Detroit Lions Make Quarterback Matthew Stafford Highest Paid Player In The NFL

Late last night, ESPN’s Adam Schefter broke the news that a Detriot Lions team source had told him that quarterback Matthew Stafford had agreed to a new five-year contract extension with an average annual value of $27 million. The source also said that this extension would make Stafford the highest paid player in NFL history.

This will vault him past Derek Carr, who recently signed a contract extension with the Oakland Raiders in June that pays him $25 million per year, for the top spot. His new five-year contract extension includes a $50 million signing bonus, the most in NFL history. It also comes with $92 million in guaranteed money, which will eclipse the previous record of $87 million that Andrew Luck received from the Indianapolis Colts back in June of 2016.

The source also told Schefter that Stafford is guaranteed $60.5 million of the $92 million upon signing the contract. At the start of the second year of the contract, which would be March of 2017, he will have seen $86 million of the total guaranteed money. By the start of the third year, he will have gotten the final amount of the total $92 million dollars. Prior to the extension, Stafford was entering the final year of his contract, which was worth $16.5 million.

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford
Matthew Stafford is now the highest paid player in the NFL [Image by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images]
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Stafford, 29, was taken by the Lions with the No. 1 overall pick back in 2009 after playing three seasons at Georgia. He won the starting job as a rookie but only played 13 out of 32 games his first two seasons. Since then, Stafford has not missed a single game.

He has thrown for over 4,000 yards passing and 20 touchdowns each of the last six seasons. He is also one of only five quarterbacks to throw for 5,000 yards in a season, doing so in 2011 with 5,038. Stafford was named the AP Comeback Player of the Year that year and made his only Pro Bowl appearance a few years later in 2014.

Stafford also holds basically all of the major team passing records with the exception of wins by a starting quarterback, with his lack of winning being something that he has long been criticized for. As a starting quarterback, he is 51-58, three wins away from passing Bobby Layne (53-29-2) for the most in team history.

Since being fully healthy in 2011, he has led the Lions to three winning seasons, which all led to playoff losses in the wildcard round of the playoffs. He has also been maligned by many for his record against winning teams (5-46), especially on the road (1-25). However, it is important to remember that in the nine years before he was drafted, the Lions had only one winning season and no playoff appearances.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers celebrates
Stafford's deal gives Aaron Rodgers and other quarterbacks a reason to celebrate [Image by Andrew Weber/Getty Images

With Stafford, Carr, and Luck being paid so much money in just over the last year Schefter pointed out that the market for quarterback salary has basically been reset. This will naturally mean that salaries for the position are going to skyrocket.

In the last decade plus, quarterbacks have already seen a large increase in their average pay and the percentage of a team’s salary cap that they are taking up compared to all other positions. This means that quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Kirk Cousins, and others whose contract expire in the next year or two will see more money thrown their way.

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[Featured Image by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images]