Matthew Stafford

Lions Announce Roster Cuts

In addition to trading offensive tackle Corey Robinson to the Panthers, the Lions have also reduced their roster to 53 players.



Placed on injured reserve:

Placed on PUP:

Waived from injured reserve:

With Rudock out of the picture, Matt Cassel will serve as the backup to quarterback Matthew Stafford. Freeny conceivably could have made the roster based on his familiarity with head coach Matt Patricia, but the Lions went in another direction.

This Date In Transactions History: Matthew Stafford

Matthew Stafford is a rich, rich man. Five years ago today, the quarterback signed his second lucrative contract with the Lions. It was a three-year pact worth $53MM.

Nowadays, players look forward to these paydays, as the NFL’s rookie wage scale limits their earnings. However, back in 2013, Stafford was already playing on a lucrative contract with Detroit. After being selected as the first-overall pick in the 2009 draft, the Georgia product inked a record-breaking six-year deal worth $78MM ($41.7MM in guaranteed money). Stafford didn’t live up to his contract during first two seasons in the NFL. However, he had a breakout campaign in 2011, throwing for 5,038 passing yards and 41 touchdowns.

While he took a step back in 2012, the Lions still felt confident enough to sign Stafford to the three-year extension in 2013. At the time, the quarterback still had two seasons remaining on his contract, so the new deal effectively made it a five-year pact worth $76.5MM. The extension portion of the contract included $41.5MM in guaranteed money and a $27.5MM signing bonus. Signing Stafford early also allowed the Lions to reduce his impending $19.3MM cap hit.

I want to be about the team,” he said at the time (via “I want to help the team out if I can in cap space, whatever it is. I want good players around me as a quarterback. It doesn’t hurt to have weapons and, you know, if I can help out anyway I can, I’m happy to do it.”

In the five years since signing his second extension, Stafford had shown a lot more consistency on the field. The 30-year-old hasn’t missed a game during that span, and he’s averaged around 4,388 yards, 27 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions per season. This improvement played a role in him earning his third contract from the Lions. Last offseason, the quarterback inked a five-year deal worth $135MM ($92MM guaranteed).

Assuming he doesn’t opt out following the 2020 season, there’s a good chance Stafford will continue being the Lions quarterback through the 2022 campaign. He could reach free agency when he’s 35-years-old, meaning Detroit might end up inking their franchise player to his fourth pricey contract.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Lions QB Matthew Stafford

After leaving last week’s loss to the Ravens with a right hand injury, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is still dealing with the issue, which could affect his status for Detroit’s Week 14 matchup against the Buccaneers, as head coach Jim Caldwell told reporters, including Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.Matthew Stafford (Vertical)

“We’ll kind of see what he can do as the week goes on,” Caldwell said. “It’s not like it’s an insignificant injury. That’s not the case. It’s something that he’s going to have to really work at and deal with here during the course of the week to see where he is. He’s not out of the woods.”

Initial reports suggested that while Stafford did not suffer a broken hand, he is hampered by “nerve-type damage.” Additionally, Ian Rapoport of (Twitter link) later indicated that Stafford is also dealing with bruising, which could theoretically affect his ability to hold the football.

If Stafford can’t play on Sunday, the Lions would turn to backup Jake Rudock, who has only attempted five career passes since entering the NFL in 2016. Detroit is nearing the end of its rope in terms of playoff odds, as FiveThirtyEight gives the club only a 10% chance of earning a postseason berth at present.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Bears, Stafford, Falcons, Ellerbe

The Bears most recent loss to San Francisco this afternoon has Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun Times asking, “What’s left to evaluate?” in terms of what the franchise should do this offseason.

Jahns asserts that change is inevitable and that losing to one of the worst teams in the NFL is just a sign that there needs to be at least somewhat of an overhaul in the organization from top to bottom.

The reporter also cites that the team is not handling themselves like a 3-9 roster, as they frequently post videos of themselves fooling around in the locker room and had a heated exchange in practice between current wide receiver Josh Bellamy and the recently released Tre McBride. Despite the walls seeming to close on him, head coach John Fox expressed that his team had a good week of preparation for their Week 13 contest.

“It was hard to even talk to the team after this loss,” Fox said. “We had a great week of preparation. The guys’ mindsets [are] good; they’re working at it.”

Chicago has its young signal caller in Mitch Trubisky, but big changes may be on the horizon elsewhere on the roster and coaching staff considering the troubles the team has gone through in 2017.

  • Coming into Week 13 with a leg injury, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford also suffered “nerve-type damage” to his throwing hand during this afternoon’s game, according to Kyle Meinke of Meinke reports that while the 29-year-old signal caller didn’t suffer any breaks, but there was a lot of pain. “I couldn’t feel it too well, to tell you the truth,” Stafford said. “Had some, like, burning nerve pain, I didn’t know what it was going to be. But X-rays were negative.” With their loss today, Detroit will have to run the table in order to have a shot at the postseason, and it appears they’ll have to do it with their franchise signal caller not even close to full health.
  • There’s going to be at least some shakeup in the Falcons coaching staff this offseason. Quarterbacks coach Bush Hamdan is leaving his position in Atlanta to become the new offensive coordinator at the University of Washington, reports Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. The position became available after the school’s former offensive coordinator, Jonathan Smith, became the head coach at Oregon State. Hamdan will wait till the end of the Falcons season before he departs for his new job.
  • Eagles linebacker Dannell Ellerbe is active for the first time this season for tonight’s game vs. Seattle, reports Jeff McLane of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). The Eagles signed the veteran middle linebacker in the middle of November and he could see significant playing time because current Eagles starter Joe Walker is out with a neck injury. Ellerbe last played for New Orleans in Week 16 of the 2016-17 season.

NFC Notes: Rodgers, Stafford, Bucs

Despite the Packers falling behind in the NFC playoff picture, quarterback Aaron Rodgers was seen throwing the ball around prior to the start of the team’s Sunday night game in Pittsburgh. Now with Rodgers clearly progressing well, the soon-to-be 34-year-old may be ready to return to practice at the end of next week, reports Rob Demovsky of Demovsky passed along that head coach Mike McCarthy dodged a question about if he expected his starting QB to return this season. The earliest date Rodgers could be activated off the injured reserve would be in Week 15.

  • Fellow NFC North signal, Lions QB Matthew Stafford suffered an injury of his own on Thanksgiving, but appears to be “feeling better”, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. The injury appeared to be more serious, but is being classified as a sprained ankle by team doctors. “I’m feeling better,” Stafford said after practice on Monday. “Obviously stuck around in town this weekend, got a bunch of treatment on it. We’ll see. Coach (Jim Caldwell) will put out that report on Wednesday or whatever it is for practice and all that kind of stuff, but it’s getting better and hopefully it’ll continue to get better.” Obviously, the franchise quarterback will not be 100% healthy entering Week 13, but he’s fought through injuries before and it looks like he’ll be healthy enough to take on the Ravens this Sunday.
  • Despite an earlier report that Mississippi State may be targeting Buccaneers offensive coordinator Todd Monken for their heading coaching vacancy, Tampa Bay head coach Dirk Koetter hasn’t heard anything about school’s interest, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link). “To my knowledge, Todd Monken has not been contacted by Mississippi State. That comes from his mouth to my ear.” While the interest may be more in the gathering stage at this point, expect to hear some NFL assistants get some looks from schools as jobs open up. Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin is reportedly garnering interest in Arizona State’s open head coach position.
  • On the field, Stroud also reports that QB Jameis Winston could begin throwing again at practice this week, and could get enough work to start vs. the Packers this weekend. This would be a positive development for the third-year signal caller as he’s missed the team’s last three games with a shoulder injury. While the news is positive, Winston is also dealing with an NFL investigation off the field regarding a sexual assault allegation that stems from when Winston rode in an Uber last year.

NFC Notes: Lions, Shepard, Redskins, Wilson

Recently appearing before a congressional subcommittee regarding brain injuries in football, former Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy said his former organization didn’t want him speaking about CTE.

“The moment I said anything about it, I had two calls telling me I shouldn’t talk about it,” Levy said (via Kyle Meinke of “I don’t know if it was because it was CTE, or if it was because it’s just the general NFL rule of, like, only football. Only talk about football, only think about football. I posted simply the research … and I was told not to talk about it the first day it was out. And I’m just, like, you know, it could have just been locker room culture. Nobody wants to talk about anything other than football. But it didn’t sit well with me when I’m talking about brain injuries.

“It’s my brain. It’s not my shoulder, it’s my brain. It controls everything I do, it controls everything we think, everything we feel. And if I don’t have the right to speak about that as a player, I think it really speaks about the culture of the NFL, of what those conversations are. I think that’s indicative of the conversations that we don’t hear. The closed-door conversations between owners. They still are trying to find ways to silence us.”

The Lions responded to their former player’s statement, saying “[w]e are aware of his comments and we strongly disagree with this claim that anyone from our organization tried to silence him.”

Levy, 30, spent his entire eight-year career in Detroit. After being named as a second-team All-Pro in 2014, the linebacker signed a lucrative extension with the organization. However, a hip, knee, and meniscus injury ultimately forced him to hang up his cleats, and he’s since spent his team advocating for CTE awareness.

“I don’t think the owners are in touch with it,” Levy said. “It’s a business. We’re a number. Our brains and bodies are disposable.”

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFC…

  • Matthew Stafford is listed as questionable for tomorrow’s matchup against the Saints with an ankle injury, but ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets that the Lions quarterback is expected to play. The 29-year-old is one pace for one of his most efficient NFL season, as he’s completed 64.2-percent of his pass attempts for 1116 yards, nine touchdowns, and only one interception.
  • The Giants placed three wideouts (Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall, and Dwayne Harris) on the injured reserve this past week, and it looks like they’ll be without another top receiver for at least this weekend. ESPN’s Jordan Raanan tweets that wideout Sterling Shepard is out for tomorrow’s contest in Denver. The former second-rounder has hauled in 22 receptions for 263 yards and one touchdown this season.
  • Back in 2012, the Redskins had selected quarterback Kirk Cousins in the fourth round despite using the second-overall pick on fellow quarterback Robert Griffin III. However, as former offensive coordinator (and current 49ers head coach) Kyle Shanahan explains, the team was actually eyeing another notable signal-caller with that fourth-round selection. “Actually, our goal was we were going to take Russell Wilson in the fourth round knowing what type of offense we were going to run, and we wanted to pair some guys with that, but he went before that,” Shanahan said (via Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee). “And we had Kirk ranked high. He was there in the fourth. He fell that far, so we thought it made a lot of sense for the organization.”

NFC Notes: Lions, Stafford, Eagles, Seahawks, Bears

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford suffered a hamstring injury and a sprained ankle in Detroit’s 27-24 loss to Carolina, a source tells’s Dan Graziano. Stafford’s status is currently up in the air and his week of practice will determine whether he plays Sunday against New Orleans. The good news is that if Stafford does miss time, it sounds like it won’t be a lengthy absence.

Here’s a look at the NFC:

  • Eagles coach Doug Pederson admitted to reporters that it’s going to be tough to get lineman Lane Johnson through the league’s concussion protocol in time for Thursday night’s game (Twitter link via Eliot Shorr-Parks of
  • Seahawks running back Chris Carson lost a good chunk of money thanks to his injury and the split in his contract, as Joel Corry of (on Twitter) points out. His weekly salary is now based off $348K while on IR rather than $465K.
  • Bears linebacker John Timu, who was carted off the field on Sunday with a scary-looking injury, only suffered a high-ankle sprain (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of He’ll be out 2-4 weeks, which is a much better prognosis than many expected at first.

Extra Points: Beckham, Stafford, Garrett

Last week, the NFL trade marketplace exploded. Thirty deals occurred since August 1, more than twice the average of the previous five years. Several anonymous execs attempted to explain (via Mike Sando of theories behind the uptick. Tanking made its way into the conversation, with an executive citing the Jets, Bills and Browns’ recent moves as examples.

Every owner wants to win,” the exec said, via Sando, “but the real question is: Would you rather go 8-8 or 5-11 plus $30 million? If you are the Jets and you traded Sheldon (Richardson) and got rid of (Eric) Decker, isn’t the owner saying he’d rather go 2-14 and save $40 million than go 6-10? If you are the Bills with Watkins or the Browns with Joe Haden, is it the same thing?

A separate exec said teams are more willing to part with draft picks due to the current CBA’s practice-time limitations making it more difficult to develop players. The elimination of the 75-man cut date, age of certain GMs and GMs authorizing better, easier to trade contracts came up in Sando’s piece.

As the second half of opening night gets underway, here’s the latest from around the league as 28 other teams prepare for their openers.

  • Odell Beckham Jr. faces an uphill battle to play Sunday night, and Ian Rapoport of reports (video link) the Giants superstar wideout suiting up against the Cowboys will leave him at far less than 100 percent. Rapoport added “a lot of things have to align perfectly” for the fourth-year player to play in Week 1. Beckham suffered a high ankle sprain in Cleveland just more than two weeks ago. Beckham caught a career-high 100 passes last season and played in all 16 New York games for the first time.
  • Matthew Stafford‘s NFL-record contract does not contain offset language, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press notes. While Stafford’s five-year Lions extension profiles as a three- or four-year pact due to the structure of the guarantees, the quarterback who is not exactly regarded as a top-tier passer stands to play on this deal into his mid-30s. The Lions would not see another team — in the event Stafford is cut — offset any of the guaranteed money owed to Stafford in the event the sides part ways over the course of this deal. Stafford’s deal will come with cap hits of $16.5MM this season, $26.5MM (2018), $29.5MM (’19), $31.5MM (’20), $30MM (’21) and $23MM (’22).
  • Over the past year, Browns No. 1 pick Myles Garrett has dealt with two ankle injuries and a foot problem. Hue Jackson, though, will not label his top defensive end as injury-prone just yet. “No concern (of Garrett’s injury issues) because I know exactly how it happened,” said Jackson, via Mary Kay Cabot of “If you get somebody thrown into your leg, it could happen to any one of our guys. If you guys would have seen it, it could happen to anybody on our football team. It is just unfortunate it happened to a guy who we wish was out there all of the time. That goes with it.” Cabot added Garrett is expected to be out multiple weeks as a result of the high ankle sprain — Garrett’s second in a year — sustained at practice Wednesday.

Details On Matthew Stafford’s Extension

Matthew Stafford

Reacting to the extension the Lions gave Matthew Stafford, Bob Quinn said Tuesday that the quarterback’s presence was one of the reasons he agreed to become the team’s general manager in 2016 (Twitter link via Justin Rogers of the Detroit News). Quinn could now have Stafford under wraps through 2022 on a pact worth up to $151.5MM, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.

The contract represents a firm three- to four-year commitment, per Florio, who adds that the final two seasons of the accord carry non-guaranteed, team-held options worth $19.5MM and $22.5MM, respectively. Even if the Lions bail on Stafford after 2020, he’ll still have raked in $108.5MM via this agreement. The deal features $92MM in total guarantees and a $50MM signing bonus, Adam Schefter of ESPN tweets. Both of those figures are NFL highs, as are Stafford’s $60.5MM guaranteed at signing and three-year cash flow ($51MM-$67.5MM-$87MM), Tom Pelissero of notes (on Twitter).

Here’s the yearly breakdown, courtesy of Florio:

  • 2017: Fully guaranteed base salary of $1MM.
  • 2018: Guaranteed-at-signing base salary of $9.5MM; guaranteed-for-injury roster bonus ($6.5MM) due on the fifth day of the league year; $500K workout bonus. The roster bonus becomes fully guaranteed on Day 3 of the league year.
  • 2019: Base salary ($13.5MM) is guaranteed for injury at signing and becomes fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the 2018 – not ’19 – league year. The $5.5MM roster bonus is guaranteed for injury at signing and, like the base salary, becomes fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the 2018 league year. There’s also a $500K workout bonus.
  • 2020: $15MM base salary; $6MM roster bonus that’s guaranteed for injury at signing, becomes fully guaranteed in the 2019 league year and is due on the fifth day of the 2020 league year; $500K workout bonus.
  • 2021: $9.5MM base salary, $500K workout bonus.
  • 2022: $12.5MM base salary, $10MM roster bonus due on the fifth day of the league year, $500K workout bonus.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions, Matthew Stafford Agree To Extension

The Lions and Matthew Stafford have agreed to a five-year extension that will make the quarterback the highest-paid player in NFL history, Adam Schefter of reports (on Twitter). Ian Rapoport of confirms (via Twitter) Stafford’s deal surpasses Derek Carr‘s per-year value.

It’s a five-year, $135MM deal for Stafford, Rapoport tweets. That comes out to $27MM per year in new money, putting Detroit’s franchise passer well north of Carr’s $25MM AAV.

This ties Stafford to the Motor City through 2022, and the Lions — per this GIF on their Twitter account, making it official in unique fashion — are pretty excited about it

Stafford and the Lions have been in talks for much of this offseason, and he now has a third Lions contract in place. Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press said (via Twitter) Stafford underwent an MRI earlier today, noting that represented the final step between the signal-caller and the landmark accord.

The Lions quarterback’s contract will raise the NFL annual salary ceiling more than Carr or Andrew Luck‘s deals did, with Carr’s per-year value coming in less than $500K per year more than the Colts passer received in 2016.

Bob Quinn said earlier this month he was confident the sides would reach an extension agreement, and the second-year GM now has his quarterback signed into the next decade. Stafford was entering his contract year. He’s on the Lions’ books for $22MM this season. Detroit entered Monday night with just less than $7MM in cap space, and Justin Rogers of the Detroit News tweets Stafford’s re-up is expected to create approximately $5MM in 2017 space.

Stafford has been the Detroit starter for the past eight seasons, and while he doesn’t have the accolades or the numbers the league’s top-tier quarterbacks do, he had leverage going into a contract year in an extreme sellers’ market. The 2009 No. 1 overall pick has made one Pro Bowl, in 2014, and has a 5,000-plus-yard season (2011) on his resume. He’s the franchise’s all-time leader in passing yards as well. The Lions are also just 51-58 during Stafford’s tenure, but the quarterback capitalized on being a prime passer with leverage.

The Georgia product, though, shook the injury concerns that plagued him in his early 20s. After playing in just 13 games combined in 2009-10, Stafford has suited up for every Lions game since. While he’s yet to win a playoff game, he helped the franchise out of its 2000s abyss and guided Detroit to playoff berths in 2011, ’14 and ’16 after the franchise went 11 seasons without a playoff berth.

This deal represents major news for the next crop of quarterbacks who are in or nearing contract years, and the financial landscape’s shifted to point where $30MM AAV will not be an outrageous figure in the near future. Considering the cap could push $180MM in 2018, the quarterback market figures to further escalate.

Kirk Cousins could become a free agent next year, and Drew Brees‘ year-to-year arrangement with the Saints will require another contract if he’s to stay in New Orleans. Matt Ryan will enter 2018 in a contract year — if no extension is reached in 2017. Aaron Rodgers‘ deal expires after the 2019 season. So does Tom Brady‘s, if he’s intent to play through that point.

And this group of (largely) more accomplished players saw the bar raise considerably Monday night.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.