The richest contract in NFL history belongs to a quarterback whose teams are 18-23 against NFC North teams.
Matthew Stafford came into the season riding high after a 2016 that was widely regarded as a career-best, and entering the final year of a three-year deal worth $53 million. Stafford was set up to receive a major payday after leading the Detroit Lions to the playoffs for the second time in three years, and did just that as he and the team reportedly agreed to a long-term extension:
The #Lions and QB Matthew Stafford agreed on a 5-year extension worth $135M, source said. Huge.💰💰💰
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 29, 2017
Matthew Stafford's 5-year extension with Lions includes a $50 million signing bonus and $92 million guaranteed, both NFL highs, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 29, 2017
ESPN’s Adam Schefter and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported the details of Stafford’s five-year extension, which could be worth as much as $135 million. That means Derek Carr’s time as the highest paid player in football history – which started in late June – is already over. Stafford’s deal also comes with a heavy chunk of guaranteed change, featuring a signing bonus worth $50 million and $92 million guaranteed.
As you might have already guessed, both are league highs. The $135 million total value surpasses the $125 million Derek Carr received from the Raiders this offseason, while the $92 million in guaranteed money beats the $87 million price tag Andrew Luck received in the deal he signed with the Colts in 2016. Both of these deals will likely set up Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints – and eventually, Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers – to reset the market when the time comes to receive extensions.
Stafford threw for 4,327 yards and 24 touchdowns in 2016, and was undoubtedly Detroit’s most valuable player. He engineered a league-leading eight fourth-quarter comebacks, as well as eight game-winning drives. His 85.9 grade from Pro Football Focus put him as the eighth best quarterback and placed him in the site’s high quality category for the first time in his eight-year career.
Overall, Stafford’s record as a starter is 51-58. He has thrown for 30,303 yards, completed 61.5 percent of his passes, connected on 187 touchdown passes, and tossed 108 interceptions. Stafford’s 86.8 rating is the 15th best among active quarterbacks.
Despite his mega-deal, Stafford still has much to prove over the next five years. His teams are 18-23 against the NFC North, and 3-10 against the Green Bay Packers. And as the Dan Le Batard Show points out, Stafford’s teams are 5-46 against teams that finish with a winning record, with a 1-25 mark when those games have been played on the road. Stafford helped end an 11-year playoff drought in 2011, but is winless in three playoff starts.