Entering his contract year, quarterback Matthew Stafford was seemingly close to an extension multiple times with the Detroit Lions during the offseason. Nothing came to fruition.
Now, with just over a month remaining until the start of the regular season, Lions general manager Bob Quinn had a pretty ominous take on the current direction of negotiation extensions.
“Matt has taken this situation with his contract in stride,” Quinn said Saturday, via the Detroit Free Press. “It doesn’t bother him, it doesn’t 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.”
The takeaway here? “There’s a long way to go on that.”
Unfortunately for the Lions and Stafford they are clearly running out of time. The quarterback likely isn’t going to engage in negotiations during the regular season. This means if the two sides don’t come to terms on a deal before Week 1, the situation will linger until late winter at the earliest.
Detroit apparently doesn’t have an issue making Stanford the highest-paid player in the game. That would likely include a deal that surpasses the five-year, $125 million contract Derek Carr signed with the Oakland Raiders earlier in the summer.
But it’s all about the details of said offer. What are the Lions offering in terms of guaranteed cash? What about signing bonus? Simply giving a player the “richest contract” in the NFL doesn’t make it the best contract.
Stafford is coming off a 2016 season that saw him put up 4,327 yards with 24 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. It was one of the best performances of his career.
Should the Lions enable this to linger into the season, they will likely be forced to place the franchise tag on Stafford next March. If that doesn’t happen, they face the possibility of losing him altogether in free agency.
So while Quinn and Co. appear confident, it would be much better for the team if something got done here within the next month.