Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford can technically become a free agent following this upcoming season. Though, the sense continues to be that Detroit and its franchise quarterback will come to terms on a long-term extension here soon.

Based on comments from Lions general manager Bob Quinn, that might not be the case.

“It’s not done yet,” Quinn said, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “We’re in the very early stages of talking to Matthew and his representatives.”

In situations similar to this, teams hope to get a new deal done prior to the start of the regular season. That’s only magnified when a player is entering his contract year.

Following a strong 2016 campaign that saw him complete 65.3 percent of his passes for over 4,300 yards with 24 touchdowns and 10 picks, Stafford is in line for a relatively hefty payday.

The former No. 1 pick is currently playing under a three-year, $53 million extension he signed with Detroit back in July of 2013. Knowing full well that Stafford’s contract is not up to snuff with current-day value, one would expect the Lions to reward him for his solid play since signing said extension. It looks like the team might very well be willing to do just that.

“Matthew’s a quarterback that I want here and he’s a quarterback that Coach (Jim) Caldwell wants here, so we’re in the early stages,” Quinn continued. “It takes two sides to do a deal and we’re working towards that.”

With 13 different quarterbacks currently playing under deals that pay them $20-plus million annually, that has to be the absolute starting-off point in discussions. Though, a contract paying Stafford $25-plus million per season is more realistic.

It will be interesting to see if anything gets done between now and the start of training camp. Neither side will want to go into 2017 with this hanging over their heads.