Lions, Matthew Stafford agree to $135M extension

The Lions were never very concerned about their ability to keep franchise quarterback , comfortably stating their confidence in getting a deal done over the summer while admitting it might take the combination to the bank vault to do it.

Lions, Matthew Stafford agree to $135M extension

On Monday, they started gathering the money bags.

Detroit and Stafford agreed to terms on a five-year contract, the team announced Monday evening. The deal is worth $135 million with $92 million in guarantees, making Stafford the highest-paid player in the league, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per a source informed of the deal. The $27 million-per-year average surpasses a deal signed earlier this summer by Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, which pays the Oakland passer an annual average of $25 million.

It also opens up the possibilities for future larger paydays for the league’s other upper-echelon passers, such as Aaron Rodgers and , among others. It’s only a matter of time before we end up seeing a $30 million per year quarterback in the NFL.

Detroit, meanwhile, hands out its second key contract extension of the offseason, though the deal given to safety Glover Quin (two years, $13 million) pales in comparison. While we don’t yet know the breakdown of the contract, Stafford’s existing cap number of $22 million will undoubtedly rise come 2018.

More importantly, though, is Detroit securing the 29-year-old Stafford before the start of the season, eliminating uncertainty and pressure that might have been on the quarterback to produce a career season. The biggest remaining key to Detroit’s success in the short and long term is staying healthy, which hasn’t worked out so well on both sides of the ball. Effectively replacing Taylor Decker (Greg Robinson has been a mixed bag so far) and protecting the $135 million man will go a long way for a Lions team that has weapons offensively — , Marvin Jones, Eric Ebron, Theo Riddick and the potential of Ameer Abdullah and Kenny Golladay — and has a reliable, strong-armed quarterback under center who has flourished under offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter.

Detroit Lions Jersey

Nike Lions #9 Matthew Stafford Gray Youth Stitched NFL Limited Rush Jersey

Nike Lions #9 Matthew Stafford Gray Youth Stitched NFL Limited Rush Jersey

Since entering the NFL as the first overall pick in 2009, Stafford has earned three lucrative multi-year pacts with the . He cashed in after the draft, signing a five-year, $72 million contract that pre-dated the fiscally restrictive rookie wage scale by two years. (Hooray for timing!) He signed a three-year, $53 million extension in 2013 that paid him like a borderline superstar he hadn’t yet become.

On Tuesday, he inked a five-year, $135 million extension that gives him both the highest average annual salary and the highest total contract among quarterbacks. If you haven’t been paying attention to the financial realities of the quarterback position in recent years, this was probably shocking. But it really shouldn’t be. Teach your children to be strong-armed and proficient field generals and you needn’t worry about the uncertain fate of social security.

As expected, the Stafford hot takes are coming at a fast and furious pace today. To help put Stafford’s career in perspective, we connected with our friends at the NFL Media Research Department to look at the good, bad and ugly of Detroit’s financially pliable franchise passer.

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Rookie receiver Kenny Golladay caught the eye of the man formerly known as Ochocinco. Johnson heaped praise on the Lions’ 6-foot-4, third-round pick.

Later Johnson tweeted a video of one Golladay catch, writing: “I’m not a scout but I know my s—, Golladay is gone [sic] be special.”

Golladay has earned praise throughout offseason workouts and into training camp. The rookie’s size and length is desperately needed in a munchkin Lions receiving corps. According to MLive’s Kyle Meinke, Golladay has taken most of his reps with the second team during camp. It wouldn’t surprise our , however, if the rookie eventually took over the Anquan Boldin-role from last season.

“I’ve seen steady improvement,” coach Jim Caldwell said of his rookie receiver. “He’s got a ways to go yet, but he’s got height. He’s got ability. He’s got the drive and work ethic to try and improve each and every day.”

If Golladay continues to impress in the preseason, he could thrive as a big target for Matthew Stafford, especially in the red zone where the Lions were mediocre last season.

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