According to several media reports, Detroit Lions’ quarterback Matthew Stafford has become the highest paid player in the NFL. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport first posted the news that Stafford would make $135 million over five years, with a first season payment of $27 million.
The Lions’ management tweeted:
We have agreed to terms with QB Matthew Stafford on a five-year contract extension through the 2022 season.
ESPN reported the contract included a signing bonus of $50 million and $92 million in guaranteed payments beyond that.
Stafford is rated as an above-average quarterback, although some place him in the top 10 in the league. He is a prolific passer who racks up large numbers of passing yards per season. However, he is prone to interception and leads a team that has not been considered a candidate to go deep into the playoffs for years. He has passed for 4,000 yards or more in the past six seasons, but the Lions’ three post-season games during his tenure have all been losses.
Stafford has never been considered an elite quarterback in the NFL, a designation that goes to Tom Brady of the New England Patriots, Aaron Rogers of the Green Bay Packers, Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints, each of whom has won at least one Super Bowl.
Stafford ranked eighth last season in total quarterback ratings with a score of 70.2, against the leader Matt Ryan, who had a rating of 83.3. Brady was second at 83.0. Among the 12 quarterbacks who played in the post-season, Stafford ranked ninth.
Stafford is 29 in a league where top quarterbacks often play into their late 30s, so the Lions’ contract wraps him up for what is likely to be the balance of his career.