Matthew Stafford

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 ESPN.com) 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 NFL.com 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 cleveland.com. “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 NFL.com 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 ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). Ian Rapoport of NFL.com 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.

Lions’ Matthew Stafford Hasn’t Set Deadline

There’s still a big gap between the Lions and Matthew Stafford in contract talks, but the quarterback is staying patient for now. Stafford says that he has not imposed a deadline for extension talks.Matthew Stafford (vertical)

[RELATED: Lions Notes: LTs, Tabor, Quin]

As far as the deadline goes, it’s something I’ll talk to my agent about,” Stafford told Alex Marvez of SiriusXM. “I’m not worried about it at the moment. The contract, it’s really not too difficult for me to not think about. The only time I really talk about it is with [the media]. Guys in the locker room know it’s all about football. They’ve all been through these situations before. I’m just trying to do everything I possibly can to be as good a football player as I can be and lead our team.

Sometimes, players will ask that extension talks cease before Week 1 in order to avoid distractions during the season. It’s also a smart way to hurry things along when talks stall. Stafford didn’t guarantee that he won’t set a deadline, but it’s noteworthy that he has not done that yet.

Stafford, 29, is coming off of the best season of his career. An extension with the Lions would likely make him the highest-paid player in the NFL. And, when all is said and done, he could wind up as the league’s top earner of all-time.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Stafford, Donald, Packers, Cards

There have been talks throughout the offseason that the Lions are confident that they’ll get franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford to ink an extension. General manager Bob Quinn expressed those same sentiments to fans on Saturday prior to the team’s “mock game.”

“Matt has taken this situation with his contract in stride,” Quinn said (via ESPN.com’s Michael Rothstein). “It doesn’t bother him and it doesn’t bother me. I’m confident we’ll get something done.

“There’s a long way to go on that, but it’s good on both sides.”

Stafford, 29, is set to enter the final year of his contract, and Rothstein writes that the former No. 1 overall pick could be in line to become the NFL’s highest-paid player. We learned earlier this week that there was still a “substantial gap” between Stafford’s asking price and Detroit’s offer.

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the NFL…

  • We learned last night that the Rams and Aaron Donald remain on “amicable” terms despite the interior defender’s holdout. Despite the relative optimism, head coach Sean McVay said not much as changed in regards to negotiations. “Not to this point,” McVay said (via Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com). “Kind of still same as. Hopeful and waiting for some day when we get that good news, but in the meantime we move on and like we’ve said before – confident that he’s working hard while he’s not here and trust that when we do get that worked out hopefully he’ll be ready to go and there won’t be any setbacks. It’ll be good to get him if we’re able to come to that decision and get that thing done.”
  • Cardinals linebacker Deone Bucannon is on track to return for Week 1, Bruce Arians said (via Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com). Bucannon is on the Active/PUP list presently after undergoing ankle surgery in May, and while Arians hopes the safety-turned-linebacker can have a 10-day preparation period before the regular season, the goal remains Week 1.
  • Tight end Emanuel Byrd will be auditioning for the Packers, reports Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). The undrafted free agent out of Marshall initially signed with the Chiefs in May, but he was waived by the organization in late July.
  • Hall of Famer and former Eagles executive Jim Gallagher died Saturday at the age of 88 (via Philly.com’s Paul Domowitch). Gallagher started working for the organization back in 1949, and he served as the Eagles’ personnel director, public relations director, director of sales and marketing, and director of alumni relations until his retirement in 1995. “Jim was one of the kindest and most remarkable men you could ever meet,’’ Eagles owner Jeff Lurie said. “His dedication to this organization went far beyond the 46 years he spent here, and his impact was far-reaching…Everyone who was fortunate enough to meet Jim knows how much he loved the Eagles, but also how much he truly cared for and invested in the lives of others. To borrow one of his famous phrases, Jim was a ‘first-round pick.”

Sam Robinson contributed to this report.

Matthew Stafford, Lions Apart In Talks

While the Lions and quarterback Matthew Stafford are involved in “active” discussions, a “substantial gap” exists between Stafford’s asking price and Detroit’s offer, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link).Matthew Stafford (vertical)

Although “internal optimism” exists with the Lions front office that a deal will ultimately get done, Stafford last week there is “no timetable” guiding negotiations between the two sides. That lack of a schedule could theoretically be due to the difference between Stafford’s demands and Detroit’s comfort zone, although the Lions are apparently willing to meet nearly any asking price on the part of Stafford. Team president Rod Wood said earlier this year that he’s “comfortable” making Stafford the highest-paid player in the league, which would entail agreeing to an annual salary in excess of $25MM.

Stafford, 29, is fresh off the best season of his eight-year career, as he posted a 70.5 total quarterback rating (eighth in the league) while finishing 11th in adjusted net yards per attempt. While his touchdown percentage dropped to four percent, his interception percentage also decreased from 2.2% in 2015 to 1.7% in 2016. All told, Stafford put up 4,327 yards and 27 touchdowns while completing 65.3% of his passes (although his effective completion percentage was sixth-worst among starting quarterbacks, per Cian Fahey of Pre-Snap Reads).

If the Lions fail to reach an extension with Stafford, they’ll have the option of using the franchise tag in 2018. That tender will come with a $22MM+ price tag attached, but given that Detroit currently projects to have a league-most ~$76MM in cap space next season, the cost shouldn’t present a problem.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions Notes: Stafford, Quin, Caldwell, Decker

Although “internal optimism” exists regarding the Lions’ extension talks with quarterback Matthew Stafford, the veteran signal-caller says there’s “no timetable” guiding the negotiations, according to Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com (Twitter link). Although Stafford admitted that his agent Tom Condon is currently discussing a deal with Detroit, he told reporters he wasn’t sure if he’d allow negotiations to continue once the regular season gets underway, as Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com reports. Last month, Lions president Rod Wood implied he’d be “comfortable” making Stafford the NFL’s highest-paid quarterback, which would mean agreeing to an annual salary north of $25MM.

Here’s more from the Motor City:

  • Extension discussions are also underway between the Lions and safety Glover Quin, and Quin is confident an agreement will ultimately be hammered out, tweets Kyle Meinke of MLive.com. Quin, 31, is entering the final season of a five-year, $23.5MM pact he signed prior to the 2013 campaign. Next season, he’s scheduled to a $4MM base salary and a $1MM roster bonus while carrying a cap charge of ~$7.828MM. Quin’s annual salary of $4.7MM ranks just 27th among NFL safeties.
  • Lions head coach Jim Caldwell is also entering the final year of his contract, but he’s not worried about serving out the season as a lame-duck head coach, as Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press writes. “I don’t even worry about it and I think I’ve tried to explain pretty well to you guys that there hasn’t been a time in my life where you operate under certain things,” Caldwell said. “You never know if you have a 15-year contract, it doesn’t mean you’re not going to be fired tomorrow. So you always got to perform.” Through four seasons as Detroit’s head coach, Caldwell has posted a 27-21 regular season record and lead the club to two NFC Wild Card appearances.
  • Injured left tackle Taylor Decker is no longer wearing a sling and is “on track” in his rehab from a torn labrum, as Twentyman reports in a full article. Decker was projected to miss four-to-six months when he was originally injured in early June, meaning he could certainly be sidelined for the early portion of the 2017 season. In response, the Lions acquired former No. 2 overall pick Greg Robinson from the Lions and signed ex-Bills offensive lineman Cyrus Kouandjio.

Lions, Stafford Working Toward Deal

Less than a month ago, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr signed a five-year, $125MM extension to become the NFL’s highest-paid player. Carr’s stay atop the league’s earnings mountain might not last much longer, though, as there’s “internal optimism” that the Lions and quarterback Matthew Stafford will agree to a new deal within the next two weeks, reports Stacey Dales of NFL Network (via Chris Wesseling of NFL.com).

Matthew Stafford

Stafford’s entering the final season of the three-year, $53MM extension he signed in July 2013, but his next contract figures to obliterate that pact in value and could surpass Carr’s. The 6-foot-2, 230-pound Stafford inked his current pact after a 20-touchdown, 17-interception showing for him and a 4-12 season for Detroit, and both he and the Lions have been far more successful since.

Stafford helped guide the Lions to a decent 34-30 record and two playoff berths over the past four seasons, and he’s now arguably fresh off the best two-year stretch of his career. Thanks in part to Jim Bob Cooter‘s promotion to offensive coordinator, Stafford tossed 56 TDs against 23 picks and completed upward of 67 percent of passes from 2015-16. He threw 24 scores and a meager 10 INTs last season, when both Football Outsiders and Pro Football Focus ranked him as the league’s eighth-best passer.

Given the 29-year-old Stafford’s strong output in recent seasons, the ever-rising salary cap and the importance of his position, a mega-deal looks like a formality. Lions president Rod Wood implied as much last month, saying he’d be “comfortable” making Stafford the league’s top-paid player and adding, “It’s a premium position, and you need to have a very, very good player at that position to be credible and be competitive, and I think we do have that, and we’re working on getting a deal done.”

Another sizable contract would be the third for Stafford, who had the benefit of entering the NFL as the No. 1 pick in 2009, shortly before the league introduced the rookie wage scale in 2011. His initial deal was worth $78MM over six years and included $41.7MM in guaranteed money. Having established himself as a quality signal-caller since then, the eight-year veteran is on a path to becoming one of the highest earners in league history.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

QB Notes: Carr, Stafford, Bortles, FAs

During the press conference to announce his new contract, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr had said that he wanted to leave some money for the organization to re-sign his teammates.

“The main thing that I could just remember was all along the way, I was like, ‘How do we keep my teammates?’” Carr said (via Raiders.com). “That’s, I don’t know if it’s weird how it sounds, but that was just what I kept telling him. I was like, ‘OK. that’s cool. Yeah, that’s awesome, wow, cool. Is this good for Gabe [Jackson]? Is this good for Khalil [Mack]? Is this good for Amari [Cooper]?’ [Reggie] can tell you himself, these are things that I said to him numerous amounts of times. I didn’t want to hurt our team; that’s the last thing I would ever want to do. So, hopefully we didn’t That’s the last thing that I intended to do and that’s kind of why I was so involved.”

Well, Carr’s brother, former NFL quarterback David Carr, said the Raiders star left money on the table so the team could specifically re-sign offensive guard Gabe Jackson (via Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com). While Carr still became the first player in NFL history to make more than $25MM a season, his contract apparently left enough room for the organization to re-sign Jackson to a five-year, $56MM extension.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFL pertaining to the league’s quarterbacks…

  • With all the talk surrounding free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick, Roy Cummings of FloridaFootballInsiders.com notes that there are a number of available signal-callers who could justify having a roster spot in the NFL. Besides the former 49ers quarterback, Cummings lists Vince Young, Robert Griffin, Christian Ponder, Johnny Manziel, and Jay Cutler as those who are still awaiting phone calls.
  • Matthew Stafford‘s 2018 franchise tag value will be around $26.4MM, according to Albert Breer of the MMQB.com. The reporter notes that this will give the veteran some leverage during contract negotiations with the Lions, as the “the expected slotted number” was around $22MM. Next season, Stafford will be earning a $16.5MM base salary in the final year of his contract.
  • The Jaguars acquisition of rookie running back Leonard Fournette, rookie lineman Cam Robinson, and veteran offensive tackle Branden Albert should give the organization some clarity on quarterback Blake Bortles, writes Breer. The 25-year-old, who seemingly took a step back last season following a breakout 2015 campaign, had his fifth-year option for 2018 picked up earlier this offseason.

Lions Rumors: Stafford, Kaaya, Asiata

Lions president Rod Wood isn’t balking at the idea of making Matthew Stafford the league’s highest-paid player, as ESPN.com’s Michael Rothstein writes.

I’m comfortable in getting a deal done with him, and we’ll see where that ends up,” Wood said. “It’s going to be whatever it takes, I think, to make it happen from both sides, and whether he becomes the highest-paid or not, it’ll be a short-lived designation because, as [general manager] Bob [Quinn] said, and I think it’s true, if you’re in the top whatever of quarterbacks, when your time comes up, your time comes up and then somebody else’s time comes up, and they become the highest-[paid player]. It’s a premium position, and you need to have a very, very good player at that position to be credible and be competitive, and I think we do have that, and we’re working on getting a deal done.”

Wood’s comments come on the heels of Quinn expressing confidence in an extension getting done before the quarterback hits free agency next year. While it’s true that the mantle of “highest-paid player” never lasts long, it’s somewhat surprising for Wood to show his hand in this fashion in the midst of major negotiations.

Here’s more from Detroit: