As Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press observes, Stafford’s renegotiation in 2019 gave the Lions the ability to exercise a $7.2MM option bonus by yesterday (Twitter link). That would have resulted in a $15MM total salary, so the club instead elected to make $7.8MM of that amount a signing bonus in order to spread out the cap charge a bit.
Stafford, 32, was the subject of trade speculation earlier this year, though Lions GM Bob Quinn was quick to shoot down those rumors. There was also some thought that Detroit could use its No. 3 overall pick in the 2020 draft to select a future heir to Stafford, but that didn’t happen either. As of right now, it seems as if Stafford will remain in Detroit at least through the end of his current contract, which expires after the 2022 season (with a voidable year in 2023 for cap purposes).
The No. 1 overall pick of the 2009 draft was in the midst of a very strong season in 2019 before a serious back injury suffered in November put an end to his streak of 136 consecutive starts and ultimately landed him on IR. Prior to that, he had compiled nearly 2,500 passing yards and 19 TDs against just five interceptions, good for a career-best 106.0 QB rating.
Stafford is now fully healthy and is ready to lead his team against the division-rival Bears in this afternoon’s season opener.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.