major chunk of cap space for the Lions to swallow if they trade Stafford, and there’s still no reason to believe the Lions will trade him.

For 2020, Stafford has a base salary of $15 million that reduces to $7.8 million, if/when a $7.2 million option bonus is exercised. (It stays at $15 million, if the option isn’t exercised.) Stafford also has a $6 million roster bonus due on the fifth day of the league year (March 22); it is a fully-guaranteed roster bonus and will be prorated, but remains earned and payable in 2020. Throw in a $500,000 workout bonus, and Stafford has a total cash payout of $21.5 million in 2020.

Again, the Lions aren’t looking to trade Stafford. Given the somewhat bizarre manner in which recent events unfolded on Thursday and Friday, it wouldn’t be a shock if a trade request ultimately is made by Stafford.

15 responses to “Correcting the record on Matthew Stafford’s contract

  1. Could be they’re more worried about his back and move in a different direction for the face of the franchise at quarterback at pick number 3.

  2. I haven’t done my research, But i do know when Stafford was drafted first overall by the Lions, that was the last year where early draft picks got paid that much money. The new rule came out that made rookies earn it before they got a huge payday from day 1. He has to be one of the highest paid NFL players ever. When he was given that contract he was the highest paid QB in the league. He hasn’t one a playoff game in his tenure. I have seen worse teams with great QB’s take them far so I think it’s time to move on and with the third pick Tua has to be an option. I think with a playoff ready team like the Cowboys with a good offensive line Stafford would work very well. It’s like Phil Jackson, he’s great when given a good hand, not when you give him the Knicks. It just hasnt worked and Stafford as missed half the season two years in a row. The lions have alot of salary cap money and really good draft position. They have to nail it. I think the dream scenario is Washington trades there 2nd pick so someone can jump in front of the Lions and take Tua and we end up with Young, we play out the year and trade Stafford before the trade deadline, tank one more time get a good draft pick, trade players for more picks and restart it the right way.

  3. I never understood the need for a workout bonus. These guys are professional athletes and somehow they need a half million to be sure they show up at the facility? Maybe auto mechanics should do this. I’ll show up but it will be extra to bring my tools…

  4. 2010’s Sam Bradford was the last draft year to score stupid contracts just for being great against COLLEGE KIDS and not having yet thrown a single pass in the NFL.

    $130m for 34-48-1 starting record for Bradford. At least with Stafford, you got a slightly better 69-79-1 for $180m…

  5. hesarussianasshat says:
    February 16, 2020 at 5:42 pm
    I haven’t researched the subject matter, but I love to share my uninformed opinion!
    You could have a great future in DC, for either party.

  6. “Maybe auto mechanics should do this. I’ll show up but it will be extra to bring my tools…”

    You’re missing the point, players are paid weeks 1-17. The work out bonus maybe be excessive but that goes with the profession. Off-season workouts are optional hence the bonus. If you show up without your tools on your off day, it’s probably for the free lunch.

  7. In the last 5 years, Stafford has been sacked over 190 times. His back is an issue. If he keeps playing in Detroit, he won’t be able to walk away from the NFL. That, and wanting to win a Super Bowl, are good reasons for him to want out of Detroit.

    The Lions front office, and the sports media, all seem to be saying that the Lions will be winners next year if Stafford stays. That’s a variation on the nonsense that gets fed to Detroit fans this time of year.

    The Lions should have fired Patricia. He needs to go. Quinn has brought in some talent, but if he has to go to get rid of Patricia then they should both pack their bags. The best possible scenario for the Lions would be new ownership. But here’s the punchline of that joke. New owner will want a new stadium! They always do. And Detroit doesn’t have the muscle to make a new owner pay the entire tab for a new stadium.

  8. The Lions are a historically bad team that has an occasional season that might suggest that they are a legitimate professional football team. Mathew Stafford is an unnecessary luxury for a losing team with a really bad head coach. The Detriot Lions GM and Owner fired Jim Caldwell (36-28-0) with a Lions football team that was competing for a playoff in two of his four seasons as head coach for a knock-off Bill Belichick. Mathew Stafford was playing his best football in three or four seasons but instead of trying to improve the football team they burn it to the ground. So if I’m Mathew Stafford please trade me… Detriot Lions are a dumpster fire!

  9. For all the abuse he gets Jay Cutler has had a comparable career to Matthew Stafford.

    Let that sink in for a moment.

  10. What’s to correct, just padding the drain with more wasted money? The Lions have been wasting money on an average AT BEST QB in the NFL for 12 years and haven’t won playoff game in 63 years (’91 win with B. Sanders excluded.)

  11. danielsong39 says:
    February 17, 2020 at 5:45 am

    For all the abuse he gets Jay Cutler has had a comparable career to Matthew Stafford.

    Let that sink in for a moment.


    Playoff win history:

    Cutler : 1
    Stafford : 0

    Cutler > Stafford

  12. Playoff win history:

    Cutler : 1
    Stafford : 0

    Cutler > Stafford
    Using Playoff wins in football to gauge a QBs value always reveals the lack of knowledge of any football fan.

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