NFC North Notes: Stafford, Patterson, Jeffery

Andrew Luck is now the highest-paid player in the league after agreeing to a long-term extension with the Colts yesterday, but former NFL agent Joel Corry believes Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford could soon be the next to hold that title, as Justin Rogers of writes. With the salary cap continuing to rise, the “highest-paid” moniker often falls on whichever player — or typically, whichever quarterback — has signed the most recent deal. Stafford and Luck have posted comparable statistics, and given how often Detroit management has discarded the notion of quarterback victories, Rogers doesn’t believe the club would hold Stafford’s win-loss record against him in negotiations. Stafford is signed through 2017, with cap hits north of $22MM in each of the next two seasons.

Here’s a look at a few more items coming out of the NFC North:

  • Any way you look at it, Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson has been a disappointment since the club selected him in the first round of the 2013 draft. But now that Minnesota has declined Patterson’s fifth-year option, meaning he’ll become a free agent after the upcoming season, Patterson is planning to make the most of what could possibly be his final season with the team. “Sometimes you can be here and you feel like you’ve got to be on the team,” Patterson told Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press. “You feel like, ‘Yeah, I’m a first-round pick, I’m on the team.’ Things like that, sometimes they make you not work hard, they make you don’t want to do things, make you be lazy.” Patterson is an excellent return man, but he won’t have a shot to score in free agency unless he contributes in the passing game.
  • Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery signed his franchise tender, guaranteeing himself nearly $15MM for the 2016 season, but then chose to stay away from Chicago’s voluntary workouts. That course of action doesn’t send a great message as Jeffery continues to negotiate a long-term contract with the Bears, opines Rob Demovsky of Jeffery has until July 15 to hammer out an extension with Chicago, and recent reports indicate that a deal is still possible.
  • Sam Shields‘ four-year, $39MM extension with the Packers could set a baseline in talks between cornerback Darius Slay and the Lions, as Jeff Dickerson of writes. Shields garnered only $12.5MM in guarantees on that deal, and given how salaries have risen in the two-plus years since it was signed, Slay would probably ask for more. Slay recently indicated that he wants to be paid as a “top-seven” cornerback — on an annual basis, that would put him around $13MM, while in terms of guarantees, Slay would presumably want more than $20MM.
  • The Vikings announced two changes to their personnel department on Thursday, stating that they’ve promoted Scott Kuhn to director of analytics/pro scout, and Anne Doepner to director of football administration.
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