Matthew Stafford, Lions agree to record $135M deal
Allen Park — The deal is done.
The Lions and quarterback Matthew Stafford reached an agreement on a five-year contract extension Monday evening, a team source confirmed.
The news was initially reported by ESPN.
NFL.com is reporting the pact is valued at $135 million, topping the five-year, $125 million extension signed by Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr two months ago. Stafford’s deal includes a $50 million signing bonus and $92 million guaranteed, both records, according to ESPN.
The extension will free up approximately $5 million in cap space in 2017, according to a team source.
As recently as last week, Stafford had done his best to avoid discussing the contract and refused to let the negotiations to become a distraction.
“I told you guys the last time we talked about this, I had no expectations going into it,” Stafford said. “I’m doing myself and our team a disservice if that’s what I’m worried about. I truly am letting the guys upstairs here and my agent hash it all out and I’m just trying to be as good a football player as I can be and help our team.”
Stafford, the No. 1 overall pick in 2009, holds nearly every major single-season and career passing record in franchise history. He’s coming off a campaign where he completed 65.3 percent of his passes for 4,327, 24 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also orchestrated eight fourth-quarter comebacks, an NFL record.
The Lions drafted Stafford before the collective bargaining agreement capped rookie salaries. At the time, his six-year, $72 million deal was one of the richest the league had seen. His career got off to a slow start, with his first two seasons derailed by injuries. He was limited to just 13 games during that stretch.
But Stafford quickly shed concerns about his durability in 2011, when he began one of just five quarterbacks in NFL history to throw for more than 5,000 yards, helping lead the Lions to their first playoff appearance in more than a dozen years.
Although he hasn’t topped 5,000 yards again, he’s continued to be among the league leaders in passing yards each of the next five seasons. More importantly, he hasn’t missed a game. His 96 consecutive starts is a franchise record for the quarterback position.
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Stafford signed a three-year, $53 million extension with the Lions in 2013. He was entering the final year of that contract before agreeing to re-up with the franchise on Monday.
In eight seasons, Stafford has compiled a 51-58 record as a starting quarterback. He’s led the Lions to three playoff appearances but has yet to net his first postseason victory.