Lions focus first on free agency, draft before Stafford

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

Indianapolis — The Detroit Lions haven’t engaged in extension talks with quarterback Matthew Stafford, but that has more to do with timing than anything.

With Stafford under contract through next season, there’s no reason for the team to rush into negotiations this early in the offseason. The team’s focus, according to general manager Bob Quinn, is more on the upcoming draft and free-agency period.

“We have not talked to Matthew and his representatives,” Quinn said. “I think that’s something that eventually we will get to. We’ll see how that goes. We’re kind of taking it one step at a time with the current free agent class, the current draft class.

“I mean, these things don’t usually happen in April or May,” Quinn said. “That’s not a realistic timeline for an extension for a quarterback. But that’s something we do have on the agenda and we’ll hopefully be able to have some discussions.”

Stafford agreed to his previous extension in July, in the dead period between the end of mandatory minicamp and the opening of training camp. And in Quinn’s first season as general manager, he negotiated cornerback Darius Slay’s four-year, $48 million extension during that same time frame, reaching a deal just before the start of camp last year.

It’s widely expected the Lions will work toward a long-term deal with Stafford later this offseason, a contract that could end up being the largest in NFL history, topping the five-year, $123 million pact signed by Andrew Luck last year.

“It’s a priority, but it takes two sides to do a deal,” Quinn said. “I’m not making any promises one way or another, but I’ve always said since I’ve gotten here that I think Matthew’s a good quarterback and I’d like to have him here long-term.”